Well I did it. I managed to get through all 16 miles today! Woo hoo! I was a little nervous going into this run because I had been experiencing some ankle/Achilles problems about 3 or 4 miles into my runs lately. I decided to buy an elastic ankle support for my left ankle and give it a go for the run and see if it would delay the onset of the pain. The strategy worked brilliantly and I only had minor problems along the way if I stepped awkwardly or was fighting uphill against the wind. Other than that, it was a pretty successful day on the course.
My route today was a little haphazard. I decided to play it safe and only run 2 or 3 miles in one direction and then head back towards the car and go 2 or 3 miles in the other direction. I did this as a safety net of sorts. If I had any problems along the way, I wanted to be able to easily walk back to the car and not be stranded. This also allowed me to refill my fuel belt with liquids since it was a little warmer compared to the past few weekends. I did get a little bored with the scenery, but this did give me an added level of comfort and I felt I could push through any minor pains without much concern.
As far as the run goes, I was actually pretty pleased with my fitness level and the way I felt after it was over. I was definitely tired and my legs felt like lead, but I wasn't dead tired and my heart rate recovered nicely. The pace of my long runs seems to be going well too. I have opted to do my long runs around a 9:30 pace based on my half marathon times and the McMillan running calculator. I have manged to get this pacing thing down pretty well with the aid of the Garmin and am confident I can keep myself at the right pace to hit my goal. I won't tell you my goal just yet, but I do have a range of times in my head. Obviously this will all depend on my health and the weather, but it's nice to have a general idea of where I want to be on the clock when I hit 26.2.
The long runs are also giving me the opportunity to test out my fueling ideas for the marathon. I have found a couple of Clif Shots I can stomach. Strawberry tastes like a strawberry Pop-Tart and the Mocha is like a chocolate explosion in your mouth. I think these will be my go-to flavors on the course. Timing-wise, I am basically taking a shot about every 3-4 miles based on how I feel. I think this is a pretty safe regimen based on the package instructions and everything I have read along the way. My pre-run meal has been a whole wheat waffle with peanut butter and jelly. I may have to substitute an English muffin for the road, but it sits well on my stomach and I don't want to risk any embarrassing moments out in public. I am pleased with my routine, now if I can just figure out my clothing. I think I am going to order some tights just in case. I am not a fan of tights by themselves, but I will wear some shorts over them if it's cold enough to utilize them on my long runs or race day. I just hope I can wear my orange on race day! Go Pokes!
I have a stepback week ahead which comes at a very welcome time. I think I will probably do some treadmill running on Tuesday and Thursday, while doing my mid-week run out at the lake. This weekend is the showdown in Stillwater and I am sure I will have to trudge through 12 miles next Sunday on less than adequate sleep. Total estimated mileage : 29 miles
I topped the 30-mile mark for the first time this week and have effectively broken both of my previous records of weekly mileage and individual run mileage. 32 miles total this week with a 16 mile run today to cap it off! I am exhausted. Good night everyone!
Sunday, October 25th - 16.01 miles in 2:31:40 (9:28 pace)