A Tough 16 Miler

Last night, 11/11/2007 I ran 16 miles.  Since the weather was supposed to be in the 50s and sunny I decided it would be the best day to put in some miles.  It was a tough run for many reasons.  On the bright side I did see some litter that told an interesting story…

I set out on the run at 4:30 PM.  It was still light out then but the sun was setting.  I brought my fuel belt with one water and one sports drink bottle.  I also brought along a single gel pack.  In hind sight I should have brought more.  It was in the mid or upper 40s when I left.  I wore 1 short sleeve tech shirt and 2 long sleeve tech shirts.  I wore shorts as I don’t have any running pants yet.  Because of the wind this wasn’t enough clothing.  When the wind was not blowing I was reasonably comfortable, though my legs were a bit chilly.  When the wind blew I was cold.  Even my hands got a little cold and I was wearing gloves!

The first 6.5 miles weren’t too bad.  I had some sports drink about 3 miles into the run.  When I reached fan club headquarters (my parents house) at mile 6.5 I had my gel and water.  I walked while I enjoyed the gel.  The next 6.5 miles were the most uncomfortable as the wind was blowing in my face.

After about 11 miles I started to feel quite fatigued.  It’s not a good feeling to feel fatigued when you have 5 more miles to run (unless you are at mile 21 then it’s not so bad!).  Because it was so cool I wasn’t thirsty and I didn’t need much in the lines of hydration.  My big mistake was forgetting about calories.  I ate lunch at about 1:30 which was 3 hours prior to my run.  I did not load up on carbs the day before or during the day.  I usually prepare for a long run with a large bagel and a banana.  I didn’t eat enough before the run, I didn’t drink enough sports drink during the run (nor did I bring enough with me), and I didn’t have enough gel.  By mile 13 I had hit the wall.  Mile 13 is early to be hitting the wall.

I continued on stubbornly to get in the 16 miles that I had planned on.  It was very hard.  I ran the first 6.5 miles in 58 minutes or so.  I ran the next 6.5 miles at about the same pace although I was stuck waiting for a train to pass for 2 minutes.  For the final three miles it took me 31 minutes.  I could barely move my legs, my head was floaty, and I felt like I was starving.  I kept muttering out loud “so hungry.”  It sounds silly, and it really is, but I really did mutter that out loud.  Somehow it made me feel better but not less hungry.

Finally I made it home where I chugged about 16 ounces of sports drink followed by a snickers marathon bar, cheese sticks, gold fish, and then pancakes.  I know, it’s not the most healthy post run fuel but you can’t eat right all the time!  My pre-run meal was at Red Lobster where I had salmon, biscuits, salad, and wild rice (not too bad on the health meter except the biscuits probably are much higher in sodium and fat than I’d like).  After drinking a ton of water I also poured myself a nice stiff rum-and-coke (mmmmmmm).

I learned, or re-learned last night how important nutrition is.  16 miles really isn’t that far for me these days and I should be able to do it with out much difficulty.  I can do it without much difficulty if I prepare properly and take care of my body.  Next time I’ll have more calories when I’m running by way of sports drink and more gel.  I’ll prepare with a pre-run bagel and banana.  Most importantly I won’t underestimate the difficult of a 16 mile run.  Just because I can do runs of this length doesn’t mean that I can do them with out preparation.

Oh…and that litter?  Litter often tells a very interesting story.  When running I run on the left side of the road facing oncoming traffic.  Therefore the litter story is told in reverse.  What I saw, in order, was this: a box of condoms, a can of whipped cream, and a pair of panties.


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