Friday, August 14, 2009

21 Miles - The breakdown.

Today's run was a monster, like a few weeks ago when I ran 20. This time, I chose not to fear the monster. I have been training for 17 weeks and I finally figured out that slow and steady finishes the run. When comparing to my 20 mile run I changed some things up a bit for this run.

First - I did not create a bunch of anticipatory build up as I had before. Mentally breaking the run down, I told myself it was just going to be a nice easy pace, no 8 or 8:30 miles. Slowing myself down to 9-9:30 was a little difficult to get used to because a lot of my training is at about an 8 min. pace.

Second - I slept well.
The Run
I changed up my refueling plan a little this time. Instead of carrying all Powerade with me I carried half Powerade and half water. The water was a great change, I found it very refreshing and even refilled a couple of times. I also did not have such a strict schedule for taking gels. I took gels at miles 6, 10, 14, and 18, basically when I felt I needed them, which seemed to work out much better; I think I may have overloaded on carbs for my 20 miler.
The first 8 miles went great, as they typically do. The temperature in the first few miles read 75 degrees and there was a nice cooling breeze, running through the shade with the breeze was heaven! I had a little stomach cramping at mile 6 but a gel took care of that, then at mile 8 my legs started feeling fatigued, but that went away before I hit mile 9. My average pace for the first 9 was pretty close to 9:10. At mile 9 I started heading into the wind and had about a 9:35 pace for 3 miles. 11 - 12 is down hill heading towards Falls Park, I took it very easy with a 9:26 mile. After this leisurely down hill run, you get a nice 3/4 mile run up hill, this is where the 20 miler kicked my butt before. I had already decided ahead of time that I was not going to let it happen again and that I was going to kick mile 12's ass ....and so I did and I powered on through it! I stopped at mile 14 to fill up on water and get rid of some too. Stopping was tough, because at that point I realized how fatigued I was becoming. I could have easily thrown the towel in right there, but I didn't. I lumbered on another couple miles, and at mile 16 I decided that I had better do some walking. I walked one mile, from 16 - 17. At 17 I thought I could finish up the run fairly easily, I was wrong. At mile 19 - 20 I walked again, I am not ashamed to tell you so either. I did run the last mile. 21 miles completed in 3 hours 30 minutes, a 10 minute pace even after walking 2 of the miles, I'm ok with that!
Evaluating this training run, I have a new found respect for the 26.2 mile distance. Common thinking is that if you can train at 20 miles, you can run the last 6.2 of the marathon. 20 -21 miles is no piece of cake so to just tack on another 6 is not going to be a walk in the park.

Boston Qualifying is definitely out for this race, I had my head in the clouds when I first thought I had a chance. In fact, my goal will be to finish the marathon in under 4 hours. This requires a 9 minute pace which will be a challenge, but you also have to factor in the crowd and excitement which should help push the pace.

What an exciting challenge. @runnergrl, you were right on when you talked about having a love and respect for the run. Just when you think you have her tamed, she will stomp you down and show you who is in charge. I completed my 21 miles, I am tired and sore, but life is good! I kicked some ass today by running farther than I have ever run before. Mark another notch on the belt, 26.2 I am coming for you soon!