an unintentionally long run

This morning I ran nearly 28 miles.  I’d planned to do 24, but got lost on the home stretch, so I got to firmly establish my capability to run marathon distance.  Aside from getting a bit turned around in the woods, it felt great.

I’ve been trying to ramp for perhaps doing the Yakima River Canyon Marathon in three weeks.  It’s a fun event and a beautiful course, so I thought that if my training went well, I’d give it a try.  In order to make things work, I needed to compress my long runs a little, climbing from 21 miles up to 24 in the space of two weeks (usually I try to give myself three weeks between runs over 20).

Last weekend I did an up-tempo 14 miler with friends.  My legs were sore until Wednesday.  Doing some speedwork on Tuesday didn’t help me feel better.  So this morning when I woke up, I didn’t feel great about going long today.  I’d opted to run solo in the Redmond Watershed, rather than run with friends today, because I wasn’t confident about keeping up with them.  This turned out to be a good call, until about the 21 mile mark when I got lost.

Although I felt some fatigue in my legs in the early miles, I felt good most of the way.  The plan was to follow the Redmond Watershed 8 mile loop from the Everyday Athlete site, tacking on a 4 mile out and back on the Redmond Ridge trail for two loops.  I went counter-clockwise for the first loop.  It’s a bit harder, especially coming in on the Trillium Trail for the final two miles.  Emotionally, the first loop took longer than I wanted it to, although according to the clock, it was about 1:53 – not bad.  I went out clockwise for the second loop, and felt great.  I felt myself getting tired, but expected that I would after running over 20 miles.

I felt so good in fact that I missed a turn over in Redmond Ridge when I had just about 3 miles to go.  I recognized it at the time, but decided to press on, and get to know the other trails a bit.  This turned out to be a mistake.  It’s easy to get turned around in the woods, and impossible to orient oneself without the sun.  I couldn’t even pick up any road noise to clue me in as to where I might be.  After about 20 minutes of running over big rocks, and through knee-deep puddles (not an exaggeration), I finally turned around.  It was good that I’d kept a mostly straight path, as that made it easy to navigate back.

Weird!  I’ve run hundreds of miles out there, but have never gotten lost like that.   On the plus side I’m pretty sure I can cover 26.2 now.  In a way, this was a happy accident.

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