All week long I was thinking about it. 23 miles. Longest run to date was 20 miles in a beginning of a hurricane and it sucked. How would I do for 23? How would my stomach hold up?
How would I run for 4 hours? 4 hours. Think about it. I did a lot. 4 hours is half of a workday for some people, it is a long ass time. I had a hard time wrapping my head around the idea of it. I have a hard time justifying taking that much time for myself on the only day off I had all week from work. But I had to work through it all before this morning.
I know what my goal is to run the Philadelphia Marathon in under 4 hours. To make this goal a reality I must train. And part of that training is doing these long runs. The toughest part of a long run is keeping it up. To me races are easy, it is like show time when it is race day. You have spectators cheering, people running along side you, cameras flashing, and fuel stations set up. It is easy all you have to do is show up and run and have fun.
The training to get there is what will mess with your head. Heading out this morning in the cold dawn at 6AM on my only day off was not the easiest thing in the world but I knew in my heart I wanted to do it. I want that glory of a strong finish. So I got geared up and away I went.
Fuel today was great and hydration was nailed! Thanks to my friend Dan and his advice I hydrated more and I had no stomach distress! I also stayed away from nuts for the past 2 weeks and that has really helped. This morning I had 2 hard boiled eggs. Then right before I headed out I had 3 cliff shot blocks and nuun. I filled my fuel belt with nuun as well.
The first hour went by great. I was sipping from my bottle a little bit at a time and my only issue was it was freezing. My hands get like ice when it is too cold and they were pretty numb from cold the entire hour. I guess I will have to break out my gloves soon. This has been an issue since losing my weight, my body temperature has yet to get used to the cold. But I felt great an hour in I chewed 3 more shot blocks and kept going.
When I hit 2 hours and 12 miles I stopped at my sisters house. She conviently lives 11 miles away from me :) So I stashed shot blocks and nuun at her house yesterday and she gave me her key so I could sneak in without waking them up. I had 3 more shot blocks and a banana. I was starving but once I had that I felt great.
The next hour got a bit tough. There are so many hills in the town she lives in that my legs were tired. It is the mental part that comes into play for me during these times. For me I just have to keep closing my eyes and picturing crossing that finish line. When I hit my wall today at mile 14 I had to flip to Nelly's "Heart of a Champion" and just get myself pumped to finish. It renewed my spirit!
At hour 3 I popped the last 3 shot blocks and kept going. By now I knew I was only 5 miles away from home. And the worst hills were behind me. I began to pick up my pace because I felt really good. It also started to get warmer out. But my pace was about 9 minutes a mile and this was at mile 19! I was amazed at myself and my ability to kick it into high gear after being out for so long.
But then mile 21 hit and something happened. My fingers started to tingle. I have never had that problem exercising before. I shook it out and kept going. Then the arms started to tingle and my breathing got heavy. I was a mile from my house and felt like I was going to pass out. I began to panic a little. I began to think about stopping but I figured I was so close to home that it would be ok.
I just pounded out the last mile and my arms and legs were tingling and I felt I was going to pass out at a moment. It was an odd eerie feeling and I must say I did not enjoy it at all. I finally made it to my house and walked for about 4 minutes to cool down until I could not take it and charged into my house.
I collapsed right on the floor in the living room and the room was spinning. T was like wow you actually made it! I was like I cannot move please bring me a drink! I got some powerade and a banana and began to feel the tingling going away. I knew I would be ok, it was just a scary moment.
After a few minutes on the floor I was able to get up and walk it out and stretched out for about 10 minutes. By then I was ok and got to my recovery routine of making my protein shake and cooling down.
I did it!!!! In 3 hours and 49 minutes I dueled the beastly 23 mile run and won!!! :) I may need to up my fuel along the way so I do not pass out ;) But that is the beauty of these training runs!! It is the dress rehearsal for the big day. SO now I have my stomach down I can work on the fuel and staying fresh for the big 26!
What do you do during long runs to stay motivated and finish strong? I would love to hear some tips :)