I wrapped up the bulk of my marathon training on Monday with my 20-miler. I was nervous going into it, but tried to plan accordingly and just listen to my body as I went. I have to say it worked out well!
It seems the winter weather has finally left and we’ve had a couple nice springlike days the past two weeks. Saturday-Monday were a few of those days, sunny with highs in the 60s. Due to traveling for the Easter holiday, I postponed my 20-miler to Monday.
I didn’t sleep well Sunday night. My kitten was very excited I was home, and after probably sleeping for most of the time I was away he was ready to play all night long. I didn’t have much food in the house, but settled on some Van’s Whole Grain waffles with some pb on them as pre-run fuel.
I started at 10 a.m. The temperature was a cool 35, but with the sun out I warmed quickly. I opted to wear my hydration belt rather than drive around planting water in various spots around town. I also wore my Spibelt to carry my phone as I had mapped out my course using the MapMyRun app. Despite my best efforts the hydration belt won’t sit on my hips. It rides up to my waist so I just learned to put it there and it really doesn’t move. The only issue with it is that the pocket on it isn’t very big, just large enough for some gels or other fuel. My Spibelt is adjustable and sits wherever I put it. It doesn’t ride up or down and you couldn’t even tell I had it on despite my relatively large phone stuffed in it.
I started off on my own, but met a friend less than 2 miles in at one of the parks off the bike path. We continued on and met another friend, who was fresh off the Charlottesville Half, another 1.5 miles down the path. They kept me company for about 5-6 miles and then I was on my own for the rest. They definitely made those early miles fly by!
I decided to try something new with my fueling. In the past it’s always been really spread out, but I decided to try putting things closer together and see if that sat well with my stomach and kept me from getting too hungry or thirsty. I ended up eating gels at miles 6 and 12 and just drank as needed. I thought about another gel at mile 18, but since I was so close to home I decided to push through. During the actual race I will definitely have at least one or two more.
I did stop at a local restaurant to refill my water, which was around mile 15. I’d already drank three of the four 6 oz bottles. It wasn’t warm out, but the air was very dry and there was a nice wind. There was also a controlled burn going on outside of town and the smoke was blowing in to this part of town so that wasn’t the most pleasant thing.
During my run I only checked the app on my phone twice, just to make sure I was still on the course I mapped out. I never stopped it at stoplights or when I stopped to refill my water. Part of it was it was just easier to let it stay in the pocket, but also because you don’t get to stop your chip during a race. I was curious about my actual time.
I finished 20.5 miles in 3:31 with an average pace of 10:19. When looking at my splits, I hovered around a 10 minute pace with a few exceptions, such as when I got stuck at a stoplight for two cycles around mile 9, when I stopped to refill my water bottles around mile 15, and when I stopped for some free lemonade from two kids at their lemonade stand around mile 19. They were really cute!
I also stopped briefly at another point relatively early on because there was a duck couple that looked like they wanted to cross the street. I ran by them but turned around to see the female walking out in front of an SUV. I stopped and thankfully so did the SUV. Once she was out of the way the SUV continued but another car was coming from the opposite direction. He stopped as well and laughingly waved the ducks across. Once they were safely on the grass I continued on my way.
Overall I felt pretty good throughout the entire run. I had two steep downhills during mile 19 that were difficult on my knees. I’m pretty sure I looked hilarious coming down those hills. I also mapped my course to leave me with about a 1/2 mile walk back to my house. I used that as a cool down and then spent some time stretching.
I’m hoping for a repeat performance with an additional six miles in a few weeks at Gettysburg. I’m sure the course will have its fair share of hills, but I’ve trained for that so hopefully it’ll be just fine. Now it’s time to taper!
I’m looking forward to my half this weekend. It’s supposed to be a nice course and currently the weather is looking quite perfect!
Are you training for anything?