April 11, 2010

Twenty Great Miles!

Yesterday was my second 20 mile run, and last loooong run before the marathon!  Only 3 weeks away and I'm finally starting to get excited :-)

If you remember my first 20 mile run, it didn't go the greatest.  I took a lot of breaks, and although the running only took me about 3.5 hours, I was out on the "course" for almost 5 hours.  This time around went SO much better for various reasons.

First off, I ran the first 10 miles with a group of people.  Earlier this week, Dylan pointed me to a meet-up group called "OC Runners" who were planning to run 10 miles around the Back Bay Saturday morning.  Perfect!  I showed up Saturday morning and was welcomed by a group of about 10 friendly runners who were happy to hear I was there to run with them.

Most of the runners were a bit faster than me since I was going to be doing the 10 mile loop twice, so I stayed back a bit.  I started the run around 9:30 min/mile pace and realized I needed to force myself to slow down so I could make it the whole 20 miles without a ridiculous amount of stops again.  Remember, goal for this 20 was consistency, not speed.  There were two girls in the group running behind me at about 10:30 pace so after a few miles I dropped back and joined them.  They were a ton of fun to talk to (one lady just moved here from MN in July, too!) and the pace we were running felt very easy and comfortable.  Before I knew it, we were already back to the start!  My legs felt amazing at this point, and I couldn't wait to go back out for another loop.  I talked with the group a bit, ate a honey and peanut butter uncrustable, and headed right back out!

This leads me to reason number two this run went well.  I forced myself to run slower than my usual pace.  Unless I'm doing crazy trail runs, my natural, comfortable pace is around 9:15-30 min/mile.  When I go out for really long runs, I always tend to stick to this pace and forget I'm running way further than my usual 5-8 mile weekday runs.  Once I started running with the two girls, my pace slowed to around 10:30 and I maintained a 10:15-11:00 min pace for the remainder of the run.  I felt amazing until about mile 15 when my legs started to get fatigued, and the pain started kicking in about 3 miles later.  BUT, by going slower, I only made a total of 4 stops - none of which were because I felt like I couldn't run anymore.  Hooray!

Next, the trail runs I've been torturing myself with have made the "hills" on the road feel easy.  With the ridiculous hills I've been running on lately for all of these trail races I decided to do for some reason, the little hills I encountered on this route felt like nothing!  I hope to keep doing at least one trail run a week for this reason...and I have a goal to be able to do a whole run in El Moro without walking, but that may take a while.

Lastly, the weather was perfect!  When I did my last 20 miler, I didn't start until about 11 am, and it ended up being a very hot and sunny day with temps in the 80s.  Yesterday was overcast and cool.  The entire run I only drank one water bottle full, compared to 3-4 refills last time.  I think this definitely made a huge difference and I really hope the weather stays cool for the marathon!

I finished the 20.08 miles yesterday in 3:32:59 and only made about 20-30 minutes worth of stops.  I was so happy and felt great afterwards.  I know the last 6.2 miles of the marathon will be painful, and I will undoubtedly be slow, but after this run I'm finally confident that I can finish - it's a great feeling :-)

T-minus 3 weeks until the marathon; it's officially TAPER TIME!  I hope I don't go crazy!

Garmin Connect info: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/29697563

1 comment:

  1. Great job Andrea! These 20 milers are great from a confidence standpoint and I know you'll go into OC fit and rarin' to go. Kick some butt out there. And take names.