Friday Long Run: A Tale of Two Runs

As per marathon training experiences in the past, the second 20-miler is always the best.  I'd say the last one is the worst but it would be hard to outdo this fiasco.  If you're seriously keeping track, my runs got a little out of order.  I was supposed to have a step back week now and 20-miler next week.  Between Ragnar and the week my body went into attack mode, I had a step back week last week, and now two weeks in a row of 14-mile long runs.

The plan for today was to start out slow and build.  Like this:
Miles 1-5: Run 5:00, walk 1:00
Miles 6-10: Run 1 mile, walk 60-90 seconds at each mile mark.
Miles 11-15: Run 2 miles together, then walk 60-90 seconds.
Mile 16: See how long this run actually is.

Mile 5 was about the time my phone went into freak-out mode.   The vibrations worked but not the sound, nor did Siri and the microphone work.  I don't know what happen but a re-start eventually fixed it.  Since I didn't want to re-set the phone in the midst of a workout, I turned off the interval app and let the GPS running app continue and it vibrated convincingly at every mile.  Convincingly means 13 times.  No joke.  I counted.

The route: This was a new route for me in several ways.  I started at the gym because a friend was going to meet me there for the end of the run.  I ran on the Greenway eastbound towards the river.  I'm familiar with the route from biking but this was my first run.  Then I headed north up the river, past the Franklin Ave bridge (my normal turning spot).  I hadn't run that way since the first time I ran a half marathon.  The route I picked involves Bridge 9 which is an old railway bridge converted for pedestrians and bikes and basically only used of U of M students because of the location.  The climb was easily identifiable but the it was hard to find the bridge.  I stopped a moment and looked at my GPS app to tell me where the hell I was.  Across the river I back turned south, running along the river parkway.  It didn't take long to get back into familiar territory.  I headed all the way down to the Ford bridge, then turned north in Minneapolis, back to the Greenway and the gym.  I had just enough time to run around the block at the gym, grab my gear and head inside for a poo before my next run. 

Nutrition: Perhaps even a bigger success than the lazy ass pace I kept was the nutrition.  The first 20-miler was not the only run where I'd had serious stomach issues.  Not the "I have to poop" kind, more the "I want to throw up" kind.  Fortuitously, I read this article before heading out today.  I saw the suggestion about 1/4 of a gel ever 20 minutes.  "Let's carry a gel around for 80 minutes" didn't sound ideal, but the overall idea seemed a good one.  I tried taking 1/2 gel at my planned mile markers (5, 9, 13 and 17) and then took the remaining 1/2 serving 1 mile later.  It worked like a charm.  Not one single issue with my stomach the entire time.

Part 2: The plan was to meet a friend at the gym and run the last 3 miles with her on our normal out and back route along the greenway.  Westbound this time so I wouldn't have to do anything twice.  The greenway was under construction so we got Greenway+neighborhood instead.  I've decided I need to meet a friend for the last few miles of any 20-miler from now on.  Best idea ever.  It was so nice to have something to look forward to at the end of this run.  It's good to have a friend take your mind of stuff too.  I kept telling her how excited I was to have her because there I was at mile 19 and 20 just plugging right along.  Nothing in the whole world hurt.  I felt great.  I couldn't even feel the heat which was coming on strong. I'm already planning a new route for my final 20-miler and hoping she's free to run with me!

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