Monday, May 25, 2009

Sweet Sixteen

Yesterday's run was monumental in building my confidence for the marathon.

Not that I can really imagine running 10 more miles than what I did-- but I can imagine running 2 more, or even 4 more. And they say that if you can run 20, you'll finish the marathon.

I was pretty nervous starting out, and it took me the first few miles to relax and get into the groove. Then just as I was getting into it, we hit The Hill. We were running the last 16 miles of the marathon course, and the one big hill in the course comes around mile 12-13, so we got to experience it yesterday.

Maybe I'm crazy, but I liked it. It's a great hill-- not too steep, not too long. It'll go up for a few minutes, then a little plateau to catch your breath, then on up again. It's gorgeous scenery, winding up above the Clark Fork River. I felt really strong running it, and hope to remember that good feeling on race day when I meet The Hill again.

Other than that, the run was pretty uneventful. Patricia and I ran together for all but the last half mile or so. We had great conversation and story telling for the first 10 miles or so, and then started tapering off our talking as we got more tired. But it was still nice to have a buddy to hang with. She's a riot, and a total trooper. We're probably the slowest people training for the full marathon (we got passed by most all of the folks who ran 20 miles yesterday), but that's okay with us. We're not in it to win it!

I'm still experimenting with nutrition, and don't think I've got it down yet. I decided yesterday to go with just PowerGels, plain water, and Endurolyte tablets. Seems like if I mix any electrolyte drinks (Gatorade, Heed, etc) with gels, my stomach has a tendency to revolt. So I'm thinking that gels will be my source of calories, and the tabs can help with electrolytes. But, I have to find a better solution for carrying my pills-- the back pocket of my running shorts on a muggy day isn't the answer-- they dissolved in my pants!

My stomach wasn't psyched about the run. After just 4 miles or so I was feeling sloshy, and I really hadn't drank much water at all. But I often get this yucky feeling in my belly, and it makes me worry that it'll turn into a horrible cramp-- sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't. Luckily yesterday it didn't. But I didn't take in much for the run. In all I think I had:
- less than 2 full PowerGels (100 calories each)-- about 3/4 of one at the first aid station (mile 4), then another 1/2 of one after the second aid station (mile 8-ish), and another 1/4-1/2 of one in the mile or so after the last aid station (mile 12-13)
- one Endurolyte tab
- maybe 20 ounces of water (max)

When I look at that I wonder how in the heck I finished. But I did. And I never really felt like I was "bonking" or running out of energy. I did get a side cramp at the very end, though, and a bit of a headache after we were done, which could've been due to lack of electrolytes. My face and skin definitely felt very salty, so I know I was losing some. But I wasn't hungry at all for many hours after the run-- I forced myself to eat a part of a bagel and some watermelon when we got back, but that's all I had for several hours afterward.

It's odd for me to not have any appetite! I guess when I run I just turn into a camel! This week on my 8-mile mid-week run I think I'll try some solid fuel-- ClifBlox or something like that. See if those work for me better than the liquids. Who knows. Running is such a personal thing, and there's no set formula for what will work-- just have to figure it out for yourself.

One thing that did work, though: after cooling down and stretching and driving back to the starting point to get my car, Patricia and I soaked our legs in the cold river. Ice baths are supposedly a great tool for recovery. They hurt like heck, but I for one believe in them. When we got out of the car, we were both walking around like a couple of old ladies-- stiff, stiff, stiff. But after just 5 minutes or so of plunking ourselves in the river waist-deep, the stiffness wasn't quite so bad. And today I feel great-- I'm not really sore or stiff anywhere, which I think is incredible!

Okay, enough writing-- time to go out for a short easy bike ride in the beautiful morning sun. One step closer...

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