After a month of missing long runs (due to some weird issues with my blood pressure and then being sick for almost an entire week), I did my first 20 miler on Saturday. My last long run was over Christmas break, I think a few days before Christmas when I was home in upstate NY (I did a hilly 18 miler in 2:14, which wasn’t bad considering the terrain).
I’ve been operating under what I like to call “flow training” for a the past few weeks instead of the steadfast adherence to hitting a particular time or weekly mileage. I woke up on Saturday with the idea to test myself by running a 20 miler, but I was less than optimistic about the outcome. First I had to find my watch, which I hadn’t worn since my 5k two weeks ago. My first few steps felt fluid and I got into a rhythm immediately.. glanced at my watch at 2.5 miles (17:56) then my mind wandered off. A short while later I was at the park, 8.5 miles into my run. I knew I was running pretty fast, but when I hit the first mile marker at the park in 6:50 I couldn’t quite believe it because I felt like I was running 7:30’s. The next two were 6:45’s. I had taken a few sips of strawberry lemonade Nuun from my handheld water bottle during the run, but I finally stopped for a Hammer gel (banana, yum) at 11.5 miles so I could throw it in the trash can at the park.
At this point, I realized I was having a good run and that I might actually be able to pick it up on the way back, which is exactly what I did. I didn’t really pay much attention to my splits after I left the park, but I do know that my last 2.5 miles were in 17:03. Total time was 2:21, for 7:05 average per mile.
I’m not quite sure what to make of this run. My marathon in October was a 3:05, which is a 7:04 average. Did I really just do a 20 miler at the same pace? Last fall I gave up on marathon pace workouts at 7:00 pace because they were too hard for me. A lot of that was due to anemia and the opressive weather conditions, but regardless I have come a long way. I’m encouraged by this run, but now I only have six weeks of accelerated training before my marathon on March 18th. Is six weeks enough time to prepare for 26.2 miles of racing? I’ll find out soon enough…
(I’ll have another blog on the way shortly… it’s about Nuun! It’s my new favorite (tasty) way to hydrate! )