Saturday I had a new long run distance to explore: 16 miles. I crashed pretty early Friday night (after watching a couple episodes of Lost, obvi) and was up way to early Saturday morning. I was planning on running around 11, as that's when it was going to start warming up, so I ate right away hoping that I would be fueled properly for the long run. (YES! Fueling! Go me!!). I ate some pb&j toast and a nana (while watching some more Lost). A friend had offered to be my unofficial pacer for the run via mountain bike or cross country ski, but we realized that neither apparatus (apparati?) would work for the mixture of dry trail, puddles, loose snow, and sheets of ice. Excellent. I told him I would take a rain check, and cash it in on the 18 or 20 miler coming up.
I started off the run too too fast. Every time I checked the pace on my Garmin it was showing 8:50-9:15 range. Oops. Apparently I've been running on the treadmill too much. Miles 1.5-3.5 were h-e-l-l. Oh my goodness. The snow was so fluffy/wet that I felt like I was running in sand. I had to be really careful where I stepped to avoid the harder areas of snow to make sure I didn't turn an ankle or anything.
Unfortunately, after stopping momentarily to take a GU I accidentally dumped out half of my 12 oz. handheld. DRAT! 12 oz. isn't even enough for a 14 mile run, let alone 6 oz. Oy. Sooooooo I filled it up with some clean looking snow. I know. Gross. Whatever, I'm sure I've ingested worse. Doesn't the average person eat a spider or two a year? Ya, that's way worse.
The next four miles were much clearer, but into the wind. Ugh. There's not much worse than running outside in the cold (mid-20s) with the wind in your face. Brrr. Luckily the clearer paths helped me forget the fact that I couldn't feel my face. My pace was truly all over the place, because I tried to run strong when the path was clear so it would compensate for my snail's pace on the snow and ice.
The 8 mile turn around point was close to Falls Park, which is one of my favorite places in the city. I was surprised at how well I fell halfway into the run, and decided I would try to up my pace for a few miles. After doing some reading about marathon training, I saw the suggestion to try to run the last 25% of your run at marathon pace to simulate how your legs will feel running that pace when they're tired. Well, since I know how atrocious the last 4 miles of the path are, I wanted to throw them in here. Whatever. It's not like my pace has been consistent yet anyway. These miles felt so good. There were still some random areas of ice that I had to walk/shuffle on so I didn't break a hip, but the quicker miles felt great.
By the time I hit the snow/shit show I was ready to be d.o.n.e. Who wants to run in sand for 3 miles after running 13? Not me. Blech. I refused to walk, and took this part of the trail as a mental strengthening. I imagine I'm going to hate running that much during the last 6 miles of the marathon (or 10, who knows) and at that point it's totally going to be mental to keep putting one foot in front of the other. There were points when I looked down at my watch and my pace was 11-13:30 mm. UGH! The effort I was exuding was equivalent to 8 mm at LEAST. When I got to the final mile that was clear I just went.
When I finished the run my knees HURT. Oof. They definitely took a beating during the sliding around portion of the run.
I finished the 16 miles (16 miles holy crap!!) in 2:33:09 for a pace of 9:35. (Last week's 14 miler was a 9:37 pace!!)
I walked in the door and immediately got the tub going for an ice bath. I promised myself I would ice for anything longer than 14 to make sure my legs recover as quickly as possible. After stretching and warming up slightly, I hopped in the tub, and immediately (ok 2 minutes later = immediately) I had to get out. I was gasping for air and on the verge of tears. I hadn't even put in the ice/scoops of snow (yes I shoveled two small buckets of snow to add to my bath) in yet. I think my body temp must've been pretty low after being outside running for 2 1/2 hours in 20 degree temps. I'll just have to make sure I ice well until Monday's run.
I had waited to post this until after Saturday night because I knew I would have some fun Saturday night adventure photos. Unfortunately, I dropped my camera on the ground last night and I'm sad to report, she is no longer with us. RIP camera. It was a solid 4 months we spent together.