Monday, October 24, 2011

The First 20 of Training

I count today as the first 20 mile of my training, even though I suppose the marathon on Oct 1 should really count for that.  It is sort of funny how I have bypassed all the middle-long distances like 14-18 miles going from 12 and 16 to 26 and 20.  I'm not sure if that is the smartest thing since I think for injury prevention purposes one should ease the body into the higher mileage, but so far things are okay.  I'll also admit I've been somewhat concerned about the lack of long runs throughout this ultra training and I'm feeling like I need to pack them in now.  I have two more planned and no idea if that is enough or not.  But onward I go!

This morning was fun.  I met Katie at 4:40 a.m. and we got started.  She wanted to get in at least 12 before 6:50 and I was grateful for the company on so much of my long run.  We ran mostly in the dark with a smiley face moon grinning down on us.  It was a chilly 50 degrees and I wore shorts, a short sleeved top and gloves, which I never took off.  We talked of all sorts of things as we always do, seeing many runners and walkers along the way. I thought we'd run into the other half of our group, but we never saw them.

Katie ended up running 13.5 with me and I grabbed my ipod for the rest.  I ran 1.5 to Kroger and used the facilities before finishing my run.  I felt good until the last 2 miles and then my legs were slow and achy.  That is when I realized I'd had nothing to eat.  It was not smart and not what I intended to do, but I started with Katie like any other regular morning run, not really thinking about how this one was different, requiring fuel.  I had grabbed a banana when I ran out the door that morning, but when I grabbed my ipod and a sip of water, I'd forgotten about it. 

I used to think that if I forced my body to do the work in training with no fuel, it would be tougher and even better when I did have fuel in the actual race. (I should add here that the fuel I chose for the race, while not often used in training, was NOT something new to my system.  I don't think runners should try anything new on race day.)  I recently learned that this type of training approach did not help things at all (except maybe a little mentally).  The Sports Nutrition Instructor at UAH explained it like this:  If your car is running low on gas and you say, "I'm just going to push it further without gas because that means it will be able to go even longer next time on the gas it has," what will happen?  Your car will run out of gas and stop working.  He said it is the same with fueling your body with both liquids and nutrients (bars, Gu, whatever your choice) while training.  In fact, the fuel allows your body to do more in training, making for a more quality workout.

So this morning as I felt myself slowing down and my legs growing tired, I decided that next time I would make more of a point to eat something at least once during my long run.  This run still turned out okay, though.  I finished in 3:04:59, which is around a 9:15 average pace, and I'm pretty happy with that.  Below are the splits, if you are interested.  I always like looking at them on these longer runs (okay, and on the shorter ones too) because they show me where I'm slowing down and help me figure out how to improve.

Mile 1 - 9:03
Mile 2 - 9:15
Mile 3 - 9:18
Mile 4 - 9:30
Mile 5 - 9:33
Mile 6 - 9:32
Mile 7 - 9:28
Mile 8 - 9:20
Mile 9 - 9:13
Mile 10 - 9:31
Mile 11 - 10:11 (big hill)
Mile 12 - 9:17
Mile 13 - 9:12 (Katie was running me hard here as she needed to get back to her car)
Mile 14 - 8:44
Mile 15 - 8:26
Mile 16 - 8:41
Mile 17 - 8:58 
Mile 18 - 8:54
Mile 19 - 9:28
Mile 20 - 9:15 (Kristen honked and waved while sitting in traffic and gave me a boost to finish strong)

Overall it was a GREAT run, and it was nice to be done by 8:00 so that I have the rest of my wide-open day to get stuff done and enjoy a birthday lunch with my mom (birthday girl) and sister.


  1. Good finish there! Hope the rest of your day went well. Those 13 miles felt fast to me, but I guess they weren't really. Hope I didn't slow you down!

  2. Katie, they felt fast to me too! I think anything does at 4:40 a.m. in the morning! ;) Thank you so much for joining me! That helped soooooo much!