Sunday, I woke up at 4:30 (Yes, that's a.m.) so that I could drive to Franklin and do the Striders supported 21 mile Kroger to Kroger run. Frankly, I was a little nervous. This was an all or nothing type of deal... the other 20 miler I ran, was close to my house, so at any point during the run, I could have just ran home (and only been 3-4 miles max away), but this was different. I was starting in Franklin at 6:00am and ending up in Belle Meade. So, much like a marathon, once I started... I had to finish. I was also a bit nervous, because I've only ever completely one 20 mile run in a training period. And this would be my second in 3 weeks. I knew it was going to be good for me, but still... I was nervous that I might not be fully recovered from the 20 miler a couple weeks ago.
Franklin was about a 25-30 minute drive at that time of morning and as I got close to the interstate exit, I started feeling like I needed to use the bathroom. I considered stopping at a gas station along the way to the Kroger, but I decided... nahhh.. it's nothing... it's just nerves.
By the time I got to Kroger, there was about 15 minutes before the run was to start and all I could see was hordes and hordes of people going into Kroger.... to use the bathroom, I was sure. So, instead of fighting the crowds, I prayed that it was just nerves and waited.
There were sooooo many people at this training run. It's amazing to see that many people training together for a marathon. It's almost MORE fun than running a marathon, just because no one is uptight and anxious... we're all loose and chatty.
So, since this run starts in one town and finishes in another... you have to figure out your transportation. I asked my friend Steph if she would pick me up at the finish... she (being the wonderfully supportive friend that she is) agreed and we decided we'd even eat breakfast before dropping me back off at my car. I told her I'd be there at 9:30. Which... was a mistake... But, I didn't realize it at the time... that's the time that it should take me running marathon pace. But, I'm of course not supposed to be running marathon pace, yet.
Anyway, remember that feeling of having to use the bathroom? Yeah, it never left... it was a minor feeling, but enough that I felt it and it made me nervous the entire run.
The first lesson learned is... that I was so concerned with my pace in this run. I wanted to make sure that I didn't make Steph wait too long on me (even though I brought my cell phone along in case something happened that would make me way late). And I checked my pace every mile. And I was running too fast, but at the time, I was thinking that I was running right on schedule... around 9:30/mile miles. This course was hilly. Like... super hilly and that should have slowed me down a lot, but... it didn't. I ran this run wayyyy too fast for a training run and I can tell in my runs so far this week. My legs are crazy fatigued.
The second thing I learned during this run... is I figured out why I have stomach issues during marathons. It's because when I stop at a water station... I drink too much water/gatorade, etc. Which is why I've been okay during these past two training runs, because I wear my hydration belt... I don't stop at the water stations... when I'm thirsty, I just pull a bottle and take a sip. Not a huge gulp all at once like I do at water stations. How easy is that? I can't believe it took me this long to figure that out.
The run overall was good, but tough. It was definitely tougher than the other 20 miler I ran. It seemed to go a little slower, too, even though I was running fast. I know that checking my pace constantly during the marathon is definitely something I need to do. I'm not one of those runners that can tell how fast I'm running as I'm running. There were a few times on Sunday where I noticed I was running a little slower than I'd like at a particularly point and so I'd speed up to get back on track. I normally never do that during the race.
Around mile 17 my right quad started to twinge. At this point, I was allowing myself to run around 10:15-10:25/mile. I'd never had any sort of quad pain before, but it was tight and begging to cramp... I knew it was from all the hills, I started drinking more of my gatorade, hoping that I just needed some salt.
Mile 18, I stopped noticing my quad twinging... because my right calf started cramping up. It's like... I would get a little sloppy in my gait and immediately my calf would try to cramp and I'd have to straighten my gait up again. It did this the rest of the way, but luckily it never continually cramped.
I got into the Kroger Parking Lot in Belle Meade at 9:25. Steph was there waiting for me and by the time I finished I felt good... but, I dont know.. it would have been tough for me to run another 5.2 miles. (I'm hoping it's just cause the hills wiped me out).
That was my last 20 mile run for this training period and you have no idea how good it feels to have 2 under my belt this time. I KNOW that I'll be ready for Eugene, now. This weekend, I'm going to try to get a nice, long, slow 14-16 mile run in and that will be it for the really long mileage runs before the big day.
I'm within a month now and I'm ready. I just need to finish up my training with good weekly mileage and take care of my body.