Marathon Training Long Run

Or “How not to do your 20-miler”
 
First, a little background. I moved my 20-miler to four weeks pre-marathon. Ragnar Relay is three weeks pre-marathon. At 21.8 miles total, it’ll be my biggest mileage weekend, but it won’t be continuous. So, that left my 20-miler to be done New Year’s weekend.
 
On Christmas Day, I had a wonderful 16-miler in the company of my sister. She ran me all over the hills of our hometown (the net elevation change was a 1200ft – but my usual elevation change is about 30 feet… so, yeah, it was tough towards the end). Temperatures were in the 40s. I managed to hold a 10:20 pace.
 
Two days later, I knocked out 5 miles at a 10:00 pace on the treadmill. I can handle the cold, but it was in the 30s and raining! Then, it was a windy, chilly 10 miler at a 10:23 pace. The wind chill made it feel like 1 degree above freezing! That night, I hopped in the car to begin the 20 hour drive back to Florida! Friday, I had every intention of doing my training run first thing in the morning. This didn’t work out due to a flat tire and my boyfriend’s follow-up appointments from his shoulder surgery. So, around noon I hit the pavement for a fairly mindless 5.2 miles at a 10:21 pace. The weather was in the mid 70s with a light breeze. I stripped to my sports bra trying to handle the heat – which is something I almost NEVER do.
 
So far, so good, right?
 
Saturday, I woke up. I had 20 miles to crush on New Year’s Eve. My stomach was NOT agreeing with me. After FOUR trips to the bathroom, I finally got out of the door around 11:30 in the morning. I was counting on the GI problems continuing, but I wasn’t about to attempt 20 miles on New Year’s Day. Luckily, on this planned route, there is a bathroom 1.7 miles from home, then another 5.3 miles from home. I used them both. I took in 100 cal at the second bathroom stop. As I started running from the restroom north along the beach, my nose started gushing blood. After another 3 miles, I took in some more food. Shortly after that, the Clif Shot Bloks I had eaten tried to make another appearance. I made it to the turn-around slightly nauseous – but at least I was hydrated. The beach showers provide lots of water! On top of all that, I couldn’t figure how to make my new iPod shuffle play songs in order… and by songs, I mean chapters of my audio book. Whoops.
 
Let’s recap:
-GI problems from the start
-too much nutrition
-bloody nose
-less than 24 hours after my last run
 
I knew it was warm out. I stopped a few times to stand under the showers while trying to keep my feet dry. I took off my tank top. As I discovered today when I checked the weather history, we hit EIGHTY TWO degrees that day, with SEVENTY percent humidity. Heat index of 86 degrees – after some near-freezing runs the week before.
 
I finished in 3:46:37… an 11:16 pace. I was also stopped for a total of 30 minutes between bathroom stops, cooling off in beach showers, getting stuck at drawbridges, and hiding in the shade feeling sorry for myself.
 
Now that I’m physically – and mentally! – recovered from that mess… I think it didn’t go that badly! With everything going against me, I finished in a respectable time (for me). I toughed it out, and while I allowed myself more walk-breaks than I’d like, I didn’t call Patrick and make him come pick me up. I listened to my body and sat in the shade for a bit when I seemed not be handling the heat well. I’m ready for Ragnar!
 
This week will likely be about 10 miles today, 5 tomorrow, and off Thursday. It’ll give me a teeny-tiny bit of rest. Ragnar is supposed to be FUN, so I won’t be stressing about my times. I’d like to hit my adjusted paces (9:52 for the 11.8 mile run, and under 9:30 for the 5.2 and 4.1 mile run), but that’s not necessary.
 
Just one request – will someone PLEASE take my bike away during taper for the marathon? I know that with my extra energy I’ll want to take it out, but I should really take the taper seriously!

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4 responses to “Marathon Training Long Run

  1. Holy Moly — you endured more in a workout than most do in a race! You are TOUGH, sistah!!

    xxoxo.
    C.

  2. Taper is a 4-letter word in my book. Nice way to tough it out. The fun days wouldn’t be as sweet without the ugly ones.

  3. The thing I remember about my 20 mile run when I trained for my marathon is that I went through all 73 songs on my iPod and I still had more to run. I swear it felt like I had the earbuds still in my ears for hours!

    Good job finishing it, you are going to rock your marathon!

  4. Way to tough it out. Cleve Marthon for me last year was rough and I had one rough 20 miler and 2 decent ones before. With a 20+ miler you never know what you’re going to get…

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