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.