Saturday April 17th was the Earth Day Run in St. Cloud, MN. It was a somewhat unique event in that they ran both a half marathon and new this year, a 20 mile run. I had great company at this race with Daily Mile friends Jenn B., Megan N., and Jenessa. Each of them ran well, both Jenn and Jenessa obtained half marathon PR's and Megan ran a very solid 20 miles. They are a great bunch, if you are on Daily Mile and you don't follow them already, you should, I expect each of them to have some great race results this year.
Obviously running is a physical sport, but I would say it is equally and many times more so a mental sport. Preparation, attitude, and determination are major factors in the result of any distance run. It is easy to be intimidated by a race or a long run. But if you have trained properly, and have the right mindset your results will generally be positive. I found a great quote on Twitter from EnMotivate : If you truly expect something to be difficult, it will be. ~ Pete Cohen. I went into this run with expectations of having fun, maintaining a responsible pace,and working on fine tuning my fuel plan for Fargo.
The Fun Part
An amazing thing happened on this day. I woke up in a great mood (not that amazing), and I was really looking forward to this run. I have been training hard through some really crappy weather and was looking forward to see how things would shake out. I have started to develop a new attitude towards running this year and it is all about enjoying the runs. I don't know that I have too many more PR's left in me and frankly I am not too worried about it. It is all to easy to obsess about training and racing, but my eyes have been opened to the joy of running. Throughout this race I made it a point to thank as many volunteers as possible and talk to and encourage other runners along the way. I hope I made some people feel a little better about there run, even if for only a few moments. I was running well and felt good most of the way, so why not try to spread a little love?
Yep, I am very much a typical runner, I go out too fast at the start, and have nothing left at the end. I proved it in my first marathon and I still do it much too often in my training runs. This time it was different, but I did have a little help. My goal was to finish with a 9:00 - 9:30 pace without wiping myself out in the end. Luckily there were pacers at this race, so I found the 9:33 pacer and stuck with him. My plan was to run faster the last part of the race if I felt well enough to do so. 9:33 seemed a little too easy the first few miles, but I stuck to the plan like a champ, for the most part. I did pass the pacer and pick things up at miles 6 - 10 knowing that I was going to have to make a bathroom stop. When I stepped out of the port a potty I had to pick my speed back up to catch back up to the pacer which I finally did somewhere close to mile 12. I kept a pretty steady pace through the next 4 miles and then started to push the it a little at mile 16, simply because I felt like I could. I feel good that I was able to finish strong and run my last two miles at close to 8 minute pace, my pacing plan worked well!
The Fuel Plan
This is where I have the most anxiety about my long runs and the marathon. Mostly because I did such a poor job of it during my first marathon that I really don't want to make the same mistake twice. I have asked questions on Daily Mile and done a little experimenting on my own. I have not come to a complete resolution yet but here is what I have so far.
- 5-hour Energy - yeah, don't freak out. I am typically not a big believer in these things and I am not sure how much it has actually helped. But, the two times that I have tried it, I had solid results. I will give credit where credit is due, I borrowed this idea from Rob-The-Runner on Daily Mile.
- Hammer Gels - I have tried Honey Stingers and Hammer Gels on my long runs. I like the flavors and the ease of consuming the Hammer Gels. I use the non-caffeinated gels simply because I don't feel like I need any more caffeine than what is in the energy shot. I consumed one gel for every four miles. This seemed to work out well, but I may try every 30 minutes on my next long run.
- Water - I still have some work to do in this area but I drank from every water stop and walked through most of them to drink. I was still a little dehydrated at the end of the run but it was much better than my first marathon experience.
Here are some pictures of me and the great DM runners that I mentioned earlier