Sunday, December 17, 2006

24.5 miles and now the taper begins!

The plan: Run 24-25 miles
The route: Up and down Lockwood Blvd - 3 times @ about 8 miles each with stops at the house for refills and such after each "lap"
Supplies: Garmin 305, 5 Cliff Shots, 9 fuel belt bottles of water and Gatorade, iPod, cell phone, pepper spray, drivers license (for ID), $5, small towel
Prep: Icy Hot (to loosen up calves), Body Glide (to prevent chafing and foot blisters), Blistex and Bull Frog (to battle the sun).
The weather forecast: 62 deg and fog at the start, 80 deg and sunny at the finish. A slight breeze and 62% humidity.

Well from the title of today's blog, you can tell that I made the distance, although the time is not what I would hope. I optimistically started the run hoping to maintain the 5 hr marathon pace. This turned out to be a bad idea, and by mile 12 all I could do is go into survival mode. I knew at mile 12 I felt a little too worn out to be halfway done, so I shifted into conserve mode, stopped looking at my pace and focused on keeping my heart rate down to a reasonable level. By about mile 15 I felt tired, like I wanted to fall asleep while running (a rather strange sensation). I got home from lap 2 shortly after 16 miles, wishing I could stop, but stubborning announcing I had one more lap to go, grabbed additional drink and cliff shots, and ran out the door. My intent by then was to make it at least 20 miles, maybe even get beyond the 22 miles I did about a month ago, or to stop at 5 hours.

I got stubborn again and decided I was going to finish this thing if I had to walk the last 2 miles!

Around 20 miles into the run, I was really feeling the heat. The sun was mercilessly beating down on me - the temperature had risen to the upper 70s and the humidity was typical of Florida, about 60%. I found myself having some trouble breathing and realized my heart rate had risen to over 165 bpm - well into my Zone 4. So I adjusted my walking breaks. I walked until my heart rate got below 150 bpm, and then started taking breaks every 5 minutes instead of every 10. This helped keep my running heart rate between 158 and 165.

Once I reached mile 22, it was a total mind game to get home. I would walk my heart rate down into the 150's, then agree to run to the next street corner before taking another break. I would walk a little bit, then run to the next clump of trees. When I rounded the corner just a quarter mile from home, I took it in at a nice clip to finish the run in 5 hours 35 minutes.

So what did I learn?
  • I can run over 24 miles!!!! I can push myself past the wall (which found me around mile 23 - legs still worked but will and energy were definitely gone).
  • Rest and nutrition are VITAL for survival at these distances. My 22 miler was 4 hrs and 41 minutes long. This one seemed to take so much longer. I was spent from my life marathon (see previous blog post) and did not do a good job carbo loading this weekend, not to mention just getting 6 hours sleep last night. I think I set myself up for a tough run.
  • Australia is a great place to run (not from my run, but listening to Burning20!)
Now its off to work, icing of foot, and rest! The taper to Disney begins today...just 3 more weeks!!! :-)

1 comment:

Susan said...

I am SUPREMELY impressed! I bump up to 16 miles this Saturday, and I'm not toooooo worried, since I know my body is capable of 20. But, it will be more challenging than this week's 14 mile run. I am so impressed with your ability to run by you home and then keep on going!