Today was the day - I was going to run my first 20+ mile training run for my next marathon (Marine Corps), now just 6 weeks away. I missed my first 20 miler a few weeks ago so today was a big day.
I have been resting up the last couple of days, although last night was the first time my husband and I were able to celebrate my birthday - so we were out until 11:30 pm. I probably got to bed around midnight, fueled up with steak, lobster, a lovely glass of pinot grigio and some asparagus. Not exactly the ideal pre-race meal, but believe me, I savored every bite and figured I would run many of those calories off the next day.
I woke up ahead of the alarm around 5 am with a bit of a headache so I popped some Tylenol 8 hour and layed down for the remaining 25 min of sleep time to rid myself of the headache. I finally rolled out of bed around 5:50 am. I realized that I was not going to get out of the house as early as I would have liked - which means I would finish later than I would like. At 6:35 am I was heading out the front door, packed for the first 10 miles of my long run. I expected to be challenged by the run - and with an expected finish of around 11 or 11:30 am, it was also going to be very hot by the time I was logging the last few miles.
I went out very easy working to keep my heart rate as low as I could as long as I could. My running pace was 12:35 - 12:40 pace which was a good one. I kept my heart rate down under 150 bpm for the first 10 miles of the run - a great result!!
But as predicted, I started to struggle as the sun climbed into the sky. By mile 15 I could feel myself losing some steam. At 16 - 17 I was fighting hard to keep going and not head home. But I was determined. I was going to finish 21 miles if I had to walk the last 3 miles. And I did quite a bit of walking during those last 3-4 miles. The legs were willing but the body (heart rate) was struggling with the heat. Temps were around 88 degrees F with high humidity and not very much wind. My route did not offer much shade.
At 18.5 I knew I was going to finish since I had to complete the distance in order to get home (this was my turn around point). I continued to walk with short running breaks. About a mile from the house my husband met me in the car with the kids. They were headed to the store to get, among other things, some ice for my ice bath. He had already filled the tub with cold water for me. I finished up the final mile - extremely hot and exhausted. While waiting for the ice, I spent time in the tub just cooling my body down. Then the ice arrived.....and my legs greatly appreciated it.
(finishing this write up on Mon)
I spent the rest of the afternoon resting my feet which hurt for some time - and napping a bit. Around 6 pm we made a trip to the store and I felt pretty good.
Today, I feel some of the stiffness - but otherwise doing great!
Lessons learned on this long run:
1 - Start EARLY. I need to finish earlier in the morning - which may mean getting out there the time that Susan tends to run!
2 - Eat lighter the night before. I had a very rich, tasty birthday dinner the night before. I had a hard time keeping my gels down during the run.
Otherwise, I think it went well. I was happy I completed the distance. I think the time was reasonable given the weather conditions. I also had a good result with going out really slow rather than trying to maintain target race pace from the start. I figured I would run out of gas if I did (like last week) and I lasted much better through the early miles.
Just under 6 more weeks!