Finally, I received my corral and wave start information. I’m not too thrilled about being in the Orange Wave because I have heard that it is a little steeper coming off the bridge, and it has multiple turns. In a way, I wish I did not know this information because then it wouldn’t even matter. But, I am glad to be on the top level of the bridge. My start time is 10:15. I can go to the Blue Wave which apparently is more straight coming off the bridge, but the only way I can do that is to move to the 10:40 or 11:00 start times and I don’t want to do that. So, Orange it is!
This past week-end was the last long run. 20 miles! Being that the last couple of long runs didn’t go so well, I wanted to make sure I was really ready for this one. During the week, I tried to stay well hydrated and eat really healthy. And get those carbs in. And I felt okay, not great, but okay the morning of the long run.
My fueling strategy was to take Cliff Blok energy chews and orange gatorade (has nothing to do with the orange start wave he he – neither does my orange running pants). I have to cut them in half and take them more frequently instead of taking a full one each time. They upset my stomach a little. I have tried the Gu but I just can’t handle the texture.
And for motivation, I decided to watch some good old running movies the night before. Nothing like relaxing on the couch and watching movies – I don’t really get to do that too often.
When I got up the next day for the big 20 miler, I was feeling a little tired. Plus, I had eaten so many carbs and protein over the last couple of days that I wasn’t even hungry. I forced myself to eat anyway.
The first 12 miles went pretty easy. I was running at about a 9:30ish pace and felt pretty good. It was really cold out, but it was a beautiful sunny day.
At around 12 miles, the Virtual Training Program that I have been following, called for a 3 mile tempo run at about a 9 minute pace. I was able to up the pace, but I am not very good at judging it based how I feel during the run. What I realized later was that I was running more of an 8:50ish pace. I didn’t think that was a big deal for only three miles. But, apparently it was. According to the virtual trainer coach, that 10-15 seconds can have quite the impact on the rest of the run.
“… if you’re pushing your threshold, the lactic acid can start building up and you’ll have a harder time turning over your legs following that harder effort.”
That pretty much sums up what happened during those last 5 miles along with some fueling problems (more on that below).
As I mentioned, I planned on taking the energy Bloks and gatorade. I started taking 1/2 Blok at about mile 4 with water and then every 2 miles up until the tempo run. I was also taking sips of gatorade in between. I thought that was plenty of fuel and I should be good to go.
But, after the tempo run, I completely bonked! I just couldn’t really get moving. My pace really dropped off to slower than 10min/mile. I was also going into a head wind, but I think the problem was more of running out of fuel than it was the wind. And of course, as explained above by the virtual trainer coaches, pushing the threshold didn’t help. The coaches also gave me some good input on what may have gone wrong with my fueling strategy:
“… wait until the hour or 75 minute mark to take your first gels/blocks, as for that first hour-75 minutes, your body is already running off its fuel stores. If you’re taking the blocks at mile 4, then you’re only around the 38 minute mark. If you wait a little bit, until your body finishes using the fuel stores it already has, you could prolong the effects of the caffeine and prevent a crash.”
I don’t have time at this point in the training to test out this fueling strategy as presented by the coaches being that it is taper time, but I am going to go with the expert advice and hope that works out for me. Keeping my fingers crossed.
On a positive note, at least I finished the 20 mile run. And even more important, my legs felt good most of the way. They didn’t ache at all like they had on the 17 mile run. So, I am happy about that. I will just continue the taper and get my trip plans organized. It is hard to believe that I only have about 18 days left before the New York City Marathon. So exciting….