Saturday, March 20, 2010

Accidental Marathon or compounded mistakes

With two sick kids I was worried that I'd be able to slip away for my long run. It's my last one in this training cycle and I'd planned for 24 miles. A window of opportunity opened up and I got dressed and went for it. I planned to be out for a little over 3 hours. As my runs get longer I have to start carrying more food and even though I have the awesome Race Ready shorts with 5 or 6 pockets in the back I'm almost out of space back there. I brought 5 gels, a packet of Power Bar Energy Bites, course directions, Nuun tablets, S-Caps, my iPod and money. That left me one pocket to put the empty gel packets in. If my training runs get any longer I'll have to just plan to eat at the stores I pass and hope they have energy bars or something.

I wanted to try out the Energy Bites as a potential food source for future races. They were tasty and didn't bother my stomach at all but they're really hard. They're almost the consistency of a frozen caramel only not so chewy when you finally work them in. My jaw was sore after eating the first 3! I guess I need to see about whipping up a batch of the Perpetuem / gel slurry mixture that worked so well for me when I was cycling. Today I tried to be smart about my food intake, eating something every 30 minutes regardless of hunger. I alternated gels and Energy Bites. I should have been taking in a few more calories every hour but it worked out to 200 - 210 cal/hr. That's probably the minimum I can get away with, so I'll have to rework my food for future long runs.

It was sunny and warm out today (low 60s). When I left on the run at 1pm it felt a little chilly. I got some advice as I was leaving in the form of "It's kind of cold out, are you really going to wear short sleeves?" I made the mistake of second guessing and then changing to a long sleeve tech shirt and heading out on my run. I felt good for the first few miles and then started to overheat. I followed the first 15 miles from my last long run which went fairly well. It was nice to see it during the day after running the first 12 miles before sunrise on my last long run.

My splits were in the 7:20 - 7:40 range with a few low 8's thrown in on the hilly miles. I was moving well and feeling good. By mile 15 the wheels started to come off the wagon and I had to stop and walk up one of the short hills. I was way too hot and trying to conserve the water (Nuun) that I was carrying in my two UD FastDraw bottles as I had been all day. I planned for two bottles to last me ~12 miles but with the temps in the low 60s that was not nearly enough. When it's cold out I have to remind myself to drink every mile. Today I was drinking every half mile and trying to limit myself. That's never a good idea during a run.

There are so few stores out in the sticks where we live that I have to plan my routes around them so I can stop every 10 - 12 miles to refill. The bottles get pretty warm by that point anyway so I'm more than ready for some new cold water.  Dehydration started to affect me about 13 miles in and by mile 15 when I took my first walk (to coincide with a 30 min feed time) I had to take my shirt off and expose my fish-belly to the passing motorists. I'll just say that it's hard to get a tan in the Pacific Northwest. I had a long way to go before I'd be anywhere near another store. I kept running and tried to ignore the increasing soreness in my psoas muscles and the top of my Quads.

Taking the shirt off cooled  me down a bit but I was still trying to make the bottles last another 9 miles. I was breathing hard and working much harder than I should have been at my slowing pace. I started walking up the steep hills and also when it was time to eat. I wasn't happy with this but still had every intention of finishing. When I got back up from the edge of the water in Cromwell and around to Warren dr and past Fox Island I started to realize that I just wasn't going to make it back home without at least 2 - 3 miles with dry bottles. I ran by the Arletta fire station to see if I could bum some water from them but it was completely empty. No cars in the lot, doors and blinds closed.  I knew that I'd pass within about a mile and a half of a small market in Rosedale but going there for water was an out and back, and would add 3 miles to my day. This was a better option than running out empty with a few miles to go.

I bit the bullet and turned off at Artondale dr and headed down Ray Nash dr to the store. I bought a big water and an ice cream sandwich. I didn't know how my stomach would handle it (easily) but it looked really good to me. When my body is depleted, sweets reach another level. I fondly recall eating a few donuts after bonking on the way home from work on my bike back in CA after a 60 mi R/T commute.

My pace at this point was slowing to the 9:30 - 10:00 range with increasing walking breaks. Two bottles of fresh cold water helped me get some focus back and reel the pace in a little bit but the damage was done to my legs and neck/shoulders, they were really sore. I headed back down the tunnel trail and onto the road toward home. I saw into my wife with the kids and dog out for a walk. I was almost an hour later than I'd estimated when I stopped to chat. They were glad that I was still moving and encouraged me to keep going while they headed the other way on their walk.

Just before getting home I hit the 26.2 mile mark for a 3:49 marathon. Not too bad for something so hilly on a dehydrated body. I plodded the rest of the way home and finished up with 26.5 miles on the day. That's about 3 more than the planned route. Maybe it'll better prepare me for the race. I realized when I got home that I hadn't peed at all the entire run. Bad sign and I'm glad that it's over. I hope I plan my race better than today's long run.

Dist: 26.5
Time: 3:52:12
Avg: 8:46/mi
Alt: Garmin: 8333 so 4000?

Now I have 3 weeks until the Mt Si 50K to taper and figure out my race day plan. Let's hope I learned something today.

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