Sunday, May 4, 2008

20 Miler Madness!

After last week's long run, yesterday was the day I was kind of dreading - the 20 miler. I made it though - nothing fancy, no speed records, but I made it!

I am still feeling the effects of a cold that I had earlier in the week, but I think I only had to stop and hack twice in the 20. Plus I actually felt good right up until mile 17 or so. At that point, I ran out of gas and started my slowdown to the finish. But - I did finish! That's great considering what happened last week!

I did make a few changes this week over last. First, I took in 200 calories before leaving for the track. Second, I took only water for hydration instead of Ultrafuel. Third, I rearranged my training calendar so that I had Friday off instead of trying to put in a training day the day before my long run.

But, I think the most important change was that some of our club members (unfortunately injured over the course of training) manned a water station for us! Since we ran an out and back, the water stop at 6.7 miles meant that we got to stop and refuel at one third the distance, and then again at two thirds the distance. A final "mini" station at mile 18 was the last inspiration that I needed to got over the hump. The 1 minute stop at the station was such a great break in the monotony of the run that I left the water station invigorated and ready to go! What a lifesaver!

I did learn some important things for the upcoming marathon - first, I need to take some calories during the run. I took two gel packs at mile 10. They really helped. I am sure that another couple of gel packs at mile 17/18 would have given me a little jolt that I sorely needed. Secondly, the 200 calories for breakfast helped. I hardly felt tired at the 10 mile mark.

Now for the bad - my feet were killing me by mile 18. It felt as if I had something in my shoe, but it turns out is was just my feet being wet and tired. I ended up without any blisters though, so that I guess is a good thing. Third and most important - I learned that a 10:00 pace for my first marathon is probably unrealistic. I had a couple of bad miles yesterday (jogged at 4 mph or less) that pushed my average pace to 12:00. That puts me on pace for a 5 hour marathon. I am hoping that tapering will help and I'll still make at 4:30 or 4:40, but after yesterday that may not be realistic.

Today I'm actually not too bad. My back and hips are a little stiff, but my legs actually feel good (no pain). One thing for sure - next week's 14 miler will be a piece of cake!

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