Tuesday, September 04, 2007

9/1 - 15-miler aka Steak, Please

I’m in Southern Washington, by the Gorge (that’s the Columbia River gorge) on vacation at a lovely cabin on a lake. I set out today to complete 20 miles, or as long as I could go. Technically, I shouldn’t be doing 20 mile long runs in 2 consecutive weeks, but since I have felt guilty about my previous training, I thought I’d give it a shot. Some things to consider before I lay out my stats:


The climate here is warmer than the Puget Sound. I have been lucky enough to have some great temps for running up in Seattle and forgot there was any alternative. For me hot is 80+ degrees in the sun – and today was just about that. I believe that this affected my pace on the negative side, but probably only marginally. Heck, it could turn out to be this hot in Chicago in October – I used to live there and this is known to happen.


I am not familiar with local places to run here and we decided that the road we came in on was sufficient to run on later – not too hilly, and pretty much a straight shot. I wasn’t going to get lost (yes, even with a GPS system strapped onto my person, I tend to get lost). I was on a well-paved 2 lane road that leads from the river north into the mountains, the Gifford Pinchot Forest to be specific. I did not consider how much I would be running on the gravel shoulder.

Food/Water Intake

Today I was smarter than last week. I ate before my run! To be precise I had this:

· Bowl of yogurt with cherrios
· Several sesame crackers
· Banana
· Some Jelly Belly’s

Like last week I had a coffee and plenty of water pre-game. If you tuned in last week I screwed myself, however, this week I had a crew! Josh took his bike out and went ahead of me, dropping frozen bottles of water and a baggie of Clif bar + sour Jelly Bellys at mile 5 (also 15) and mile 10. This was key. Because of the heat I really was jonsing for some water at about mile 5 and happy to have a cold bottle waiting for me. I stopped for a minute, grabbed it to go and was on my way again. Normally I hate running with water swishing around in my hand, but today it was fine & I really needed it. At mile 10 another cold baby was there and this time I indulged in the Clif bar. (Side note – although the pacific NW is quite physically active, the local grocer in the city of Stevenson does not carry more than the typical sport bars in stock. Must stock up on gu, shot blocks, etc. when I get home. I decided that Jelly Bellys were sufficient and personally satisfying hence my choice in bringing them as refreshments. SOUR Jelly Bellys.) I stopped for a couple of minutes to drink, eat and turn myself around. I honestly can’t imagine what I would have felt like had I not had water with me today.

The run itself – several of the above factors contributed positively and negatively toward my run today. The heat sucked. Places where I was not in the shade made me wilty. The gravel situation ruined my epidermis. I think the instability of the gravel causes one to grip tighter with their toes and leads to more rubbing than usual. One of my toes has the hugest pillow of a blister sitting underneath it. I could feel this one start before mile 5. I got another category 3 blister on my arch of the same foot. It could possibly be the socks – Nike, and not the really good ones. Last week the Wright Socks did me wright, but this week I should have used them again. Nike, you are on probation.

I turned around at mile 10 and was like, yeah…halfway there…how the hell am I going to do this?? Josh passed me at mile 12 and we stopped to re-assess. I told him I was feeling it in my knees and feet and was pretty spent. He was supportive and told me he’d bike back to the car and come pick me up. I ended up hitting mile 15 right before he drove up to me. I don’t think I could have run successfully any farther. This long mileage is new to me and since I haven’t done it much I’m not sure how to read my body. But I think sometimes there is no denying what your limits are – today I knew I didn’t need to prove anything going 20, and 15 was plenty. The blisters and pain in my knees and feet were at the point where I felt I could injure myself if I went on.

I iced my knees on the car ride back and soaked my feet in ice water when we got back. I also had beer, wine, potatoes, pasta salad, tuna, corn, watermelon and STEAK (really?) for dinner. I fell asleep on the couch at 9 then decided to come up for some private time for writing this. At press time, I am truly spent.

Mile 1 = 9:12
Mile 2 = 9:43
Mile 3 = 9:44
Mile 4 = 9:41 (miles 1-5 covered about 500 ft elevation, flat my ass)
Mile 5 = 10:09 (stop for water)
Mile 6 = 9:14
Mile 7 = 9:35
Mile 8 = 9:11
Mile 9 = 9:21
Mile 10 = 9:18
Mile 11 = 9:20
Mile 12 = 9:19
Mile 13 = 9:01
Mile 14 = 9:15
Mile 15 = 10:47 (a little stop for breath/stretch)

Total Miles = 15
Average Pace = 9:31

A couple more observations:

·I took Jen’s advice and started off slower, I didn’t realize that I’d need it to compensate for the heat; overall I think I did a better job of staying more consistent with my pace from mile to mile. There were really only a couple of miles that strayed from the 9:10-9:45 pace.
·I didn’t feel like I got into my groove until about mile 8 (there was a constant elevation until then that I didn’t realize until I downloaded my info just now from my Garmin)

You know it’s scary when running 15 miles doesn’t seem daunting.

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