Tuesday, November 17, 2009

22 Miles, Taper Time & a Turkey Trot

Every time I complete a run I generally feel like I am on some sort of a “high.” Your head feels clear, your body feels cleansed, you feel accomplished – overall you just feel good. Today, two days after my 22 miler on Sunday, I am still “high” off my run.

Like I think I previously mentioned, my long training runs for San Diego never felt or really went well (okay, so I guess those were runs were I didn’t experience the runner’s “high” as much – but I still felt good from the exercise). Thus, this time around I was super nervous for them. For my 17, 20 and 22 milers I always had pre-run nerves like pre race nerves on my drive to the trail. This past Sunday was no exception.

Saturday night I carbed it up with some pasta, bread and salad so fuel wise I was ready to go. Sunday morning I woke up around 4:45 to get in a good 30 minute foam roller session. I have found if I do this, my sciatica is less likely to flare up. Actually, I have started to do this every morning (although usually I only spend about 10 minutes on it) and popped three Tylenol as a preventative measure. I ate some wheat crackers and peanut butter and checked the weather. At 5:30 am the news said it was about 30 degrees out. I really debated – tights v. shorts and in the end went with tights. Driving to the trail I started to question my decision (I also had on a tank and a long sleeve shirt) but the high was only supposed to be 60 for the so I thought it might stay cool out longer. About a mile in I already had the long sleeves off. I have yet to decide what I want to wear race day but I think I will compromise with capris. I guess I just really wanted it to be colder than it was.

We started our run in Folsom again. The route this week was one full circle around Folsom Lake (roughly 11.1 miles) and then another loop back around the opposite way for a total of 22.2 miles. By 7:00 am we were off. I had no goal for this run except to run the whole thing, see if my 20 mile fueling strategy still worked and basically just finish and not want to die. I wanted to try and keep an 11:00 min/mile pace. Even though my goal marathon pace is a 10:30 – I can still come in under 5 hours with an 11:03 pace. My first few miles were fast (9:27, 9:24, 9:36) – I tried to slow down but I just felt good. The air was super crisp and some of the new songs I just added to my playlist came on so I stopped trying to fight it and just went with how I felt. Finally, by mile 4 I was able to settle in at a comfortable 10:35/10:40 pace. The first 8 miles felt great. I took an espresso GU at mile 5 (planning to fuel at miles 5, 11, and 17 – for the marathon I will add in 22). Miles 9-11 were a little hard but only because where we were running was where I started to feel tired and sore during the 20 miler. Mentally, I think seeing that part of the trail took me back to that day. However, I kept pace just fine and finished the first 11 miles in 1:54 – a 10:36 pace.

At the turn around our coaches had set up a little “aid” station with some gummy bears, pretzels and coolers of water. I drank some of my Nuun water, re-filled my 2 empty water bottles (I was carrying 4 – I swear I drink like a fish when I run), grabbed a pretzel and a gummy bear and headed back. Miles 11 – 14 were again that awful part of the trail I just wanted to get through.

I mentioned during my 20 miler that towards the end the balls of my feet were really starting to hurt. During some of the early miles on this run I asked one of the coaches who was riding by about it and she said to really focus on my form when/if I started to get tired. Not only would it hopefully help the pain but also mentally give your mind something to focus on. I actually started doing this around mile 13 to hopefully prevent the pain from even starting in the first place.

By mile 16 we were back on the trail were we had beautiful views of Folsom Lake so I got out my phone and took a few pictures:

At mile 17 I hit a small “wall” and really really wanted to walk. Physically I was actually feeling good but mentally I was started to lose it. My tummy was also a little upset so I opted not to fuel (I know I should have though) because the thought of eating just didn’t sound appealing. I told myself that when a song was playing I had to keep running and couldn’t look at my watch and I could take a small walk break when the song was over, however, if the next song started and I didn’t stop I couldn’t stop until after that song was over, etc. This strategy proved to really work because I did finally stop and walk for ¼ mile (I decided I needed to fuel since that was a goal of the run and needed to eat my gummies and thought I might choke if I didn’t stop to chew them) I was already at mile 19. Only 3 more miles to go! Maybe that ¼ mile walk was all I needed because I took off after that for the last 3 miles and kept roughly a 10:15 minute pace – it was like I got a second wind. I focused a lot of my form those last three miles and I think that really helped because it was the first long run where the balls of my feet did not hurt. During the very last mile I hooked up with a guy in our group and we chatted the whole way back. I finished 22.26 miles in 3:59 – a 10:46 pace overall! I was actually kinda sad for the run to end. I swear I could have done the marathon that day.

Those 22 miles have totally pumped me up for CIM!! I am so excited to be tapering – having had all very successful long runs I think my under 5 hour goal is very doable.

The rest of Sunday I spent shopping with a friend and went out to a wonderful dinner with Kevin before he had to leave again for the week. :(

Taper this week includes a 3 miler tonight, 6 on Wednesday and 4 on Friday. Sunday will be my next “long run” which will be 10 miles, which seems so short now. I NEVER thought I would think of 10 miles as a “short” run! :)

I am blogging on my lunch break at work so I guess I should get back to work but I wanted to leave you with a fun opportunity to do a race on Thanksgiving morning that is absolutely free and yet you will have tons of support! Alisa over at Ambitious Aspirations is hosting her first ever “virtual” race – a turkey trot on Thanksgiving morning to commemorate her first race ever. You can chose from a 1 mile, 5k, 5 mile, 10k, 10 mile or half marathon distance – you decide! Even though I am already running my favorite race of the year, Run to Feed the Hungry 10k, on Thanksgiving morning, Kevin, my sister and I will also be sporting our “virtual” race bibs and running with all of you. Here is the awesome bib Alisa created and go check out her blog to find out about posting pictures, times, etc after you are done. If anything, it will make you feel less guilty about all the eating you will be doing that day!

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  1. Holy Batman, what an awesome 22 miler!!! You are totally READY for CIM! Maybe I'll run with you, since under 5 will make me happy and I'm not going for a PR.

    Enjoy the taper, you have done the hard work. Now it's time to rest rest rest!

  2. Wow!!!!!!!! Awesome 22 miles! I had a similiar 10 miler this past weekend, though miles 5.5-7.5 were a little rough. I might try your strategy of getting through the song without walking and if I feel I need to walk at the end of the song I will. Sometimes a short walk break is all I need to remotivate myself.

    I'm soooooooo excited for you for CIM. I think breaking 5 hours will be no problemo!

    This post ALMOST (almost key word) made me re-consider my swearing off of marathons =).

    Way to be inspiring!!!

  3. Great post. I hope your race goes as well as this training run.


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