I got to the gym early tonight-- around 10:00. All of the treadmills were busy, and I had to wait a good ten or fifteen minutes to get to one. I wasn't even first in line!
My plan was to do a 20-minute run if I could. The first few minutes of a run have gotten pretty easy for me, but then I always have to bargain my way through them. "OK, just get to five." "Well, you're here. May as well head for eight." "Do you have to quit? OK, then do ten." This annoys me, because it doesn't feel like it's getting easier, but then I remember what it was like to push my way through those first one-minute runs, and how amazed I was when I did a whole three minutes without stopping. OK, so progress is less visible now, but it's still happening I guess.
These days I've taken to using my heart rate as a stop/continue metric. At 140 I start paying close attention, and if it breaks 145 and stays there then it's about time to quit. At 15 minutes in, I hadn't even hit 140 yet, so I kept going. OK, now I see where progress is happening-- my heart rate. It doesn't feel appreciably easier to me, but there's a definite metric of progress.
At around 17-18 minutes I tossed a towel over the timer and decided I wouldn't look at it until the end of the song. That came at about 21 minutes, which achieved my goal of not letting me make a stop/don't-stop decision at 20 minutes. I kept going. I crossed a heart rate of 145 at about 23 minutes, but decided that I'd do 25. And I did. I probably could have kept going, but it felt like a good time to stop so I did.
Let us pause to reflect on the last time I did a 25-minute run. It wasn't good. In fact, it was pretty damned bad, and that was the night that I decided that I was going to stop running until I had a chat with my doctor. At this point I'm back on blood pressure medicine, but a less-powerful version than I was taking before.
I definitely felt a little bit light-headed as soon as I cut back to a walk, but it wasn't horrible. I walked my way down until my heart rate was below 105, then hopped off the treadmill. At that point I definitely felt wiped out and just a little bit light-headed, but not enough that I felt like I needed to sit down before I could do anything. I did less post-run stretching than usual, then parked sat down in the locker room for a couple of minutes before driving home.
This is a less-than-ideal outcome from a longer run, but it's massively better than last time. Right now I feel OK, definitely exhausted but not in a horrible way.