After 13 weeks of training, I finished my final long run yesterday! Since the end of June I have logged approximately 403 miles running, including five 20+ milers. Looking back at this “Run Less, Run Faster” training schedule versus the beginner Hal Higdon program that I followed for my first marathon, I notice that I am able to run longer distances at a faster pace and with a quicker recovery time. I didn’t do as many speed work runs as the program prescribed but I did make sure that each run was executed with purpose and wasn’t just to “log the miles”. I also only ran about 2-3 times a week during this program where in the past I ran about 5 days a week. I think this has helped heal my hip and keep running exciting for me. With the Marathon three weeks away I wanted to give this last 20 miler all I had and finish strong.
Breakfast was the typical pre-run meal: Whole Wheat toast with nut butter (Justin’s Dark Chocolate) and a sliced up banana on top. I also grabbed a handful of grapes to round out my plate.
I did some stuff around the apartment while digesting and gearing up. After packing up my fuel belt with some cash, Crystal Light Fitness Water (no HFCS or Aspartame! It’s sweetened with Stevia), two Gu packets, and camera I hit the road. In retrospect I probably should have started this whole process earlier in the day since it was actually pretty warm for the first day of fall. Either way, it was cooler than some of the long runs I had taken on this summer so I was able to handle it. All of my long runs with the exception of those run outside of the city, have taken place along the Charles. This is my favorite route and it seems to never get old for me. From my place to the river is just about 1 mile.
My secret for tackling long runs on my own (which is the only way I do them) is breaking the run into manageable distances. For a 20 miler I say that I have to run 10 miles out and 10 miles back. Today I was looking to do 21 so I said to myself I was going to run 7, then 7 and then 7 one more time. I also tend to look at my Garmin around 5 k, 10 k, etc. to see if my pace is on with what I am looking for. Today my aim was to keep my over all time under 9:30 min/miles. So, once I hit the river I literally cruised along my favorite terrain at a pretty good pace.
I passed Harvard,
Ran under the creepy bridge,
Over the rickety boardwalk by the pretty lily pads.
Passed the Northeastern Boat House,
and the Cambridge Community Gardens.
And the next thing I knew I was past the 10 k mark!
Around mile 7 I decided to fuel up with a berry Gu. I figured I would have one at 7 and then one at 15 and that should be enough to carry me through the end. I felt great after this packet and continued running through Watertown Square.
At this point I entered the reservation area in Watertown and Waltham which I love. It’s basically like running through the woods but on pavement or nice boardwalks such as this one.
The Gu helped me enormously and it felt like my legs were re-energized. I hit just over 9 miles in Newton and refilled my water bottles which were now out of Fitness Water. One of my biggest hurdles for long runs is not drinking too much. Once I start, I can’t stop! I try to limit myself to small sips but sometimes I just need to gulp it down. It tastes so good but I pay for it with cramping later. Today I was able to keep it in check and hydrate responsibly.
In Newton the river turns into this little stream which runs through the middle of a neighborhood, it’s pretty cute and I wouldn’t mind living around here if I had the money!
I left the neighborhood and re-entered the reservation again. At this point I felt pretty awesome because I was on the home stretch meaning I had gone out as far as I was going and now just had to run back! This bridge is pretty cool looking but beware, it doesn’t go anywhere! I tried on one of my earlier long runs but was disappointed when I just had to turn right back around. Oh well, it’s still fun to run across a bridge.
Around mile 11 I hit up my favorite convenience store for some sweet sweet nectar, AKA Gatorade!
I don’t think I ever would have stepped foot in this place otherwise but on a run when you start hallucinating about brightly colored, electrolyte enhanced beverages, you go where you gotta go.
Typically I go with the lemon lime flavor but I was feeling adventurous and picked up the low calorie Strawberry Kiwi. It was alright, but certainly no lemon lime. Do you find that only certain flavors work for you on runs?
After refilling my bottles for the third time, I kept on trucking. I took the route on the other side of the river back which I don’t always do because sometimes it’s nice to a straight out and back run; you know what’s ahead of you that way. Today though I was up for the challenge and wanted new territory. I had to take a picture of this sign since it just shows you how far away I am from my place, Boston isn’t even on the sign!
More trail running.
And another Gu.This one was consumed outside the boat house in Cambridge at around mile 15. I was definitely hurting at this point, more so than I thought I would be and I was looking for a miracle with this little pouch since I still had 6 more miles!
After sucking it down, I filled up my bottles again. Yes, this is the fourth fill up which means I will have consumed 128 ounces of water over the course of my run, too much?
I tried to rally myself together at this point and take it one mile at a time. My joints were just starting to ache and I was mentally exhausted but somehow I pushed on past Harvard again…
And finally got to Boston!
Typically I end my run right at my place but I was unsure of exactly how long I would go today so that didn’t happen. I ended up finishing “running” at 20 miles. I was going to push it a bit further but I didn’t have it in me and realized it would be stupid to injure myself now! So after 3 hours and 7 minutes I hit stop on my Garmin and looked at my final long run distance.
I then started walking because I still had just over a mile to get HOME! I re-started the Garmin to see what my final distance and time would end up being. Then I hit the stairs. Ugh. I wanted to cry.
On the other side I was taking my time coming down and a police officer noticed me and said “Hey didn’t I see you like an hour ago?”. I said “um yea more like 3 hours ago.” We talked about how far I had just run and he told me I was his hero. Kind of put a smile on my face even though I was hurting! I then realized that this mile was going to take a lot longer if I walked it than if I jogged a little so I started to pick it up just a bit and was so glad when I finally hit my street again and saw this.
Not bad with some walking at the end! My last sip of water before reaching my apartment. All 128 ounces down the hatch!
Coming home to my foam roller was like heaven. I rolled and rolled and finally made myself get in the shower and dress for work. Oh god, I have to go to work right now? Yikes. A quick Green Monster smoothie was the only thing I was craving.
In the mix: 1 cup of Kale, 1/2 cup of frozen mixed berries, 1 banana (yup it’s 2 banana kind of day) and 8 ounces of Chocolate Soy Milk.
Forget Gatorade, this is it!
Lucky for me, it was pizza night at the house so I didn’t have to think about anything. I ate 4 of these in about 20 minutes.
And then made a salad with sweet pickles, tomato, and light creamy parmesan ranch dressing from TJ’s. I ate half of it before I got back to my desk to photograph it.
And then someone answered my prayers and presented me with a ooey-gooey congo bar fresh from the oven. Yup, I can die happy now. I ate the first one which was a good 3 inch square so fast I didn’t have time to take a picture and then went back for a little nibble just to so I could show you what it looked like.
At this point I was pretty full and even though I was still at about a 1200 calorie deficit I just wasn’t that hungry anymore. However, around 10 when I was settling in for bed, my hunger came back. I knew just the thing.
Yup, chips and hummus. In bed. Watching the Biggest Loser. Don’t judge.