I never thought I'd say (type?) that sentence.
There was a sponsored course training run starting a block and a half from our house at 7 am which was perfect. They provided maps for people running 10, 16, and 20 miles, and you could then tailor the course to match exactly the distance you wanted to do. My training plan (which you all know I've been following so closely) called for 20, so I went with the longest distance. There were about 500 people who showed up for the training run, which was awesome because I didn't have to look at my map too many times because I could just follow the runners in front of me.
I was terrified before the run started - I thought I was going to get left behind and be the slowest runner on the course. I was definitely one of the slower runners on the course, but not the slowest, which made me feel better. I don't mean to make it sound like I am happy simply because there are other people who are slower than I am - it needs to be about me and my race, I don't need to be worried about other runners - but I guess I was just really scared that if I didn't have other people around me, I'd panic and turn around and go home. Being surrounded by other runners the whole time, especially other runners around my speed, really helped motivate me to keep going.
We ran on the course of the marathon (which is now less than 3 weeks away), so we started at the park near our house and ran north, essentially taking an extended tour of the Baltimore ghetto, then ran around Lake Montebello, over to Druid Hill Park (which is where the rapper Dru Hill got his name because he's from that area), back south around the harbor, over to UA's headquarters, then back through the harbor again and home.
Here are my splits by mile (disclaimer again, I am still slow):
6- 12:39 (This was actually 1.1 miles, I forgot to press the lap button)
7- 11:05 (hence this one was 0.9 miles)
8- 12:19 (no excuse, this one was just slow)
There were a bunch of water stops on the course, and they also provided gels. This was a total lifesaver - I don't know if I could have made it through 20 miles without the support on the course. We even got cheers from random passerby! :)
So obviously my splits were all over the place - but I was happy that most of them stayed between 11:30 and 12:00 which is kind of where my goal is settling right now. A lot of times when I looked down at my watch during the run, my splits were too low - I was running faster than I meant to and was afraid I was going to burn out - so I had to keep slowing myself down. I didn't stop to walk at any point, but in the second half of the run we had to stop very often at stoplights, intersections, etc, so that really slowed things down.
My thoughts on the run:
- It was hard, but not as hard as I thought it was going to be.
- My knees hurt a lot more than they have in the past, along with the ball of my right foot. This would usually indicate to me that I need new shoes, but the shoes I was running in are not old enough to indicate that I need new ones (they were purchased within the last 6 months and I know I have not run 500 miles in them). Also, I'm afraid I wouldn't be able to break in new shoes sufficiently in the next 3 weeks while I'm tapering in order for them to be ready for the marathon.
- I kept drinking even when I wasn't thirsty to try to stay hydrated - and I hydrated out of control on Friday - and I felt good, but I still wasn't sweating as much as I should have been. Often I felt my face caked with salt and I'd have to splash water in my face to wash it off. I'm not sure why I wasn't sweating more - any ideas, friends?
- I ate an entire pack of Shot Bloks along with 1 pack of Gu and 1 "PowerBar Gel" that was provided on the course - notes on these: Gu in "Chocolate Outrage" flavor tastes EXACTLY LIKE GOOEY BROWNIE. The texture is even pretty much the same. I will be buying 40 of these. The PowerBar Gel in Vanilla tastes like lemon ass. And I hate it. But I needed calories, I had to eat it. It also doesn't have caffeine and I have decided that I need my calorie sources to have caffeine to really get me going.
- Yesterday after the run blew. I got some Chipotle and put on comfy clothes and basically laid either on the couch or in bed for the rest of the day. I feel much better today but my legs are fatiguing easily as I walk up and down the stairs in the house.
So that's all I've got for now. I am just so relieved that I made it through the 20 mile run. It's all Tapertown from here! That was the longest run I will do in my training - everything else should be easier for the next 3 weeks until the race (fingers crossed). This run was just really important for me mentally - understanding that I can actually do this. And I think the additional adrenaline that will come on race day will help me make it through those last 6.2 miles (Molly Laufer? Yes?).
Ok. So here we go.