Longest run ever

Longest. Run. Ever.
Today was a scheduled 17-miler on the marathon training plan. That’s 27.3km. That’s 5km farther than my last long run, which was itself my longest run ever. Yikes. But you know what? I DID IT. Here’s the run report I filed over at Daily Mile.Running in the middle of the day was SO STUPID. I know this. But I wanted to run with my friend Fiona, and she couldn’t go til after 10. So I slept in, but then she called at the last minute to say her car broke down so she couldn’t go… but by that point, I was locked in. Luckily my friends Josh and Jamie were willing (and crazy enough) to run the Bay Run with me in 80-degree heat. I set RunKeeper for 1:1 intervals and I was off. I started by running up through Glebe, around Blackwattle Bay, and up Victoria Road to the start of the Bay Run.

I had tried to approach my nutrition in a scientific way. I had 4 packets of gel, a bag of jelly babies, and a couple bottles of premixed Endura Rehydration drink (along with some plain water). It took me about 45 minutes to get to Iron Cove, and that’s the point at which I started to eat. My goal was to get about 70g of carbs per hour, and I think I actually did pretty good with that.

I met the boys at the start of the Bay Run and we headed off. Neither of them had ever been there before, so it was a fun, chatty time. However, it was also extremely hot (not a cloud in the sky) and I was drenched with sweat. I’d slathered on sunscreen, but I knew it wouldn’t last long out there. We refilled our bottles at each water fountain. When we finished the loop, I was at the 12km mark and I was really feeling it. The boys headed home while I sat in the shade for a few minutes to recuperate. I had planned to do a second loop on my own, but it was just after noon and I just couldn’t face it. The Bay Run doesn’t have a lot of shade. I was so hot. Instead I SMSed the Snook that I was going to head back towards home and do the rest in our neighbourhood.

The next 2km going back up Victoria Road was the worst stretch of the whole run for me. I was feeling almost queasy from the heat, so I walked quite a bit of the uphill. Eventually I got to the ANZAC Bridge, which should’ve killed me with its massive incline. Instead I actually started to pick up energy with each step up it. I could feel the breeze up there, and it started to make me feel refreshed and strong. I could do this! When I came off the bridge near the fish markets, I sent the Snook a message telling him I felt better and I was going to do a few more km’s in Glebe. I followed Pyrmont Bridge Road up into Glebe before turning down Glebe Point Road towards home. I even did a little loop of Victoria Park! Just was I was closing in on the 18km mark, my shins started cramping. That sucked. Luckily I was close to home so I was able to hang on.

At the house I changed my shirt, dropped my water belt, slapped on some more sunscreen, and sucked down another gel. I still needed to do about 8km to make the distance. The Snook joined me and we headed down my normal (shady) Newtown route. The shins started threatening again. It would alternate between legs; it was very low, the muscle just at the base of your shin that lifts your foot. By the time we got to Newtown, the top of my left shin/calf was starting to tighten too. We stopped for a few minutes so I could try to stretch it out. I felt like the walking portions actually hurt worse than the running at that point. We finished with a climb through Sydney Uni and then a couple laps around Vic Park. It took me almost four hours exactly.

The cramping was new; I didn’t have any cramps at all on my previous 22km run. I think it must have had to do with the extreme heat and the rate at which I was sweating. My legs may also have been tired from unusual stress of wearing my new orthotics for the past week. (I didn’t wear them on the run; I did tape instead.) So I’m not too freaked out by the experience. I’m hoping that my next run – which will hopefully be cooler – will feel very different. In terms of nutrition and hydration, I actually did great. Other than that bit of queasiness at the 12km mark, I felt fine throughout the run and never hit any walls.

After the run I had a quick shower to wash of the sweat, sunscreen, and dirt; then sat in a cold bath for 20 minutes while enjoying some lovely chocolate protein drink. Bliss…

Three weeks to recover before the next one. It’ll be a biggie: 32K. Yikes.

HUGE, HUGE thanks to Josh, Jamie, and the Snook for running with me. I could not have done it without you guys!

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5 Comments

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  1. I am so so sorry I couldn’t make it – car still not working – and that it was because of me you ran in the heat – I feel terrible to have made you do this

    But a huge congrats for doing it – GO YOU

  2. It’s okay, Miss Fee. I just wanted to run with you! I hope the car gets fixed soon…

  3. Yay! Great job!! I assume the 32K is your longest training run? I’ve done 2 marathons and for both of them a 20 mile run was my longest training run. The first time my 20 mile run was on a hot day and it was waay more difficult than the actual marathon- I had to stop and walk for a while and felt horrible, I hit the “wall” that you always hear people talk about. However, the marathon itself wasn’t so bad, so my take-home message is that if you can survive the long training runs you’re good to go.
    You’re SO CLOSE to achieving your goal! It’s awesome and I am psyched for you!

  4. Thanks RT! Galloway actually has me do a 23 and a full 26 miler! I know people who say you don’t need to, but I have other friends who say they wish they’d done the full one just to have the confidence. They get spaced out at this end of the training: 3 weeks apart. Hopefully the weather will start cooling off… 🙂

  5. i had a similar experience to eileen in that my 20 mile training runs (i did 2 in prep for my marathon) were much more difficult than the actual race, and provided excellent mental preparation. you’re doing so well! i find your progress very inspiring!

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