Frequency doubling with a free-running long-pulse Nd:YAG laser and LBO or KTP nonlinear crystals yields conversion efficiency of up to 17.5% and 162 W peak power in the second harmonic. This efficiency is obtained for a TEM00 beam with rectangular temporal pulse shape of 50 to 400 s. To our knowledge, this is the highest second-harmonic generation (SHG) efficiency reported for the long-pulse free-running configuration. The efficiency is limited by optical damage with much lower threshold than in the Q-switch domain. The damage is preceded by a saturation effect of the SHG efficiency. Both wavelengths (fundamental and second-harmonic) are necessary for the creation of the catastrophic damage. We present first evidence for a mechanism that involves creation of transient absorption centers by the second-harmonic radiation due to multiphoton absorption. Absorption of the fundamental wave at these centers leads to local heating and ultimately catastrophic damage.