Time for another 20. Time to see if I could do better than the 9:25 pace I struggled through 3 weeks ago. It was going to be rainy for the first part of my run (100% change), and it was 50% chance for the remaining two hours. It was also going to be 54 degrees.
I woke up after sleeping in for the first time in a long time. I got 10.5 hours, waking up at 10:30am, and I had about 2.5 hours until it would be time for me to get out the door to get in the run while it was still light outside. It was raining as I was fueling up with quesadillas (whole grain tortillas spread with salsa and broiled with fat free cheddar - delicious!!!) and peanuts, and I was a bit dreading getting too wet, potentially over the course of 20 miles. I used to love working out in the rain in college during runs or frisbee practices. It was epic. The last time I remember running through significant rain was not long after I first moved here, 2.5 years ago, though. I was intent on doing the run today, though, so that I could have ample time to recover on Sunday and for a week before a 16er next weekend.
My first-generation iPod Shuffle stopped working one time after a sweaty summer run. I recently brought it out and stuck it in the freezer in hopes of reviving it. Sounds stupid, but I read on the internet that it worked for someone. It did start working again. Part of it could've been me pushing the green on-sticker back into its place. Dunno. It stopped again after a couple of nights, but it could've been the battery. Anyway, I wanted to protect my Shuffle, so I wrapped it up in a sandwich bag.
I packed my drawstring bag with during-run fuel (Gatorade, mini-Clif bar, and a Honey Stinger Waffle that I've never tried before). For post-run refueling, I packed almonds, an orange, a banana, carrot sticks, water, and protein powder+cocoa+instant decaf. I didn't end up eating all of that, but I'll get to that later.
I laced up my shoes, brought a pair of flip-flops so that could change out of my wet gear after the run, and headed out the door.
Driving out to Falls Park, it was raining quite a bit. I worried that I wouldn't be able to finish the run due to a mix of the long distance in this weather plus my last struggle with the 20. It did get a little better right before I got there.
One very good thing about the clouds that I was thankul for - I didn't have to worry about doing the run either at the start or the end of daylight, to minimize the risks of mixing sun + my acne meds. I decided to go with a singlet because it felt a little chilly, and the clothing might offer a barrier of warmth from the rain. It was 51-54 degrees during the run.
I started off, carrying the Gatorade, which I would stash on the loop that I'd pass by about 12 times, not that I'd stop every time. I had tried to go without water during my last 20 and ended up gulping down 3/4 L after 16, so I wasn't going to try that again. The rain wasn't that bad, especially with the visor. It felt like you could dodge (or at least not feel) most of the raindrops. Only a few on my arms here and there. There was moderate rain, but I didn't feel most of them.
I ate a 100-cal Clif bar after 4 miles. It stopped raining after about 6 miles. I guess the run went faster than normal, at least for the first miles, which have felt like they've dragged on for all of the LRs during this build-up. I didn't start particularly conservatively. I just went. Now that I figured out how to turn on my mile-split beeper on the Garmin, I decided that I'd take mile splits instead of landmark splits, since that actually tells me something. The splits were kind of all over the place. I don't know if it's the course's variation (surface... I stick to grass when I can, go on the spongy trail as a back-up when it's available, and do asphalt when I must, and a bit of small but sometimes steep hills... not many, though), or if it's the Garmin. I know that at one point, it measured a mile very short, based on the split and based on the fact that the distance counter went from 9-9.1-9.2 within a matter of like 20 seconds. I decided that I'd have to tack on a bit of extra distance at the end despite what the Garmin would say, to make sure I got the full 20.
I took Gatorade swallows about 4-5x. After the third time, I really wish that I had water instead. I usually don't have much sugar, especially in pure form. I get some from my 72% Trader Joe's dark chocolate and my occassional vegan cookies, but otherwise, no obvious forms of sugar. All the sugar from the Gatorade and the Clif bar and a couple chunks of the Stinger waffle made me feel a bit bleh. That's only like 250 Cal of sugar, but it's too much for me. At one point, I would've liked something salty or savory instead.
Run, run, run. It was a good feeling to only have 7.5 miles left. The second half of the run goes quickly. It always gets me pumped up a little to see other runners out on the course, doing their training, too. There was a mom and a little girl who must've been like 6, running just after the rain stopped, and it was awesome.
The last 3 miles, I might've slowed, although it's hard to tell. My Garmin stopped measuring distance at 17.8 miles. It had lost signal... maybe the clouds or something, although it had been working just fine for the first part of the run. Anyway, the last mile was paritcularly hard, but by then, you have the promise of the finish line to keep you going.
After the run, with the sugar OD, I only wanted carrots. I changed out of my wet gear.
I add these pictures for two main reasons. 1) Blogs are a lot more interesting when there are pictures. You guys put up with words a lot. 2) I want to be able to remember in the future what it was like to be living the dream. Both the journey and the destination (Boston) make running awesome. Pictures help to capture the feeling.
Wet, dirty gear.
Once home, I had vegetarian meat crumbles+onions+green peppers with salsa, half a quesadilla, chai tea, a pickle, soy crisps, a bit of cheddar, 1/2 cup of pickle juice, goldfish, the orange that I didn't eat earlier, peanuts, and blackberries... over the course of like 4 hours. Food tastes soooooo good after a run. I had a delightfully hot shower somewhere in there. The wet clothes made me cold after the run.
I read a good chunk of "Running with the Hansons" by Sage Canaday, which is about life as a pro runner in that elite running group. It's been a very enjoyable read. It's like the post-collegiate version of Running with the Buffaloes, and there's something interesting on every page. I was going to try to sleep early, but my mind won't let me, so I'm blogging instead.
Since my Garmin had stopped working during the run, I used mapmyrun.com to see how much I actually ran... 20.7 in 3:03:14, 8:51 ave. Over 0:30/mi faster than last time, with about the same effort - good. I was thinking, it may be good that I took it easy for the first month of the buildup and didn't really try to push. I don't want to peak too early. It was an encouraging run, and maybe starting to push the effort a bit now with 2 months to go will allow me to peak at the right time.