It is extremely rare that I finish a 20 mile (okay 20.02 mile) run thinking – This is fun. I could totally keep going. 🙂
It’s five weeks to Goofy, so yesterday was a “practice run”. A dress rehearsal so to speak.
A chance to practice pacing and fueling. Because honestly? I’m not very good at either.
I have a natural tendency toward negative splits. Which serves me well in shorter races and half-marathons. But gets me in the marathon every single time.
I also am a “fuel conserver” who tries to run on the bare minimum. Taking in just enough to get through. And, I don’t hydrate enough. These are BAD habits.
So I thought about things. And I remembered that the best I’ve ever run long was my ultra. I remember being 30 miles in thinking “how am I still running”. And the keys to that day were fuel and pacing.
That day I started slow and stayed there. And I took in something every 3 miles.
So I made a game plan. Instead of the usual fueling every 4.5 to 5 miles, I was going to gel every 4. And I was going to drink with every gel (yeah I know I’m supposed to anyways. But I almost never do because I never carry water.) I was also going to start early. And not wait until mile 6 or 8 to start fueling.
Also, I was going to prevent myself from speeding up. Easier said than done, but I was up for the challenge.
So I geared up, and layered up and headed out into the frosty morning.
At mile 3 I noticed I was at a 10:30 pace. Perfect. I set the plan to not go faster than that. Slower would be fine. Heck, I would have been happy with 11min miles if it meant I’d finish strong. But I knew that faster than that would cost me later.
At mile 4 I took gel & water. And continued to cruise along the next few miles. Up and over the hills. Even the giant one at 6.5 didn’t bother me.
Just slow and steady.
And it stayed like that. I fueled at 8. And 12. And 16. I kept waiting for that “my stomach doesn’t want any more” feeling. And it never came.
I kept waiting for that “I’m tired and this hurts and I want a walk break” feeling. And it never came.
I hit mile 18 thinking wow. This is awesome. And 19 thinking “I so got this last mile”. And when I turned the corner to my street I yelled at myself to NOT kick. I was going to run this to the end as if I was going to keep going.
And, instead of watching my garmin, running hard, waiting for that final beep, I cruised along, face up to the sun, wishing that beep wouldn’t come.
Stats? 20.02 miles. 10:30 average pace. A few miles were 10:20. And a few were 10:40. But most were right in that sweet spot.
I never got the urge to walk. I never hit a wall. I totally nailed it. 🙂
Happy Monday my friends. And happy running!