Long run in the Autumn Sun.

All images are from iPhone 4. Remarkable.
In preparation for the upcoming City of Oaks Marathon, this was my longest run, and at 20.76 mi the longest I've yet done in my running life.

Like the weather and the countryside, it was a glorious adventure.

Pacing myself carefully, my goal was to stay on the short side of Coach's recommended full-marathon pace of 12:00/m. For much of the distance my actual pace was about 11:50. With HR running in the low to middle 120s for that distance, I was barely breathing hard, not sweating at all in the 50d air.

Wanting to know at mile 19 how much fuel I had left in the tank, I accelerated past a group of runners who were participating in a distance fair. Picking up the pace felt good, so I continued to accelerate. At the half-mile point at that pace I could see it within reach to run the full mile at tempo pace (9:30/m) and wondered if I had it in me.

I did.

Then enough left, still, to continue at a good pace the remaining .75 m to the parked truck.

With that experience now vividly in my mind, I'm confident that the full 26.2 m distance of the marathon is within reach for me.

This run was on the course of the Boulder Marathon, flat and smooth and a Boston qualifier. I modified it at mile 14 to accommodate my training needs, then got a bit off-course from failure to review the map more closely immediately before running. To cover my full goal distance I added a trip around Boulder Reservoir.

With my Nathan hydration pack on, I took occasional sips of water for the first 10 miles, but it was minimal. Temps for most of that distance were in the 30s and 40s, no perspiration, no thirst.

At the beginning of Hour 2, about Mile 10, I took in my first 7-oz bottle of premixed HEED drink. It poured down effortlessly, with great taste. Running continued smooth and easy, with no obvious digestive reaction. Energy remained even--no burst, no delayed slump.

HEED again at Hour 2.5 and at Hour 3.0, same response, same results.

Going strong at Hour 3.5 I skipped the HEED. Energy continued as before.

Finished with strong effort, and used final HEED as recovery drink, along with whey protein drink. Wished that I'd had Hammer Recoverite with me, but had failed to stop at the running store to replenish my supply before the run.

I had two packets of Hammer Gel with me, as backup if the HEED failed to support my efforts and I found energy lagging. Two packets of Hammer Gel returned to my mountain cabin with me.

The smooth flatness of the road gave me ample opportunity to focus my stride on toes pointed forward in a smooth line. It's the right foot in particular that wants to swing wide and drag. That's the subject for another journal entry.  Stride discipline today was good. And fun. Felt good.

In all, the most successful and joyful experience I've ever had on a run. A terrific preparation for the coming event.

Details of the run, from my Garmin 305, are posted at Garmin Connect.


O'Neill said...

totally great.
congrats on distance and speed.
great pics.

Michael O'Neill said...

Thanks for the encouragement.

timalyn.oneill said...

I'm wondering whether you think you're going to stop to take lovely photos mid-marathon in North Carolina?!? I can't imagine it could be anywhere near as lovely as what you've captured here. Good job timing your training just right!