This morning Tyler and I ran (run/walked) 18 miles! Let me be very clear-it was not easy.
After last week’s disaster long run, my confidence was shot and after doing some research I came to the conclusion that the Mount Desert Island Marathon is going to have to be a run-walk occasion. Most of the run-walk plans I found called for certain formulas and eventually running for five minutes and walking for one. I didn’t like it. I decided we were going to run for 10 minutes then walk for one.
I’ve also been experimenting with my pre-run fueling (including dinner the night before). For a half marathon, I would binge on pasta (isn’t that what you’re supposed to do?) and feel fine but crappy toward the end of the run. A few weekends ago, I tried spaghetti squash and it was just a little too much fiber for my sensitive stomach. Then, I remembered when we were in Valley Forge, I had a starch, a veggie, and a protein prior to the Perk Up Half and it was one of the best runs during this training cycle for me.
My dinner last night was a sweet potato, steamed broccoli, and grilled chicken. I think I found my night-before-long-run-meal.
This morning I also changed things up–for shorter runs (13 miles and shorter)–I usually just have some Vitalyte (electrolyte drink) and shortly after starting the run an Island Boost packet, and continue fueling with Island Boost as needed. It was perfect. My stomach is so sensitive it’s difficult for me to eat before a workout, and I noticed around mile 10 I would feel a little foggy in the head and nauseated if I ate the typical bagel and peanut butter. This morning I had my Vitalyte and 1/4 piece of a plain bagel right before we ran. …or so I thought that was going to be the plan. We pulled up to the Jamestown Settlement, and quickly realized we left our water and fuels in the freezer at home. Crap! Since there was no way we could do this run without, we headed back to Yorktown to get our fuel and then back to Jamestown. I ended up eating another 1/4 of a bagel right before we ran. It was likely a little too much, but I didn’t get dizzy or nauseous during this run at all.
So we got started just before 9am, and thank goodness the weather was fall-like today! The sun did end up getting hot, but there was no humidity, it was great! Most of the run is shaded as well, so that was nice. We alternated 10 minutes of running with 1 minute of walking for the first 13 miles. I bonked, I think. Hard. I ran out of water. My back hurt (from lifting earlier this week–I think). My legs did not want to move. Tyler and I continued to run/walk for the remainder of the trail until we hit the Jamestown Settlement. There, we refilled our water bottles, used the restroom, and headed back out for the final three miles.
While, yes, I felt like I bonked, I was still able to keep run/walking the final three miles. I think it was pretty much split down the middle running and walking. Yes, it hurt, but I gave it all I had. The run/walk technique at the beginning of the run helped a lot, although maybe the running pace was a hair too fast (most were sub-10 miles!). We finished in 3 hours, 19 minutes, 21 seconds (11:04/mile pace).
Next weekend is a 12-miler, and the weekend after that is the big 20-miler, then the taper. For the next two long runs, the plan is to have the same dinner, do the same pre-run fuel, and do the same 10-to-1 run/walk plan.
I’m not sure where I thought I would be at this point in training, but after today’s run, I feel my confidence is coming back. This has been a great learning experience for me–what works, what doesn’t, what to do for next time (Little Rock!!). I realize that training for and running 26.2 miles is not supposed to be easy, it’s a huge challenge–mentally, physically, emotionally. There are 35 days until Mount Desert Island, and I plan to be the best running I can be at that race.
….Especially when this is going to be one of the views during the race.