By the time this post is published, I will be exactly 5 weeks away from the marathon, and it’s hard to believe that the longest I’ve run so far is 18:00 miles!! The length itself is one thing, but the location was a whole other factor that really influenced the significance of the event.
I woke up on long-run Sunday morning and assembled my necessities while munching on two bars that had a fair mix of carbs and protein. I was in a rush the day before with grocery shopping and wasn’t able to find the fuel I wanted to experiment with at the stores I visited (Clif Shot Bloks, or even vegetarian-friendly gummies at a decent price!), so I decided to experiment with my fueling strategy for the next long run.
I did bring a water bottle this time to run with. It was just not in a fancy hand-strap like I had planned.
Our team left for San Pedro, and after a quick bathroom break at the park we all assembled at for our starting point, we were off…to fend for ourselves against steep inclines, rocky trails, and precarious lanes near cliffs at risk for landslides!
But the hardest hill we faced hit us hard right before the 3 mile mark. I gave up on keeping my usual pace then and there—it would be in my best interest to just take each mile one at a time, and each hill one step at a time.
Despite the balmy weather (and consequent stick skin and hands, ew), I held on tight to my water bottle which sloshed loudly for the first several miles. Because of the added weight, I had to switch off between hands every two minutes or so! As I started to warm up, and as I started to approached more hills, I sipped on my water when I felt like it, and the sloshing sounds died down as I ran further and further north towards Ranchos Palos Verdes. There were some amazing, gorgeous views, and even though I was running with my phone in my belt, I didn’t want to stop and take it out due to a) sticky hands and b) the risk of losing my running mojo.
Our turnaround point was at mile 9, and I started to feel extreme fatigue in my legs around miles 11-13. I stopped a little after mile 13 to stretch out legs and shake out arms, and that helped me a little bit as I approached the San Pedro border again around mile 14. I surprisingly felt more refreshed around mile 14.5-15, and the dreaded hill we had to fight our way up in the beginning now felt like a breezy downhill ride. A lot of my teammates hated the downhill though, since it beat up their knees pretty badly.
As I hit mile 16, I mentally started to feel fatigued. I started to get annoyed by the slow walkers who most likely had just woken up and were getting some fresh air before brunch…and I was smelly, sticky, sweaty, and just wanted my Garmin to scream 18 MILES—STOP—YOU’RE DONE! And even though it was a struggle working for each point-something mile to get to mile 18, I eventually did, and I felt the relieved to be done, but accomplished for fighting through those hills.
I finished in a little over 3 hours, but because of all the hills, my pace wasn’t a concern for me. I’m sort of hoping that all the work I put into this run will help me during my next LSD challenge of 20 miles!
Sunday – LSD 18 miler group run at 10:43/mi
Monday – Rest
Tuesday – 6 mile morning solo run at 9:41/mi
Wednesday – 7 mile morning solo run at 10:02/mi
Thursday – Rest
Friday – 7 mile morning solo run at 9:19/mi
Saturday – Rest
Total Mileage -> 38 miles
The rest of the week’s runs were scheduled as usual, with Monday being the-day-after-a-long-run rest day, and Tuesday’s run being my routine morning route. Fortunately, my soleus ache from last week has subsided. I wasn’t pleased with how I was feeling on Wednesday’s run, since my pace was much slower than usual, I felt fatigued, and I was starting to feel burnt out and bored. It was supposed to be an 8 miler, but I cut it back to 7 when I passed my apartment right at the 7 mile mark and the temptation to head back and get ready for the rest of the day won me over.
Thursday’s planned 6 miler (turned 7) was pushed to Friday, and while I was anxious about that decision, it turned out to be the right one for me. I listened to my body, and it paid me back. I felt more refreshed on Friday’s run, and was pleased with getting back to my current pace. Saturday of course was a rest day—which I accepted gleefully since I was volunteering at an all-day, STEM-related event.
20 miles is next on the agenda—and then it soon will be time to taper!
Have you ever felt “burnt out” after training for something for so long and so hard?