Sunday, March 7, 2010

11 Down 2.1 to Go!

This Saturday I was planning to push for 11 miles. A new farthest ever. One step closer to making sure I'll have a good first half-marathon experience (in just 35 days!!!) I had it all planned out...I'm not one of those people who can turn on the Garmin and just run aimlessly until the miles elapse. I did something similar when I ended up running 10 miles instead of 6, and it sucked. So, I got on good ole to figure out a good route. I decided on running from my apartment down Wydown, as I've done before, but when I get to Forest Park, I'd do the 5.66 mile loop and then head back home. It came out to just over 11 miles.

I also knew I'd be trying out some new gear for the first time. I'd been eyeing some capri-length running tights. The Fila yoga style capris I ran in last summer were fine for short distances, but the seams aren't anti-chafe enough for longer runs. I'd love to be able to rock a pair of spandex shorts, but embarrassing confession: even though, my thighs are significantly smaller, shorts of all kinds still ride up when I run. Anyone else have that problem?? I knew tights were likely to set me back about $50 a pair or more, so I was looking for a deal...then early last week, I saw a tweet from Deals Plus saying the Nike store was offering an extra 20% off their already 50% discounted clearance items. I scored 3 pairs of Dryfit capri tights for the price of 2 at a sporting goods store. And, even though I chose regular shipping, they arrived by Friday morning! It was supposed to be a high of 60 degrees yesterday, so I decided to give them a go.

I also know from past thirsty experiences that the water fountains in the parks around here and in Forest Park aren't turned on yet, so I decided to try out the water belt B. got me for Hanukkah. I filled the 2 bottles with a Gatorade/H2O mixture and stuffed some Sport Beans in the pocket.

I wanted to get on the road early, but due to a sinus headache (the only downside of spring) it was about 9:30 before I got out the door. I wasn't sure what to eat before I went. Eating too much results in a major stomach cramps, so I opted for my usual Greek yogurt w/ honey and cinnamon Puffins even though it's only about 170 calories. I was optimistic. My headache was subsiding, I'd had an extra rest day Thursday, I could definitely do this!

The first 3 miles to the park were good. I felt strong, and about half way there I mastered the water belt. Putting it around my natural waist didn't work; it kept moving higher and higher as I ran. Finally, I stopped and put it around my hips and pulled my shirt out from under it. That worked much better, and eventually I could hardly feel it.

Forest Park was hopping. Everyone and their dog was out enjoying the sunshine. A lot has changed since last year at this time. I felt like one of the "real" runners, not the miserable, chubby girl trying to keep her feet moving. I'm not saying a dad with a jogging stroller didn't still leave me in the dust...nothing like someone pushing an extra 50 lbs speeding by to make you realize you need to pick up the pace a little!

When I finished the park loop and stopped for the walk light to cross back to Wydown, I was TIRED. I tried to eat some Sport Beans, but they were sticking to my teeth and roof of my mouth and I was trying to conserve my water (those bottles are pretty small...maybe I should have opted for the 4 bottle belt). I'd gone 8.5 miles approximately, and the way home was on an incline until the last mile. I waited for my 9 mile second wind like my last long run. It arrived...and then disappeared at mile 10. The last mile was sheer will. My breakfast was a distant memory, my water was gone. I was never so happy to hear the Garmin beep for the last mile.

I finished 11.05 miles in 1:57. Considering I finished my first 10K in 1:02, I'm okay with that time. If race day goes well, I could finish the other 2.1 miles in about 20-22 minutes putting me at 2:20-ish, which I'd be completely okay with. At the end of every run, I always ask myself, could you have gone farther if you had to? In this case, could I have powered out another 2.1? If it were race day, and there was an aid station with orange slices and water, yes. As it was, no, I was just out of gas.

Some things to figure out before my next long run: getting up early enough to eat, let my food digest and still get running before it gets too hot. Also, plans for filling up my water bottles mid it a faux pas to stop into a Starbucks or somewhere and use their water fountain if you aren't buying anything?

But, when it was all said and done, I had finished what I set out to do. Here I am exhausted but very (red faced and ) pleased with myself:


  1. Great job!!! I ask myself the same thing at the end of a long run, could I push myself if I absolutely had to (race day), and it's always yes, if I was at a race, I could. You're going to do an excellent job, and your pace is fast!!!

  2. Good run!

    I have a 500ml bottle I take with me and often that isn't nearly enough. At least in a longer race you usually have water stations. I still plan to carry my water with me for my first half - just in case.

    I've stopped at places like a fast food joint or community centre and filled up on water. But I just do it from the bathroom tap. Water is good around here everywhere so I don't need to worry about that. That might be an option for you.