Back to the long runs

The best part about training for a marathon or ultra is the Saturday long run with friends.

Ask any long-distance runner. The long run is usually the highlight of the week.

During my training for nine marathons, the long run always loomed as the week’s biggest goal and made for the best stories — whether it was the joy of discovering new trails, the aches and pains of pushing yourself to new limits or the novelty of making new friends and hearing new war stories.

Today would be no different. I met Tom and John, two experienced marathoners, at 9 a.m. sharp in Broad Ripple.

The goal was modest: a 10-mile trail run.

Well,  it was 10 miles for me. Tom is training for Spirit of St. Louis Marathon, four weeks away, so he wanted to get in 20 miles today. To get in the extra miles, he ran five miles from his home to our meeting place. 

Like me, John was running 10 miles.

There was a snap in the air, so we didn’t hang around.

A look at the towpath alongside the canal behind Butler University.

The canal towpath

At 9 on the dot, we got moving, down the Central Canal Towpath. The sky was dark and a bit misty.

John is quite the nature lover, and pointed out birds in the trees, beavers in the canal and other wildlife as we ran at a 9-minute pace. Tom told bad jokes the whole way.

After a couple miles, we ran into a 5k race heading straight at us along the towpath. I recognized a couple of runners. I said hi to Matt and Susan, who are friends from church and our kids’ schools, who were chugging along, with numbers on their shirts.

A mile marker on the towpath helps us measure the run.

Who says a mile marker can't be precise, down to two decimal places?

We got to the end of the canal before we knew it, stopped for a minue to catch our breath, and headed back, same as before, stopping once to snap some photos.

We reached the northern end at 1:32. I stopped my watch and waved goodbye to Tom and John. 

Another long run in the book. It felt good.

The only better thing than recovering from a long run is planning the next one. I’ll have to give that some thought between now and next Saturday.

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2 Responses to “Back to the long runs”

  1. Sheridan Says:

    I am starting a few trail runs to break up the beach run and build different muscles. Hills = Evil Do you run with a camera or just find this pictures online?

    • jrussell12 Says:

      Sheri — I rarely run with a camera, although I did on Saturday during my long run to get fresh art for my new blog. The other photos in this blog (the really green stuff) are older shots I’ve saved over the last year or two. Good luck with trails. There’s a good one about a mile from your house that I ran a couple times. It goes up and up and up! I’ll run it with you next time!

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