Previous marathon training long runs:
This weekend I ran the longest training run of my marathon training plan, 20 miles. And I totally rocked it out.
I approached the long run a bit unconventionally- I woke up and ran 4.5 miles, then went and ran a 25K (15.5 miles) race to make a total of 20 miles. This added a level of camaraderie, helped me practice mid-race fueling strategies and I even got a medal at the end!
Saturday morning started off like every other: an early wake-up and peanut butter toast. I skipped the coffee because I knew I'd be ingesting caffiene in the form of gels soon enough. The weather was dreary but the rain held off while I ran my first leg, 4.5 miles.
Mile 1: 9:51
Mile 2: 9:50
Mile 3: 9:51
Mile 4: 9:41
Mile 4.5: 9:54 pace
Then I hopped in the car and headed to the 5/3 Riverbank Run in Grand Rapids. On the way there, a downpour started! I made my way to the start of the race and looked outside with trepidation. A soaking-wet 25K did not sound appealing. Miraculously, the rain stopped and held off for the rest of the race! Soon enough, we got started.
The first part of the course ran through the woods and along the Grand River. It was gorgeous scenery, great temperatures (around 56) and everyone around me was happy to be out there. I had a blast during this race!
Mile 1: 9:44
Mile 2: 9:36
Mile 3: 9:33
Mile 4: 10:05
Mile 5: 10:04
Mile 6: 9:41
My fueling strategy was to start with sport beans (around mile 4) and switch to gels as needed. At mile 6, I slowed to eat my first gel, a chocolate flavor.
That gave me a boost to run until I saw my support crew at mile 7! They handed me another gel and I was off.
Rolling hills started and continued for the next few miles. I started to get really tired around mile 11, but pushed on after having another gel. I loved talking with people around me and just enjoying the run.
Mile 7: 10:58 (first gel)
Mile 8: 9:42
Mile 9: 9:38
Mile 10: 9:51
Mile 11: 10:22 (second gel)
Soon enough, we were out of the woods and headed back to downtown GR. My legs were screaming at this point but I alternated Gatorade and orange slices (the BEST mid-race snack!) at the aid stations and continued on. A personal distance record was close!
Mile 12: 9:39
Mile 13: 9:53
Mile 14: 10:02
Mile 15: 9:36
Mile 15.7: 9:45
25K time: 2:34:51
20 mile time: 3:17
Before I knew it, I saw the finish line and dug deep, sprinting through the finish line. I felt absolutely amazing and was so happy to be done! I grabbed as much free food as possible and headed to my friends.
On the way home we stopped for Quizno's veggie subs. Yum.
After a nap and countless amounts of fudge cookies and cheetos, we had a lovely grill dinner of portabellas, roasted asparagus and carrots and a giant salad, plus lots of chips and guacamole. The perfect post-race meal!
It's amazing just how much confidence a strong 20-miler gives me for the marathon. I feel on top of the world and like I can definitely accomplish 26.2 miles in 2 weeks. I can't believe how far I've come and truly feel like I'm in the best shape of my life. I cannot wait for the marathon!!
What are you excited about?