Sunday, September 18, 2011

Mountain Dew, elixir of the gods...

Did I mention that I had a great speed work run on Wednesday? Ha, I know I did, in fact I just belatedly uploaded that post. What I didn't mention is that by Wednesday my quad problems were pretty much gone, maybe all gone but I can't remember if I was sure of that on Wednesday or not until Friday.

Anyhow, Friday was slated to be my final long (20+) run before tapering toward Portland. I wanted to do 22 but I was open to cutting back to 20, if that seemed necessary in order to get to work in a timely fashion. This would be my third 20-miler in this training cycle. I originally had four on my plan, but one got switched out for a 16.55 mile hike.

My first one was on August 7, and apparently I didn't post about it. I ran all around Marysville and ended up at my parents' house at something just over 20 miles. It was by no means easy, but I was pretty steady and my average overall pace was about 9:50.

My second 20+ distance was two weeks later, August 21 on my birthday weekend. I started out with 10K on the road at sub-10 pace, added a 13.1 mile trail run at a much slower pace, and forced out 1.8 miles afterwards to push the total over 21.

So it was almost four weeks between that last one and this week, but I did squeeze in a strong 17 miles on August 28, the hike on September 3, 12.5 miles on September 5, a 15K race on September 10 and 13.1 mile run on September 11, and various medium-length weekday runs, of course.

I was having strange dreams again on Thursday night, mostly about not having time to finish the run on Friday morning. This made me a bit apprehensive and nervous!

I really, really intended to start at 6 a.m. on Friday morning. Or 6:30, anyway. I did wake up a little after 5, and was up by 5:30 to get breakfast. When I am going to be running a long distance in the morning, I need to eat a pretty full breakfast beforehand since I won't be done until almost lunchtime.

If it's not a race day, I don't worry too much about having a lot of time to digest. I figure that will happen while I run (especially if I am not trying to run too fast). I toasted two low fat whole grain waffles and spread them with almond butter and strawberry jam. I also had part of an Americano that I had saved overnight in the fridge.

Even though I didn't mean to wait a long while to digest, I did lay around for a little while longer...I ended up out the door at 7 a.m. At least it was fully daylight by then!

This time I can say for sure that my quad difficulties were completely gone. I felt so pleased and thankful. I had resigned myself to "living with it" indefinitely (in the way that I continue to live with my touchy achilles tendon and ankle).

I started out listening to the remainder of The Jane Austen Book Club on my iphone. I had joined to get a free download and that was my first book. I don't know if I am going to cancel or not, but since then I have purchased several "sale" books for $4.95 each and I have quite a collection of listening material to draw from. I can't believe how expensive audio books can be! Much more than paperbacks or e-books...comparable to hardbacks, but without the discounts that you can get on regular books.

That book brought me to about 8.5 miles. After a slow first mile, I settled into an easy pace, mostly in the 9:50s. After I finished mile 9, I used the bathroom (port a potty at McDonald's where the bathrooms were closed due to construction), ate a Gu, and turned on my next audio book--Ultramarathon Man by Dean Karnazes. I've read it before (I'd read the Jane Austen Book Club too), but it was years ago and I thought it would be good for pushing through a long run!

I was nearing 11 miles as I approached QFC (which is my typical end point for most runs) and I think I ran around the block to get to 11 before I took another bathroom stop (knowing that it would be about another hour before I approached the next bathroom). Then I headed east on Everett Avenue toward East Grand and Marine View Drive. I was feeling all right. I thought about the women I knew who were walking the first day of the Breast Cancer 3-day that morning. We might have started around the same time of day but I knew I had many more miles in already! It sounds crazy, but I really think that running at a moderate pace is easier than walking. I knew I would finish my 22 miles by late morning but I couldn't imagine walking all day for the same distance! And I think that my legs were more wrecked after that 16.5 mile walk/hike than they have been after any long run (though not necessarily after a marathon).

