I checked the weather yesterday and we were supposed to be getting a mid-afternoon break in the rain so T and I decided we'd sleep in and see what the weather looked like when we got up to head out for our run. Around 9:30, after having breakfasted and checked weather.com and balancing temp, wind, and chance of precip, we decided to head out at 11. My goal for the day....14 miles. My run was to be 30 min in heart rate zone 1, 40 min in zone 2, 40 min in zone 3, and the rest of the 14 miles in zones 1-2. I was also supposed to run a flat course to simulate race conditions. Oh, have I mentioned that my marathon has about 24 feet of elevation change. For the whole course. Schweet, no? Quite a change from Nike, for sure.
We headed out to the Alameda creek trail since we just couldn't think of any other flat courses or any other courses that might be more interesting. We have *got* to find some new running grounds. 30 min in zone 1 just kind of zipped by. We were warming up nicely, except for the patches where we were hit in the face with a crisp wind. I'm not going to complain much about the weather when my brother's done some long runs in...oh 8 degree weather. And that's *before* wind chill. Kudos to him, but ugh. So other than some pretty decent head winds, we couldn't complain. Mademoiselle Nature kept the rain at bay. Nice.
40 min in zone 2 was doable. Again, just the annoying wind. Then zone 3 time came up. I was having the worst time getting my legs to move enough to jack up my heart rate. I made a quick stop at the water fountain to fill my water bottles and then kept trying to pump my legs. I was able to get up to low zone 3, but frequently dropped into zone 2. The head wind helped me by making me work harder at a slower pace and on those sections where the wind was stronger, my heart rate finally jumped up. By about 30 minutes I was ready to drop. I wanted to stop this insane zone 3 stuff. Somehow I managed to keep moving...just keep running, just keep running. About 10 minutes before I was due for my last gel, I started feeling really light headed. Not so much leg tired, but just fuzzy in the head. I think I was starting to bonk. I finally took my gel and about the same time I was finished with zone 3 and was able to ease up on the pace a bit.
I was at about 10.5 miles when my Sherpa, T, showed up on her bike. She had a shorter run today and when she was finished, she did some 'active recovery' by entertaining me while *very slowly* biking along side. Thank goodness. I was about to go nuts out there by myself. Even T's singing was appreciated at that point. ;-)
Finally, we were quickly approaching the parking lot where our cars were parked. Hm, either I miscalculated or my Garmin bonked too. I still needed another mile. So, a bit of mental toughness training as well, as we passed up the cars and headed back the other way for another 1/2 mile out and 1/2 mile back. The last few tenths I was counting down every .05 of a mile. I was completely out of steam. But I did it. I made the jump from 10 miles two weeks ago, to nothing last week because of being sick, to 14 miles this week. Whew.
I'm not yet convinced the 'bonk' was my body telling me to gel more frequently. I think it may have been still recovering a bit from this cold that is lingering around as a stuffy nose. Seriously, how do colds last so long!?!?
Nutrition plan today was gel at :15, :45, 1:15, 1:45. I also remembered my salt caps, and so far (knock wood) no headache. Big hooray there. Salt caps pre-run, at 1 hour, at 2 hours. Overall pace was 11:10/mile. And that was including some decent head winds at points, and a jump from 10 to 14 miles. I'm not going to complain about that. Wow. I haven't run more than a half marathon in...well....probably since the last Nike full marathon I did. That was...umm....2006?!?! Wow. Now I've impressed myself. ;-)
Lingering aches are the usual: right heel pretty tender, knees a bit achy, hip flexors sorely in need of stretching. Back very tight (which my PT says is related to my excessively tight hip flexors ~ we're working on that).
Cheers and Happy Valentine's all!