Today was the last “peak” training distance of 20 miles. I won’t have to run that far again until Nov 17, thank God.
Last weekend, I was in Gettysburg, PA watching my daughter, Ellie, run with her xc team. This weekend, I was in Groton, MA, watching my other daughter, Lucy, run with hers. Both girls are inspiring to me as they push themselves. Yesterday, Lucy was not feeling tip-top health wise, but she managed to kill it on the course and shaved more than a minute off her best time. A big PR day for her! Here is Lucy taking out a hill and a post-race photo with me (photo credit, her grandfather, Grumpi):
OK, onto my 20 miler day, which was actually a 20.12 mile day. Definitely the longest distance I’ve run by .01 miles. (Last 20 miler day was 20.11. 🙂 )
Here is how the day started:
- 4:00 a.m. – my alarm goes off.
- 4:07 a.m. – my second alarm goes off (well planned, I’d say.)
- 4:20 a.m. – 1/2 cup coffee, banana w/ peanut butter
- 4:30 a.m. – feed the horses but don’t let out into the pasture because there is *definitely* a skunk skulking around -do not need skunky anything to deal with at 4:30 a.m.
- 4:31 a.m. – rush dogs back into house from front lawn morning business to get away from where the skunk might be lurking.
- 4:32 am. – all living things at Soule household safely behind closed doors and skunk -free-fresh.
And the day continued:
- 5:40 a.m. – arrive at Janet’s, see that she’s wearing shorts and t-shirt and I’m bundled for winter running (it was 41 degrees.) I brought other clothes in the car. Quickly changed to shorts and long sleeve tech shirt.
- 5:45 a.m. – we’re off! IN THE DARK.
- 6:30 a.m. – already past 1st water stop – still kinda dark, but enough daylight coming for us to see our feet. Phew.
- 7:00 a.m. – feet really, really hurt.
- 7:30 a.m. – we stop talking. We’re 2 hrs in, starting to separate a bit (Janet leads and tethers me), and we’re just moving along.
- 8:45 a.m. – I start to fall apart from the waist down – feet pain moving through ankles up to calves, knees ( this is new). We’re almost there, but we’re hurting.
- 8:46 a.m. – I think to myself, “no body left – body broken – only thing working to keep me moving is my pumping heart and my head forcing signals to my feet.“
- 8:50 a.m. – really worried – we’re moving at a slow pace, slower than I hope to run the marathon, and I’m breaking down but not quite to 20 miles – how will I add another hour of running on race day? Answer: “Head and Heart“.
- 9:23: – back in Janet’s driveway, 20.12 miles behind, NO walking. We were slow, but we finished. Heads and hearts in tact.
Then back to my house for recovery plan:
- 9:45 a.m. shovel out horse stalls and let horses out (no skunkiness to worry about now)
- 10:30 a.m – ice bath. I stay in for 12 minutes. This is the last ice bath until Nov 17. Yeehaw.
- 10:43 a.m. – hot shower that was environmentally careless because I was probably in there for about 30 minutes, but… I’m not really sorry about it even though I used up an extraordinary amount of resources to run hot water on my body for that long.
- 11:30 a.m. – warm, in cozy comfy clothes, and looking to take a quick nap on the couch. But Stella was already on the couch, looking how I felt, so I joined her:
GOOD NEWS – I did NOT have a side stitch today! I received a lot of advice since last week’s post, but unfortunately, I was stuck between “You’re drinking too much water” and “You’re not drinking enough water” from two equally fast, equally experienced runners. I went for the mid-way and drank about 2/3 of my normal amount. I switched from Gu Chomps to Power Gel thinking that I might do better with paste version of energy supplement rather than chewing something with gelatin that could bounce around in my tum. I also did not eat any ice cream last night (to avoid bad effects of fat, if there are any.) Not sure what mattered most, but I am so happy that there was no stitch.
Tapering starts now – that means that the distances just get shorter from here until the race day. Next weekend’s long run is 12 miles with manageable length mid-week runs.