At 15 miles, I planned to take more fuel. I got out my packet of Luna Moons and ate one piece. It might have made more sense to eat at least half the packet and get more of a rush of energy, but I wanted to space out the pieces to give me something to look forward to each mile. There are six pieces in a package. I had one at 15, one at 16, and one at 17, where I made my final bathroom stop.

Around mile 17, though, I felt myself starting to flag. My running pace seemed to drop below 10 minutes (or would that be over 10 minutes?), even though I felt like I was making the same effort. Looking at my splits, my pace didn't actually suffer until the next couple miles, but I was definitely hitting a wall at mile 17 (even though it was a low wall, it's not like I wasn't going to make it or anything).

I was at the Marina and there were a couple of pop and candy machines, and I thought I might find a Gatorade or something in one of them. But the pop machine had only pop, and the candy machine didn't have anything that seemed better than my Luna Moons. However...I looked at the pop machine selections and my eyes fixed on Mountain Dew. I don't know if I've ever had a "real" Mountain Dew (I've always drank diet pop), and it's been years since I've even had Diet Dew, but somehow I thought that the bright yellow sugar and caffeine spiked drink might be something I would like.

I drank a few, that was tasty. I have never had anything so delicious. I poured the rest of the can in one of my water bottles (I would soon learn that was a bit of a mistake), and headed on my way.

I don't know if it was all psychological or there really was something powerful in that Mountain Dew, but I almost immediately felt rejuvenated. At the next traffic light (luckily only about half a mile away), I pulled out the bottle again and discovered that the carbonation had made it fizz up and leak onto my shirt (luckily the shirt was orange, so I wasn't sporting bright yellow stains) and I'd lost quite a bit. That was okay...I drank the rest over the next half mile or so and then just went back to my remaining bottle of Nuun for the rest of the run.

Although I use gels and stuff on long runs and in races, I have never really felt their effect. I have never had the experience of feeling low in energy (well, I have had that feeling) and then getting reenergized after fueling. Of course I have had my ups and downs, and second and third winds, but I have just never associated that with my fuel.

But on this day I truly did feel like the Mountain Dew gave me a kick in the pants that kept me going and revived me. Yes, my splits after mile 17 are among my slowest, but they did include a notoriously slow-for-me stretch and some ass-kicking hills. So I'm still claiming victory.

After 17 miles, I had either 5K or five miles left to go, depending on whether I stopped at 20 or went for 22. I couldn't make that decision at that point. I decided just to keep on going on the planned route and see how I was doing, whether I should turn early for home or see it through. Even though I was later in the day than I had planned, I was still pretty sure I had enough time to finish either way.

The last few miles took me down Terminal Avenue and along a pedestrian walking path that is about 3/4 mile each way. Even though it is short, I have never really liked this path much. I don't know why. Maybe because it is bordered with chain link fence on either side and there is no where to go if I need to escape. (I'd have to outrun whoever I was trying to escape from.) Still, I headed for the end, and back, and that was enough to ensure that I would be close to 22 miles by the end of my run.

Although I was going to finish with a downhill on Everett Avenue, my final mile or two required climbing back up the hills that had earlier brought me down to the waterfront and Terminal Avenue. Finally, though, I was at Pacific and Colby, and it was all downhill from there. In a good way! My splits for 22.22 miles....

1 - 10:40
2 - 9:57
3 - 9:34
4 - 9:47
5 - 9:50
6 - 9:50
7 - 9:52
8 - 10:13
9 - 9:56
10 - 10:00
11 - 9:52
12 - 9:59
13 - 9:50
14 - 9:38
15 - 9:48
16 - 9:35
17 - 9:53
18 - 10:18
19 - 10:04
20 - 9:54
21 - 10:02
22 - 9:53
Plus .22 at 9:26
3:40:31, average pace 9:56.

Woo hoo! Sushi and watermelon for lunch. And later, there was cake. And pizza. And then a little more cake.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

1 comment:

Elizabeth said...

That's a fantastic long run! Congrats! Sounds like you are all ready for Portland.