I had set a goal this year to run a marathon distance or further every month of the year. Today was my attempt to run 26+ miles for January. It was really the only chance I would have considering I am busy next week with work and then scout camp on the weekend. So I went after it this morning.
I didn't prepare very well, I'll admit that right up front. I didn't eat before going out and didn't drink enough water the day before. At mile 2 I stopped at the store to purchase some goodies for the run and to eat a donut. Because I do a lot of adventure runs and ultras I have learned to eat while I run. I can also pretty much eat anything I want without it adversely affecting my condition (while I run). I won't go into the details of most of the run. If you want to read about the details you can go to my running workout blog where I track all of workouts at jun.fastrunningblog.com. What I will address on this blog is the end of the run and my reflection on how I did and my look to the future.
I fought energy issues the entire run and at mile 18 I was just out of steam. My cardio was still good and I felt like I had energy, but it wasn't transitioning down into my legs; they were just dead. I was also running out of the alotted time I had to spend this morning and knew I had to be home soon. Finally, I was closer to home than I had intended at this point in the run, so I was kind of having to improvise on my route. I really felt like I could push to at least 22 or 23 miles before having to call it quites, but I wasn't even sure my legs would let me. Because I love running uphill and I generally feel better doing it I headed up towards Mt Olympus through the neighborhoods in my town of Holladay. As I wound upward to a few streets above my house my calves started to cramp (not enough salt even though I had been taking pills) and my legs were just through. I figured it was time to turn west and head home. I was able to complete 21.87 miles in just under 3 1/2 hours.
There are some important take-aways from this run.
1. Even as a 'training run' I need to make sure I am better prepared.
2. I had some serious mental battles out there today and I overcame them all.
3. My biggest concern was whether my IT Band would get inflamed. I am happy to report that I ran for 3 1/2 hours without any knee pain, whatsoever.
4. This was a really hilly route. I probably gained and lost over 2,000 vertical feet in the nearly 22 miles. If this were a normal Utah downhill marathon I would have completed it, no problem.
5. Even though I didn't complete 26+ miles I did make some major progress. I haven't run over 13 miles in a single outing since my 50 miler in October. My legs are a little out of shape. Knowing I wouldn't hit my goal today I simply pushed as far as I could, to the point where I simply couldn't run any more. This will make my legs stronger and next time I'll be able to push even farther.
Overall I am very pleased with how it went today. It was definitely one of the toughest outings I've had in a my running career and I learned a lot today. Next month will be even better!