Before I start? The story of how I found this blog name can be found here.
I also need to find a better name for me. Suggestions welcome. 🙂
So my first marathon is in 18 days.
And I think I’m ready.
I had my last 2o mile run this past weekend, when we were visiting my friend D in Kentucky. I was really apprehensive about it for a lot of reasons.
The run would be in a place that wasn’t home; and really my track record for runs on my own away from home isn’t good. I’m 1 for 3. I’ve had two failed long distance runs on vacation – one in New Hampshire and one in Acadia National Park. The last aborted run was the worst – I really came away from it doubting my ability to run the 26.2 miles I needed to. The one run that I did successfully accomplish? 13 miles of it was with my friend Heather, who I knew would hold me accountable for running that last 7.
I didn’t have a car with me, too, so getting there would require one of my friends dropping my butt off at 6 in the morning.
But I NEEDED this run. I needed to know that I could do a long run on my own.
When we got there on Friday night, I realized that I had forgotten my fuel belt. I carry 32oz of water with me and all of my fueling gels. I briefly considered not going.
But we were able to get directions to the location so Charlie Brown could drop me off instead of having to wake up my friends to do it.
And I figured I’d just set up a 5 mile out and back and run it 4 times. I’d put water/gatorade and energy gels at either end and work my way back and forth. Which was really a good thing, mile-wise. Only 5 miles each way! That’s a short run!
Shockingly, it went really well. The course was really hilly – Kentucky is NOT flat. But I felt pretty good the first 5 miles, then FANTASTIC the second 5 miles. The third 5 miles were a little harder – felt like it was all uphill and I was fighting a headwind. Miles 15-17 went much quicker than I expected.
And the last three miles were very nearly impossible. My own fault, really. I’ve been experimenting with nutrition – seems like most all the sports nutrition gels and drinks gives me a stomachache and makes me want to puke. I had two different kinds of chews with me there – all natural stuff which worked REALLY well and didn’t give me a stomachache. Problem was, those were at the OTHER end. So at mile 15 I had some gatorade which turned my stomach, and I couldn’t manage to eat my energy chews because I knew they’d make it worse. So I’m pretty sure I was out of fuel at mile 17.
But I finished. And the best part was that I found my marathon pace. All season I’ve been focused on going slow. I’ve aimed at a pace which I THOUGHT was best for me; because slow and steady is better.
Turns out that my ideal marathon pace is faster than I’ve been allowing myself to go. 16 out of the 20 miles I ran that day were within 10 seconds of this pace.
So with 18 days to go, I have a nutrition and hydration plan. I have a pace. I even have an outfit – a blogger friend gave me an AWESOME shirt which not only fits perfectly, but it’s still comfortable at mile 20. No chafing, either!
I’m about as ready as I can be. I’m going to focus on getting enough sleep, eating right, and just staying the course for a few more weeks.
18 more days. I can’t wait.