I ran 16 miles this morning. I prefer to go on my long runs on Saturday so as to have Sunday to recover. This past Saturday it rained all day. In hindsight, I probably should’ve ran on Saturday because the rain would’ve been cool and refreshing. However, wet feet & socks leads to blisters.
I get pretty pumped about going on long runs. I don’t usually dread them. If there’s an ounce of dread, it’ll show around mile 10. Today there wasn’t dread so much as there was some nervous anticipation. I slept terribly last night, last night’s meal was a bit spicier than it should’ve been, and I knew the second half of the run was mostly uphill. Sleep is a big factor. I need a lot of sleep the night before a long run. I think I only slept for a good four hours last night. I stayed up too late farting around with creating my playslist for today. I think I went to bed around 11:30. Then I read for 30 minutes. And then, for whatever reason, I woke up at 1:30 and had a hard time falling back to sleep.
My alarm turned on at 5:45 and I decided to seize the run, despite the normal eight hours of sleep I should’ve given myself. The first 10 miles were okay. The last 6 felt okay, but I didn’t keep the pace that I wanted to keep. I think that’s due to a lot of things: 1) it’s getting hotter outside (it was probably 60-degrees by 8 a.m., which is about the time I hit mile 10. I prefer 40-degree running weather. 2) Obvious lack of sleep. 3) Elevation gain 4) carrying a bottle of water (which I never do) and 5) terrain. I ran a route that consisted of major streets in south Austin with a lot of busy intersections. Luckily it was early on a Sunday, so traffic wasn’t bad, but I did have to stop running a few times and wait on traffic lights and cars.
Nutrition: Today was my first experiment in eating while running. I know I’m fine running between 10-15 miles without eating or drinking. I decided that my first 16-miler would be when I try eating. And by eating, I don’t mean a chicken leg and mashed potatoes. I mean the infamous “goo” that athletes snarf down while mid-run/ride. I’ve always liked CLIF Bars, so I decided to try a CLIF Shot. One of these goo/gel packs is usually a pack of gooey dextrose that provides quick sugars and carbs that your body can use for fuel to burn. After about an hour of intensive activity, your body pretty much depletes its glycogen. The gel packs are relatively quick to digest and bump up blood sugar levels. I’ve always had a hard time fathoming swallowing anything beyond water while running, but knew I had to practice. I took the Mocha CLIF Shot that Elise got in her goody bag from the 3M Half Marathon back in January. And I slurped it down at around mile 8. I actually took it in three servings on a downhill so I could actually close my mouth and swallow when I wasn’t panting like mad. It wasn’t bad and it didn’t jack with my digestive system. I’ve read horror stories about how some gels and goos affect people differently. Thankfully I can eat pretty much anything, so I didn’t experience any kind of gut issues. The package says you’re supposed to drink a mouthful of water after taking the shot, hence me running with a bottle of water. I didn’t much like toting around a pound of water in my hand while running. Extra weight on one arm for any given amount of time makes a difference. So, now I know I can eat & run. I think I’m going to have to carry a much smaller little bottle of water next time. I don’t think I can have one of those drink holsters on my SPI Belt. I can’t imagine that not bouncing all over the place, banging against my ass and bothering the hell out of me.
So, I ran 16 miles today and ate while doing so. I wanted to keep my pace below 7:15, but also knew that given the lack of sleep and terrain, I really just signed up to get used to the 2 hours on my feet. Once it’s cold again, and after a lot more long runs, I’m confident that I can pace myself where I need to be.