Marathon Training: The 20-miler

I did a 20-miler today and all I have to say is: That was ugly. It was so bad I don't really want to write about it, except I know later I'll want a blog post to remember just how god awful it was.

My stomach wouldn't stop: first mistake was trying to eat a Cliff Bar.  I thought my stomach would tolerate them but not today.  Just no.  I finally entered negotiations around mile 9.  This wasn't my normal brand of intestinal distress.   I about puked these things right up.  It would've felt so good too.  I couldn't even drink water for a long time.  I tried around mile 16 or 17 and that was awful.  Finally after mile 17 I had a gel and that seemed to calm my stomach down.  Last thing I'd ever expect to calm my stomach down, but whatever works.

My brain wouldn't work: Or maybe my brain was working too hard.  I got a little freaked out by a slow pace the first couple of miles and that utterly destroyed me.  Then I stopped for a second (part of negotiations) and ended the run instead of pausing it, which is why the route comes in two maps today instead of one.  Convenient so I can leave out the pacing data which is ugly.  It just wasn't a good run.  I'm glad I have a 14 miler and then an easy week before I try another one of these.

Pacing was an absolute disaster: Why the hell am I suddenly running so slow?  I have no explanation.  Ultimately I couldn't pull it back either.  I wound up going with a good interval system for me.  I tried 5:1 early in the run, did that for a mile or two, came back on pace through about mile 11, and then started using a 4:1 interval which is unbelievably much slower than the 5:1, or perhaps I was that bad by then.  Honest to god I gave up after mile 13 but I was so far from home I had to keep going anyways.  I did run the last mile without stopping which felt like a small victory.

Stretching after the run was hilarious and by that I mean 'the grass was all wet from dew'.  I had delusions of not taking an ice bath.  No idea why I thought that would be okay.  I nearly cried when I got in the ice tub.  So cold.  These are not unicorn tears.  Sigh.

Positives from the run include:
  • The run is done, only 2 more 20-milers to go
  • I learned that the interval system really does calm down my pacing, and sometimes help it a bit
  • I kept moving, even after I gave up

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