Sunday, August 16, 2009

Booya! Take that Twenty Miles!

I started the day filled with doubt and trepidation. I mean, face it, my runs have not been going all that well lately. A lack of patience has been at play. I mean, I'm putting in a fair number of miles each week, but I don't really see any improvement. I've had a couple of fails on recent runs. It seems like I've had to slow down from where I was a few weeks back just to finish. The miles and hours have become a grind.

I had a 20 miler on the plan. Once again, I was going to have to skip running with my Saturday morning group, since a 7:30 start was not going to cut it. I was up early, grabbed some coffee and breakfast, and was out the door at 6:00.

With Wednesday's experience still fresh in my mind, I started at a very slow pace. Almost from the outset (like maybe 4 miles in), I found myself thinking through alternatives to the full 20. After all, if I went just 16 miles, that would still satisfy the overall goal of being on my feet for a long time, right? I can't tell you how many scenarios I went through. I would have gladly paid some miles tomorrow for a few less today(any Popeye fans out there?).

Well, bottom line is while I was making up excuses, I ran past the eight mile marker.

Then the nine mile marker. And it wasn't long before the magical 10 mile marker appeared. I turned and slogged my slow but steady pace back to the car.

There it was. Run over. But, there was a huge difference. Normally, I am absolutely wiped out after a long run. The rest of my day usually involves eating, drinking, and napping (heavy emphasis on napping). But yesterday I actually felt somewhat normal. I am sure this is due to two changes I made yesterday. First, I normally head out fast and fade badly. Yesterday, I started at an 11:15 pace and held that throughout. Second, with Thursday in mind, I modified my fueling strategy. I had been taking calories about half way through anything over 16 miles. Yesterday though, I split up my fuel and fueled at 6, 10, 12 and 17 miles (the 12 mile stop was also to refill water bottles). These changes seem to make all the difference in the world.

So there - maybe the monkey really is off my back. Somewhere here there's a life lesson. But that would require me to engage the brain. Maybe tomorrow.....


  1. I knew you'd get your groove back. Congrats.

  2. It's the little fixes that make a huge difference! I'm still laughing over that last paragraph. It's Sunday - a rest day, right? The brain needs rest, too. :)

  3. great job on the 20!!! so glad your "tweaks" have worked out for you. :)

  4. Slow is good! It is the way to gain speed.

    Excellent work on the 20 mile run.

    It must feel so good to have had this good a run after the past couple of days.

  5. Fun. Great that you have your confidence back. Keep kickin! Cheers!

  6. paragraph one has been my life lately too. well, save last week and it's slackness of course. must just be the marathon-funk in the air?

    NICE job on the 20 and getting it all in! i have definitely played those mind games too - "oh i'll cut it short today and add on a few more tomorrow" (which never happens either, haha). extra bonus points for starting out conservatively and maintaining the pace!

  7. Glad that you are feeling better and got the 'monkey off your back' :) I knew it was only a matter of time.