Going From 6-mile to 13-mile Runs

At the end of the 2010 running season, I packed away my shoes as always. Winter came and I noticed that there are a lot of people who don’t stop running even after the snow arrives. Even though I grew up in Minnesota, I absolutely despise snow and cold weather but I still wanted to see what it was like to run in the winter. I loved it! In fact, I now enjoy winter running so much that I actually look forward to it at the end of summer now. It’s also nice to be improving throughout the winter months instead of starting from scratch every spring.

The spring of 2011 introduced several motivation changes. First of all, I started using a phone app called RunKeeper to track my activities. It uploads everything to a website and lets you others in your “Street Team” to see it. The first person in my Street Team was a friend who happens to be a veteran marathon runner. This allowed me to compare my activities with someone else who obviously knew what they were doing. Another big change that occurred in 2011 was that my wife said that she would like to start running. Not only that, she even wanted us to enter race. Now I had two people in my Street Team.

Going into 2011, I had a few 5-mile runs under by belt but my record distance was still 6. I set a goal of doing a 10 mile run by the end of summer. I ran a 10-miler in April. Obviously, I needed to increase my goal for the year so I came up a new goal of 13 miles. My wife and I began doing 2 and 3 mile runs every other day in May and I was running 5+ miles during the other days. In June, we lined up for the 5k race. My wife noticed a sign that said “5 mile race” which was we thought must be a mistake. However, upon reaching the 5K mark, there was nothing but a water station. No finish line. After 3.5 miles, we realized that the sign was correct. I had done several 5-milers but the most that my wife had gone was 3.2 miles. After walking for a short distance at the 4 mile mark, she somehow mustered up the strength to run the rest of the way. We both completed our first race.

In July, I did a couple 8-mile runs and another 10-miler in August. The weekend after going 10, I succeeded in running my goal of 13 but felt sick afterward. After a little resourch, I discovered that I had essentially burned all of the fuel that my body had stored. Runners commonly refer to it as “hitting the wall”. Lesson learned : replenish your bodies nutrients while you run. I picked up some Honey Stingers and GU gels started wearing an Amphipod belt with water bottles attached to it. I probably look like a dork when I run now but this allows my to carry nutrition and multiple water bottles.

In September 2011, I went crazy. I did a 16-miler then two weeks later, completed an 18.6 mile run. All of the running racked up over 450 miles on my shoes which unfortunatly caused my second case of Runner’s Knee. A person at the local running store informed me that at 400 miles, throw the shoes away. She also analyzed my running and recommended a new pair of Asics Cumulous 13 shoes. Wow, what an upgrade from my $40 Nike’s. By the spring of 2012 I doing at least one 13-miler per month.