I feel like I’ve finally gotten back into “training” mode. Yesterday, my long run racked up 18 miles. I was not necessarily looking forward to it all week. In fact, I tried to just push it out of my mind for the most part. Until Thursday. I found myself complaining about the miles looming ahead. I realized in that moment, that this run was up to me. I could make it or break it. It was completely in my attitude. At that point, I decided to start using “positive self talk” to pump me up and motivate me to run it was grace and endurance.
I woke up at 4:00am on Saturday to eat my pre-run breakfast. I am experimenting with my nutrition, hoping more fuel will keep me sustained during long runs. Instead of 2 rice cakes with almond butter, I made myself a bowl of oatmeal with a little bit of honey and cinnamon. After getting that in my belly, I reset the alarm and slept for another hour and half. When I finally got up and got ready to go, I was ready to run. Mentally. I had gotten myself there. I gulped down a honey stinger gold gel 30 minutes before “go” time, another experiment with fueling.
I met Dre, Marzia, and Andrea at a trailhead and we started out down the path. I felt good. It was in the mid-50’s. My legs, which had been tired and heavy all week, were finally springy and fresh. We chatted about nothing in particular, the time felt like it was flying by. The run felt effortless, easy, and fun. Just what it should it be. I had planned to take gels at miles 5, 10, and 15. Instead, I ended up taking the first one at mile 6. We planned another gel stop at mile 12. At mile 11, I was starving. I knew I had waited too long to take in some fuel. Feeling hungry on the run is not good. I stopped a little before mile 12 to take my 2nd gel. I felt sluggish starting back out on the path as we made our way back to the starting point. Once the gel kicked in, I felt better, but I lagged behind Andrea and Marzia, with Dre keeping me company. Mile 17 was the hardest. I was hungry again. Only 1 more mile to go. I knew it would be silly to take a gel now, but I felt like it would give me energy I needed to get to the finish. So, I took my 3rd one and carried on. About a half mile later, it kicked in and I finished the run, in step with my friends, feeling strong.
This run was a good run for me- not only did I feel strong and enjoy the company of friends throughout the nearly 3 hours on the trail. I learned more about how to keep my body fueled. The pre-run breakfast worked good. I did not feel full or sluggish at the start of the run. Instead of taking a gel 30 minutes before starting, I will take one 15 minutes before. Instead of basing my mid-run nutrition on miles completed, I will take a gel every 30 minutes and if needed, every 20 minutes past the halfway point. Next weekend 20 miles are on tap and will give me the perfect opportunity to incorporate these new ideas to find the perfect method to keep me fueled during the marathon.
Now that I have 2 great long runs completed, back to back, I say bring on the 20 miles next week! I’m ready!