Monday, August 6, 2012

The road to 26.2 - 10 miles

I don't have the commitment or time to write about every run, but after reading up on Chloe's training for her marathon a few years ago, I decided I would at least write about my long runs.  The shorter weekly runs are typically about the same.  Sometimes a run is difficult for some reason, or sometimes I have a really great inspiring run, but for the most part they're predictable.
I've been feeling a bit behind in my training.  Part of me feels like training for a half first wasn't a good idea.  I was so nervous about the race, so I was pretty faithful in my training.  Then, the race ended up being so fantastic, and not nearly as difficult as I expected.  I think this, along with my two weeks of down time, maybe gave me too much confidence and I lost a bit of momentum.  At this point I'm really not running more, mileage wise or times per week, than I was when I was training for the half.  I guess the only difference at this point is the weather.  It is definitely more hot and humid than when I was training for the half.  However, on the other hand, I also feel like I've gotten a lot more comfortable running in the humidity.
I've been running slower on average, and I'm not sure why.  My regular mid week runs have felt more difficult than they did in the past.  It's really bothered me, making me feel like I've digressed.  I was really nervous about my ten mile run this last Saturday.  I was supposed to run nine miles the weekend before and was just feeling exhausted from weeks upon weeks of travel on the weekends and a hectic work/social schedule during the weeks.  I'd gone camping and we cut out early because of bad rain, and I was just over the idea of trying to get that run done.  I finally found a bit of motivation and told myself to just do six.  I ran the loop in the park and it was pathetic.  I felt like I'd run nine, but only ended up doing 6.3, and took a lot of walking breaks.
So, I felt like if I could get this ten miler done I would feel like I was caught up after feeling behind for what seems like the first four weeks of training.  I made a point to really prepare.  I had a yummy pasta dinner for Friday night, got to bed early, and was good about hydrating Friday.  I'd gotten some different kinds of supplements.  Up until this point all I'd ever used were the Gus, and I hate them.  It takes a lot of concentration to not gag when I eat them, so for this run I had some energy jelly beans, and some Gu jelly blocks.  I have sort of wondered if these were like placebo pills.  I don't really feel a difference.  I mean, yes, I'm getting the runs done when I take them, but I don't really notice a different feeling.
I got up early and headed to the West Side Highway and planned to run downtown five miles and then back.  I ate the jelly beans first (I thought I was supposed to take them mid run, but the package said before activity.)  Like usual, the first 4 miles sucked.  It's so hard not to think, "Wow, two miles done....I have to do that four more times."  I stopped at pretty much every water fountain I saw to have a sip of water.  I feel like this is something that really helps me out.  I can't exactly pinpoint this as helping me through the half, but for some reason I feel like it was the best advice I got.  I have two running belts for water, but I've yet to try them out.  The less I have on me, the more comfortable I am running, and strapping on a belt just doesn't seem appealing.  I keep meaning to try it out on a shorter run but I always forget.
After my fifth mile I ate the Gu jelly blocks and they are hands down my favorite energy booster.  I will never have another Gu again!  They were gummies were delish!  I also think they definitely made a difference because on average each mile in the second half of my run was ten seconds quicker than the first half.  My very first mile was 9:20, which made me happy because that is about my usual, however, every mile after that was a little slower.  I was happy when things picked up after my fifth mile and I was able to get my complete average back down to under a 10 min mile.
I felt so good when I was done with this run.  I felt like I had my groove back.  This weekend I cut back to a seven mile run, but then after that every long run is two digits until the week before the marathon when I cut back to eight.  Scary.


maggie said...

Although I am not running a marathon, I am still trying to maintain some sort of mileage for my next half. I totally relate right now to so much of what you wrote. Feeling slow, the humidity, walking breaks. I had a horrible long run last weekend. My shorter runs have slacked during the week, and I have done long runs, but have skipped a weekend or 2 or 3. Anyway, I totally can understand! I prefer the gu's with water over the beans and gummies, but I am glad you found what will help you! I tend to take a fuel before the long run, and during as well. I have been using a handheld bottle (which I can't decide if I like or not), b/c I don't feel like wearing my hydration belt either! Good luck in your future runs!

Sean and Becky said...

Dude, you're a rockstar. Sarah has convinced me to do the half marathon in November, and I feel sick just thinking about it.

chloe said...

Glad it was helpful!!! Keep going!

laura said...

Finally getting around to commenting on this! Glad your 10-miler went well and that you found some fuel that works for you! Before my long runs I usually liked to eat some actual food (toast/peanut butter/etc, similar to what I'd end up eating on race morning). And definitely don't feel bad if your long runs are slower (especially in this heat and humidity), because they're supposed to be slow. Long runs are about building endurance, not speed.

Congrats on getting back on track!