I’m not sure what’s happened recently but I keep having amazing run after amazing run. In 4 weeks I’ve had 3 of the best runs of my life. Each run has been 16 miles which is longer than my typical 13 mile long run. I’ve changed a few things but I don’t think these changes are significant enough to account for the dramatic performance improvement I’ve seen.
On Sunday April 26th I set out for another 16 mile run. I was a bit mad when I left the house. It was 60 degrees out and I was going to run shirtless. I took Cassie out to the mailbox to get the newspaper and nearly froze solid when the wind hit me. I went back in for a short sleeved shirt. As I changed into my shirt I watched the temperature drop 6 degrees in about 10 minutes and the wind picked up. Annoyed I took off my short sleeved shirt and put on a long sleeved shirt. It was the right choice as I was confortable for pretty much the entire run. I was also hungry so I downed a gel. This was the first time I took a gel prior to running.
I felt good from the start. I got a runner’s high at about mile 1.5 and it never went away. I my fan club headquarters (my parent’s house) in 49 minutes. Their house is 6.5 miles away and I usually take 52-54 minutes to get there. After turning around the wind was in my face. I didn’t let the wind bother me. It was just a training run and I felt incredible. I just pretended that there was no wind and kept running. Once again I took a caffeinated gel. This time I tried a Clif Double Espresso which contains 100 mg of caffeine. I think I took this at about mile 9 or 10.
I couldn’t believe my eyes when I hit my next milestone (the 12.9 mile mark, the point where 5k remains). My watch said 1:34. That was close to my half marathon PR and I felt great and I knew I’d finish in under 2 hours. I didn’t really think I had it in me to run 16 miles in under 2 hours, at least not without significant training. Thrilled with my time and still feeling incredible I cranked up the tunes and pushed on through the last 5k.
When I reached my mailbox I stopped my stopwatch and literally threw my hands in the air and said, out loud, “Holy Crap!” My stopwatch read 1:55. Not only did I break 2 hours but I did it by a lot. I also ran it faster and felt better than my best run ever which was just one week prior!
I don’t know what’s going on but I’m happy about this. A few things are different:
- I’ve been getting more and better sleep
- I’ve increased my protein intake significantly
- I stopped running in my Mizuno Wave Inspire sneakers in favor of my Mizuno Wave Elixir shoes
- I started having caffeine in my gel
- I stopped having caffeine completely in everyday life
- I started track workouts (but I’ve only done one so that can’t be it)