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Three-Hour Run

December 15, 2008

Had my second 18-miler scheduled for Saturday. I wasn’t looking forward to it. In fact, I was dreading it. I even wore my my Nike “Athlete” shirt on Friday just to convince myself I was. See, I loved running 18 last time, but I didn’t love how I felt afterward. I was sore for days, and my runs stank for an entire week afterward–well, until my PR-setting 5k seven days later.

Though I haven’t financially committed to the marathon, I’m pretty determined to finish the training unless I’m hampered by injury. So I tried to peg those things that made that last 18 difficult and set about defining a winning strategy for this week’s run.

First, pacing: keep to 10-minute miles for at least the first six miles. I thought I did that last time, but I was closer to 9:30s. I also went pretty immediately after that into close to 9-minute miles. This time I thought I’d try to keep the middle 6 miles to 9:30s. I figured if I felt well enough to do the last six at 9’s, I could let it fly.

I took gels every six miles last time, and that wasn’t enough, nor did I take enough water. This time, I figured on gels every four miles. It takes me forever to take them–I finish them in about three-quarters of a mile.

I also finished the run with a thin layer of salt on my skin, so I stopped by my running store and asked about a sodium supplement. They suggested I also try a different gel, so I carried eGel, which has a much higher sodium and potassium content.

End result: a much happier run. Sarah kept me company for the first six and we nailed the pacing–first six miles at an average 9:56. I got a potty break and kept at it, and though mile 12 came in a little fast, my overall pace for the middle six miles was still pretty close to strategy: 9:25. And I did feel well enough to pick it up after that, even going sub-nine and picking off runners at the tail end (though I slowed down to talk to another runner in the last mile). My pace for the last third of the run was 9:03.

I had a Gu at mile 4 and the eGel at 8. I planned to take turns with them, but the eGel didn’t seem to sit well and I decided to stick with the Gus for the rest of the run. My stomach might need time to get used to the higher saltiness or something. I did try to take more water breaks.

Got back to the car with 18.7 and knew I couldn’t let it rest; besides, I felt so fresh that I didn’t mind finishing off the 19. I could have done 20, but I wanted to be smart.

Felt good when I got home and even skipped the ice bath. Had a little bit of DOMS on Sunday but nothing bad.

Slow 8 today. Still planning to race the 10k Saturday.

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