I did my last really long run yesterday so I have official begun my taper! This weekend I have “just” a half marathon (when did 13 miles become “short”??), followed by 12, 10, 10, and MCM!
I was a little fretful after my 20 miler two weeks ago. My pace wasn’t great and I wound up with a 15:39 average. I need to maintain at least 16 minutes per mile in order to make it past the two time checks. I wasn’t thrilled with just a 21 second cushion. I thought that the 20 would be an ideal indicator of my marathon time as it was a pretty flat course and there was course support. I was expecting yesterday’s run to be even slower. It was a hillier course and I would have no extra support. Plus I was solo and couldn’t have music for parts of it due to safety concerns (busy road, no sidewalks).
I started at 7 am and the weather was just perfect. In fact, I was actually chilly at times. That’s almost unheard of for me. I was worried about the return loop because I wouldn’t have any shade for about 7 miles but it wound up being partly cloudy by that point so it wasn’t an issue. I was able to run from my house to a local rec center, along a trail, and then to the lake that I run on a fairly regular basis and back again. I stopped at the bathrooms at the lake to refill my Camelbak and I carried most of my food in my new Roo pocket (but my Bonk Breaker had to ride in the pack – too big).
I didn’t walk except to eat and I kept it to the bare minimum. I also tried very hard to keep my pace to an even 12 minute mile at all times. My over-all pace wound up being 13:26! I couldn’t believe how much faster I was! So, what happened?
- I did not let myself go out too fast. I know at the 20 miler that I was close to 10 minute miles for the first three miles. The hills on the route yesterday helped slow me down.
- I didn’t let myself walk too long and stiffen up. I often become a bit despondent at mile 15 and just want to walk it all but this time I kept going.
- I knew the course. I knew exactly what was coming and when and that was a huge help for me, mentally.
- My fuel was spot on. I ate “Pumpkin mash” 30 minutes before the run and then alternated my food so I had a little bit every three miles after mile 6. I have a long wait before MCM so I’m not sure what I’ll do on that one. I might have the mash in the hotel room before I leave and then have banana and almond butter at the start.
- I had plenty of water at all times. I went dry a couple of times at the 20 miler. I’m so sweaty, I need to make sure I stay fully hydrated and stop at all of the water stations (I skipped 3 last time. Bad runner!)
- The weather was perfect! I can’t control this one but I am a bit of a shrinking flower in the heat and full sun. I will remember my visor for MCM. A partly cloudy day would be perfect.
Other stuff I noticed:
- I purchased a new pair of Belega socks and still got blisters on the tip of my second toes. I even used tons of Body Glide on them. I don’t know.
- I put a little dab of Body Glide at the outside corner of each eye and they didn’t sting at all.
- The Roo pocket chafed just a bit. There is a (pretty useless) piece of velcro that requires you to line up the tiny squares just so or else the scratchy hook side is rubbing on your skin. I think I will just remove it.
- I immediately ate a cup of Trader Joe’s whole fat Greek yogurt with mango and apricot, half a bag of plantain chips, and a glass of electrolyte water as soon as I returned home and I didn’t feel at all sick later in the day. The protein/carb ratio worked well for me.
- I took a super cold ice bath and then strolled around Target for an hour or so with Little Runner and my legs feel pretty good today.
I know I’ll still be plagued by self doubt but, over all, I’m feeling much more confident about the end of the month. I won’t be setting any world records but I will finish and I will do it in a way that is best for me.