This morning was the morning of my first 20 mile training run in preparation for the Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon in October. I always get nervous before my long training runs. I’m worried about the weather…is it going to be too hot? Raining? Windy? How is my body going to react? Am I going to have GI issues? Are my legs going to hold up? It is a lot of anxiety.
I think most of it comes from the fact that I still consider myself to be a new runner. I only did one marathon, and that was two years ago. My training for that race was non-traditional because I was pregnant and had to adjust accordingly.
Another reason for the anxiety is that my training for this marathon has been going pretty well. While I don’t think that I am the type of person who focuses on the negative, there is a tiny part in the back of my mind that is worried that the proverbial wheels are going to fall off at some point.
On to today’s run! I tried to get to bed early so that I could get a good night’s rest. I didn’t want to repeat the insomnia from my recent 18-miler. Unfortunately, the Olympics sucked me in with their human-interest stories and track and field races. How crazy is it, that you have the world’s best athletes all in one place and this guy is one of them?
He is a big guy! And I’m certainly not taking anything away from his performance. The guy could probably shot put me! He just isn’t the first picture that comes into my mind when I think of an Olympian.
So anyway, I got to bed later than I planned. Then, around 3:00, a pretty decent storm came through, complete with thunder and lightening. It shook me awake. I was a little concerned that I would end up having to run in the rain, but I had 2 1/2 hours until I was planning to start, so I figured the storm would blow through by then. And, I was thrilled that we were finally getting some rain.
My alarm went off a little before 5:00 and I got dressed and had my usual breakfast of white rice with some cinnamon and sugar. I always try to be as quiet as possible so that I don’t wake up Tim or the boys. Unfortunately, this morning, the dog decided that she was going to start barking at nothing. stupid dog
I got outside a little before 5:30. It was still pretty dark outside and the weather was nice and cool. My goal pace was 10:20/mile. I was going to run my same loop that I use for all my long runs. The consistency gives me a sense of confidence (and I know the marathon isn’t going to be run on the streets of my neighborhood!).
The first few miles always seem to be a warm up for me. It takes me a little while to get comfortable out there.
Mile 1: 10:29
Mile 2: 10:26
Mile 3: 10:36
Mile 4: 10:03
Mile 5: 10:31
I had a friend join me for a lap (my third). It was so nice to have some conversation and to break up the monotony of such a long run (thanks Tara!). My next few miles felt relatively good. I felt like I was in a pretty good groove, but it might have felt so good because I was pretty far off my goal pace. I took in some fuel (honey stinger waffle) just before mile 8.
Mile 6: 10:26
Mile 7: 10:38
Mile 8: 10:49
Mile 9: 10:30
Mile 10: 10:16
It is a little mentally challenging to finish running 10 miles and realize that you’re only half done with the run. There were some mental challenges today. Like I said, I run the same loop, it is about 2.5 miles long and it circles around by my house. This is very convenient because I can leave my fuel and hydration in my mailbox and I don’t have to carry it with me. I get a mini-break every few miles. I look forward to those little mini breaks. The disadvantage of running past your house every 2.5 miles is that it gets really tempting to just stop and be done.
Mile 11: 10:27
Mile 12: 10:20
Mile 13: 10:25
Mile 14: 10:24
Mile 15: 10:25
After 15 miles, I really had to dig into the mental reserves I had. And I didn’t have many at that point. I don’t know what was going wrong. My 18-miler felt so good, and this run was really difficult at the end. I had grabbed a pack of Gu Chomps during one of my mailbox mini-breaks, and I was nursing them for miles 13-18. I don’t think I will get them again, as my stomach didn’t seem to do well. Maybe I need to try a different flavor.
I really need to dial in my nutrition. I only have 2 more long runs scheduled before race day, and I just can’t seem to find something that consistently works. Even the Nuun tablets in my water made my stomach a bit uneasy at the beginning. I’ve tried many different gel brands and flavors. The Honey Stinger Waffles seem to be okay. They are more of a ‘food,’ rather than a gel, which seems to be a little better for me. Sometimes the gels cause some GI issues. The problem with the Honey Stinger Waffles is that they aren’t really all that easily transportable. They are a bit big and don’t fit nicely into my SPIbelt. I guess I’ll keep trying things over the next two runs and see what I can figure out.
Mile 16: 10:44
Mile 17: 10:28
Mile 18: 10:31
Mile 19: 10:44
Mile 20: 10:23
Overall pace: 10:29/mile (this is only slightly faster than my 20 mile training run from two years ago, when I was training for my first marathon)
I was really glad to be done with this run. Even though I started early, and it was mostly cloudy, I was drenched in sweat. The kind where you can wring it out of your clothes. My cool shower felt so good. And I was excited to get my compression socks on.
I think I also need to work on my post-run nutrition. After this run, I quickly drank some water and then got in the shower. After the shower, I had a banana and then about a half hour later, I had a piece of banana bread. I had the worst stomach ache. I felt truly awful. I was also getting a headache. I got some coffee to try to stave off the headache. It worked slightly. I am now four hours post run and I should probably eat something else, but I don’t really feel all that great. And, I promised Jaden we could have some ice cream after Logan wakes up from his nap. Ice cream doesn’t sound all that appealing right now (this is how I know something is wrong).
I know that I am supposed to get the right carb:protein ratio after I run, but my stomach was so touchy today. I may try to get something else in before we head out for ice cream. I think the plan for dinner is homemade pizza. We usually top it with spinach and tomatoes and peppers (I’ll put some mushrooms on Tim’s side because I’m nice like that). It is one of our favorite dinners. Hopefully, my stomach will be ready by then.
Do you have any suggestions for how I should fuel my long runs? Is there anything special that works for you?