But this weekend, I got my twenty done, and I have to say - it felt great! I almost always struggle during 20 milers - I get bored, I get sore, I hit the wall. For someone who is clearly better at the marathon distance than any other, I sure am bad at long runs. But Saturday, it all worked out.
Twenty-five hill repeats sandwiched in the middle.
Five mile fast-finish.
2:35:20 for a 7:45 average pace.
|What you wear on a long run|
in NOLA in January!
It was thundering and pouring when I got up, so I tried to wait it out, but finally left the house in the rain. Before the run I had about 1/4 cup of white rice with salt (just a few bites; I keep a pot of cooked jasmine rice in the fridge most of the time since David and I are big rice eaters). I'm trying to figure my stomach and fueling out. The first three miles were dreadful - rain, puddles, and way hotter than I thought: I'd worn a long-sleeved shirt. I knew that wasn't going to be a good idea, so I detoured home at mile 4. 8:02, 8:02, 8:15, 8:10 - slow start, as intended.
I tossed my shirt and, as an afterthought, grabbed four gummy peaches left over from gingerbread house decorating (I know. I should throw those out). I'd eaten them all by mile 10 - early for me, but it worked today. I just checked and four peaches ~100 calories.
I did my usual hill repeats when I got to the levee: a total of 25 up and down nonstop, with sets of 5 or 10 broken up by flat sections between each "hill". By the time I got off the levee, I was halfway done. I did some running in the park and planned to get back on the levee for a few miles before doing a fast finish in the park. I took 1/3 of a gel at mile 12.5, planning to take more at 15 and 18, which would align with water fountains.
Levee hills and park plus back on the levee: 7:37, 7:48, 7:48, 7:54, 7:59 7:57, 7:50, 7:43, 7:50, 7:47
Problem: It was windy on the levee and I didn't hear my Garmin beep! I finally looked down and it was mile 14.5 - so I had already missed my turnaround point at mile 13, plus I botched my first mile of "fast finish". But it was pretty up on the levee: the river is really high right now, and all kinds of waterfowl were paddling along the batture, so I decided to keep going. This meant I'd take some gel without water, so - risky. But I did it anyway. At this point, I had a tailwind, but at mile 16, I turned around into a headwind. Around 17.5 I had to get off the levee and back on St. Charles Avenue, which helped with the headwind, but meant I was back to dodging puddles and tourists on messed up sidewalks. Finally I made it to Audubon park and the closest fountain for the last of my gel and some water before heading home. 7:46, 7:18, 7:24, 7:29, 7:18, 7:23.
I finished feeling pretty good, not even hungry, so I think one gel and four peaches did the trick! It felt so nice to be able to force some faster miles at the end. I am sick and tired of gasping for breath and feeling my heart hammer away, only to see 8:05 on my Garmin. This almost - ALMOST - felt like the old Grace, with the exception of my right hip constantly falling out of place. Hey, I said "almost". I'll take what I can get.