Yesterday I ran 20 miles. Or, four 5 mile runs, which is how I broke it up mentally to get myself motivated. It was a chilly morning! The temperature was 32 with a windchill of 23. Brrr! I had hoped that I had stored away my smart wool socks for the season, but no such luck. I broke them out along with my hat and gloves for the run.
As I mentioned last week, I am experimenting with my fueling on my long runs in preparation for the Deadwood Mickelson Trail Marathon in June. I woke up at 3:30 yesterday morning to eat a bowl of oatmeal and then went back to bed until 5, when I got up to get my body moving, stretch, and pile on the layers for the run. I met Andrea C., Marzia, Andrea J., and Brian at the Great Western Trailhead at 6:30. On the way to meet them, I took down my first Honey Stinger Gold gel, 15 minute before start time. Starting out, I felt great! We were all chatting and the wind wasn’t as bad as I had anticipated it to be. That seems to be a theme for me ;). I anticipate the worst and am pleasantly surprised when conditions are by far better :). We headed 6 miles down the trail and then turned around and headed back to our starting spot to refill water bottles. I took in a gel every 35-40 minutes, rather than at specific mile markers. I felt good. I was having fun on the run, which is what I want to feel like, I want to enjoy it, rather than labor through it. We headed out towards Greys Lake after our refill. I was still feeling good and we were more than halfway through the run! We were running into the wind at this point and had somewhat separated into two groups at this point. I was not out there to kill and didn’t see the point in pushing it too hard. That’s what my speed workouts for, not my long run! By this time, the sun was out and it was glorious!
As we turned back towards Water Works Park, we lost Marzia and Andrea J. as they took a separate path back. I ran with Brian and Dre for a bit longer, until Brian picked up the pace and took off, as is his M.O. 😉 Pretty soon, the wind was battering against us and I slipped behind Dre too. I used the time to myself to focus on my run. I was feeling good. I wasn’t feeling labored. My legs were still pumping. I had energy. Taking in the gels every 40 minutes seemed to be working for. On top of that, it was a gorgeous morning. I was feeling the run and it was all coming together for me, despite the fact that I was lagging behind my friends. As I approached mile 19, I decided to get my act together. My mantra during training this time around has been “I can do anything for 1 mile.” So, I picked up the pace for the last mile, at one point hitting 7:33 as my pace on my garmin, although, I didn’t hold it there for the entire mile, I was happy to see that number :).
I felt good post race, although very stiff! I had been lucky enough to schedule a rather last-minute appointment with a massage therapist Saturday afternoon and let her work out the knots that I’ve found during foam rolling and that would not work out on their own. I wouldn’t say it was a particularly relaxing massage, but it was definitely what I was looking for and I was sure to make another appointment post-marathon.
As for the fueling experiment. I’m still on the fence on my strategy to take gels every 30-40 minutes. I never hit a wall. I remained energized throughout the run. I had a strong finish. All of that is what I was looking for. Although, I felt absolutely disgusting post run. My belly was bloated. It hurt. I think the carbs, which should boost energy during the run, just plain old upset my tummy and it was a rather unpleasant afternoon. I finally felt normal when I woke up this morning. That, is not good. Blerg. What are your fueling strategies? Do you have any alternatives to gels or gummies that are high in sugar/carbs that could save my tummy during these runs and keep me energized?