I finished my first 20 miler for this marathon today. It was hell. The end.
The rest of the story:
Yesterday I ran a lovely 10 miles. I ran slower than last week, knowing I’d be running 20 today. I finished in 1:40:09, with really negative splits, but without really pushing too hard.
Today, I went out planning to run pretty conservatively. I aimed to keep my miles between 10:30 and 10:40, despite a really hilly course. I knew by the end of mile 1 that this was going to be hard run. Why? The wind. There was a steady wind combined with wind gusts that would literally stop me in my tracks. At mile 5 I had trouble running DOWN a hill because the wind was pushing me backwards. At mile 6 I had to walk up a hill I’ve run many times before because I just didn’t have the energy to push up into the wind. There were a few decent miles in there, where I had the wind at my back, but most of the time I felt I was fighting to go forward. Finally, at mile 12, I decided I needed to get where there was less wind and ran back to my neighborhood. I managed another 3 miles there, but every time I’d turn and run west, I’d be heading into the wind. I just couldn’t take it any longer. I decided to quit and ran to my house.
I had a drink (I was a bit dehydrated because it was also pretty warm out) and decided to hit the treadmill for a mile or so. 56 minutes and 5 tortuous miles later, I finished my 20 miles.
I finished the first 15 in 2:39:04, which is a pace of 10:36. Right where I wanted to be. My next 5 were an 11:16 pace. I’m not so happy about that, but I was just so beaten up by the first 15 that I had very little push left in me. Overall pace for the 20 miles was 10:48. I actually took a really long ice bath today. Despite that, my feet are swollen and only fit comfortably in my “mom” sandals. We’ll see how my legs feel tomorrow.
Things that went right:
My shoes (the feet numbing ones) were fine.
My sunglasses (that I’ve never run with before) were great and very helpful when the wind was blowing sand around.
Things that went wrong:
The combination of GU chomps and nuun went sour in my stomach around mile 11. This led to not fueling enough or hydrating enough for the last 4 miles outside. Not sure what to do about that.
I think I may be overestimating my abilities. More on that in a moment.
I nearly peed myself at mile 9 when I coughed. Nice.
Heat/sun definitely played a part in the exhaustion at the end.
As far as overestimating my abilities, I’ve chosen a plan that has back to back “long” runs. Supposedly this will make me stronger and give me the experience of running on really tired legs without having to run the distance of the marathon while in training. I also chose this plan because I liked the length of the long runs. I knew I’d be dropping one run a week and that I’d find it difficult to hit all of the miles, but I didn’t realize how hard I’d find the back to back runs. I think for the remainder of the training, I’ll be keeping the long run distances from the Intermediate 2 plan, but falling back to the shorter distance of the Intermediate 1 plan for all other miles. I think my body will thank me.