The love/hate of a long run

I'm in the middle of ramping up my mileage. It's been months since I've ran longer than 5 miles because of my migraines, and last week I put in a solid 7 miles.

And then slept for two hours.

I've forgotten the love/hate relationship I have with long runs. When I trained for my first half marathon, I would log in 7 to 10 milers early in the morning, finishing up before 8 a.m. I'd watch children in the neighborhood sleepily yawn as they waited for the bus. I'd run through sprinklers sputtering on. I'd wave at other runners and walkers-- us overachievers-- zipping by me. I loved it.

But I hated those first few miles. My legs and lungs seemed to ache in those first steps. Many times, I wanted to stop before I even finished my warmup. I was overwhelmed at the idea of running for around two hours. Maybe my legs had it in them to finish the miles, but mentally, I had no idea if I could.

These days, I'm remembering that love/hate relationship again. Since the weather has finally lightened from blistering heat to cool here in Texas, I'm running my long runs in the late morning.

That means I don't finish until about noon or so. My husband says that means the run has taken up most of my day, but I don't mind. I like the run being the hallmark of the day, and it means I'm not stressing myself out to get out the door too early. 

In my last training cycle, I noticed that I usually got a migraine after my long runs. I tried hydrating and fueling differently, but I still would find myself crushed by a migraine later in the day.

This time around, my neurologist gave me a prescription-strength NSAID to take before my long runs. It's been a trial-and-error process. The NSAID is pretty rough on my stomach, but for the most part it's helped ward off the migraines.

Since these long run migraines seem to stem from neck pain, I've also incorporated more stretching and heat/ice therapy. I'm also easier on myself.

If my legs are aching, I walk for a minute or two and then run again. If my left eye starts to ache slightly (a sure sign that a migraine is forthcoming), I cut the run short. I make loops around my house so I can make more water breaks, rather than running a long out-and-back where I'm away from home for several miles.

I don't know how this will all go to be honest. I worry I have a limit, but for now, I'm learning to work through the hate of a long run.

And maybe love it a little too.