I completed my longest long run today, 13 miles, and I learned some valuable lessons in those miles. You have a lot of time to think when it is just you and the road for 13 miles.

Even though it feels great at a little before 6, the sun will soon be above the horizon and without a cloud in the sky it will get hot very quick. I should know this. I just can’t get up and moving much before 6. I try but it never happens. I just need to accept the fact that clouds are a rarity here in Arizona and the sun will always shine.

I started off really well in my training, working very hard not to miss a day but then I fell off the wagon. I struggled for the last few weeks to hit every run. Why? Humidity. I have learned that I would much rather run in 110+ degrees with little to no humidity than 105 with humidity. Humidity doesn’t allow my skin to cool off and I overheat quite easily. 

I also learned that if I stick with my training these runs will be much easier. A few weeks ago I did a 10 mile run with no problems. I ran all 10 miles. Today I struggled with 13 miles. I even tried to take a few short walk breaks early on to help but I ended up walking half of the last three miles. This doesn’t include the pit stop I took at home to refill my water/Gatorade bottles. Note to self: purchase another set of bottles for my belt so I can just exchange on the fly.

I have been running off and on for about 10 years. I have never had the dreaded chub rub until this week. Now my thighs are on fire! I guess I need to pick up some body glide. Who knew a little chaffing could hurt so much?? I’ve only had minor chaffing on the underarms due to dance costumes. It never lasted long after but man, the thighs are another story!

Shoes really do make all the difference. I have been doing my last few runs in my trail runners because my other shoes are dead. I can tell a difference. My trail runners are heavier and don’t fit as well. I have a blister on my toe to prove it. I really don’t like the heaviness either. My legs feel like they are running through concrete at times.

I have lost my ability to know my approximate pace. I noticed it this week. I feel like I am running much faster than I am. I don’t know if it is the shoes, the heat or something else. I need to work on this. I was so good at pacing myself last winter/earlier this summer.

But I have gained the ability to breathe through my nose for most of my run! I used to always struggle with that. I would start out ok but as I picked up speed I would start to breathe through my mouth, which lead to a dry throat and drinking mas quantities of water. It seems I have finally conquered this last road block. I noticed today that my breathing felt natural and I was rarely switching to mouth breathing. I think I may have my asthma under control without medicine! *knocks on wood*

And lastly, a confession. I remember reading in a forum about girls that go commando when they workout. I was all, “Ewwww, that is so unsanitary” but I have found myself going for runs in just my compression shorts. And it feels fabulous! I don’t have to worry about where my underwear is. I feel dryer actually. So, I admit it. I was wrong. I like running sans underwear! LOL

I completed the 13 miles in about 2 hours 45 minutes and I am now fairly confident that I can finish my half around 2:30. How do I figure? Well, November will be cooler, therefor; I will be faster. Plus I have time to continue working on my endurance and stamina.

I feel like I have a list a mile long of products to buy at Road Runner Sports. Now I just need to find the time to get my butt over there. I will be a much happier runner when I do!


Jenna Volden has a degree in business and has spent the last 10 plus years working for others. She believes it is time to start her own photography and writing business. She enjoys running, coffee and helping others achieve their goals. Gluten-free foods are a lifestyle, not a choice, for her due to celiac disease. She is currently based in Phoenix, Arizona.