After a 13-mile run a week ago this past Sunday, I took three days off until my next run Thursday. I did some strength training and physical therapy in between. By Wednesday, I was itching to go running but my schedule was too crazy and I didn't have anyone to help out with my youngest. With plenty of time in between runs, I had a lot of time to think about what I was going to run on Thursday. I decided to go for the big one. It was a perfect overcast day, no wind and mild temperature. I was also looking forward to trying out my new waterproof arm band for my iPhone. I cannot run without music and the last race I did in the rain was the end of that phone for good. My plan was to run either 18.7 miles or 21.7 miles. I ran a 13-mile loop back to my house where I had left some Gatorade for hydration. I made it back, drank half the Gatorade and took off again heading for either my 5.7 loop or 8.7 mile loop. When I eventually reached the “decision” point in the run, I decided to go for it. I made it to what I call my “Heartbreak Hill”, a 3/4 mile long gradual incline at about mile 20. I just wanted to make it to the top and I eventually did but it was a killer. I had to stop after 21 miles. My muscles just wouldn't go any further but I was super happy my accomplishment.
I ran the 21 miles in three hours, four minutes. This included a much needed hop in the woods to empty my bladder and my pit stop for hydration. The route included several small inclines and I ran my 3/4 mile hill twice. I was toying with running Heartbreak Hill before the Marathon but I've decided I'd much rather not know what exactly to expect; which I think will keep my anxiety about the whole thing at bay.
I managed to pull myself together in an hour after my big run for a physical therapy session. I am finding that the more conditioned I am and the better I eat and hydrate, the less time it takes for my body to recover. I was quite sore for about 24 hours after the run but by Saturday I was itching for another run. I ran a fast paced nine and called it a day.
My biggest issue now is to figure out how to get some nourishment during running to help me finish out the last miles. My leg muscles were giving out pretty good at the end of that long run but I only drank eight ounces of fluid during the whole time. I put an order for the energy beans (they seem to get better reviews re: stomach upset). My next task is to see if they work. I'll let you know next week.
I'm heading to Maine mid-week. Looks like I may be running in some chilly weather! Wishing and hoping the best to all the other runners who were having a tough time. I hope you are all recovering and got in some good running last week.