Operation Long Treadmill Run



20 miles treadmill @ 9:31 pace 
Yesterday, I had planned my last long training run of the season. I had visions of myself prancing through the woods with ease, relishing the strength built up in my quads over the past four months of training.
Mother Nature, however, had a different plan....
When I took the dog outside for a 2 block walk yesterday morning, we both came back drenched to the bone. This was the type of rain that made you want to curl up under your covers and watch crappy rom-coms all day. It was NOT the kind of weather that makes you want to frolic through the woods for four hours. 
Don't get me wrong. I LOVE running in the rain. Sometimes it's all you need to get over a bad day or just feel alive.
It's like, "OMG running in the rain is the best, 
I feel like the most bad-ass runner person alive!"
Then I began envisioning myself trudging through slippery mud and sliding down rocky descents, and I actually started to become afraid of this long run. The last thing I wanted was to injure myself only 2 weeks away from the Delaware Trail marathon and 6 weeks from my goal race, the Dirty German 50k. 
Alternatively, I thought about spending 3-4 hours running on a treadmill, in the same exact spot. This terrified me as well. Part of the reason I love trail running is the constant mental stimulation. Not exactly the case on a treadmill. I wondered though, if I could really do it. I read plenty blogs where people do it, so I figured, why couldn't I do it? It seemed the perfect occasion for a mental and physical challenge. 
I reluctantly packed my gym bag with Hammer gels, Gatorade, and water and headed to the gym. I knew I would need some type of distraction for this run, so I brought my iPhone and prayed I could stream some of my favorite shows during the run. I'm crazy about running, but not crazy enough to run for 3 hours without music or TV.
The  first hour went by quickly while I caught up on Nashville, one of my favorite shows this year. After an hour (and 6.25 miles) the treadmill automatically shut off, so I used that opportunity to take a Hammer Gel. 
The second hour was a bit tougher, knowing I still had awhile to go. The latest episode of Mad Men was about an a hour and a half (without commercials) which powered me through for the second treadmill cycle and into the third. I took another Hammer Gel after the second cycle to keep me going to a strong finish. 
The third hour and change wasn't bad at all. After Mad Men ended, I turned on the gym TV and stumbled on an old school episode of Grey's Anatomy (the good years.) All of a sudden I flashbacked to sophomore year of college, lounging in my best friends' dorm room, pining over Doctor McDreamy. It was the perfect way to end a strong run at the pace of my marathon PR. 
"Hey girl, keep up that marathon pace."

Ultimately, I was really proud of myself for sticking it out for 20 miles. The longest I had run on a treadmill previously was about half that distance. Alternatively, the run felt like a cop out because I usually am not afraid to face the elements, and I wimped out. But in the end, I had to do what my body and mind were telling me to do. I did miss the burning ascents of the Wissahickon, but my legs thanked me for an "easy" long run with 2 weeks to go before the trail marathon. 
After the run, I picked up a six-pack of Deschutes Chainbreaker White IPA and several items from the Whole Foods hot bar (with a side of "props.")
It's 5:00 somewhere....
The White IPA is a delicious cross between a citrus-y wheat beer and a traditional, hoppy IPA. It's a great summery beer, which almost convinced me it wasn't pouring out all day yesterday. At the same time, the flavors are very strong, so I wouldn't be able to drink more that one or two of these at a time. 
Now I'm off to spend the day with my brothers and my mom, who are visiting from New York. Have a fabulous weekend! 

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