Saturday, July 30, 2011

Nineteen miles, seven hours later


Holy Pete. 19 miles.  I did that today.  It took me a long time, but I ran 19 miles.  This is a seriously good day.  I couldn't write about it right when I got home because I was too tired to lift my arms the three inches to my laptop keyboard.  After a nap I'm feeling a little better... but still kinda wrecked.

I met my friends Bill and Dave in a dark parking lot this morning at 5:00 AM, what is now becoming our standard time to beat the bikers and the heat.  If I have company, it doesn't freak me out to run in the dark.  I am grateful for the first half hour or so, because for whatever reason anything we do before the sun comes up doesn't feel like it happened since a) I can't see it and b) I'm still half asleep.  (I did miss Kel's usual chattiness, though!  I never realized how much she talks us through the first bit of our run.)  We took one of our usual routes along Lake Natoma and then pushed on up the hill toward Folsom Lake, then slowly but surely backtracked to our cars .

Just to give you an idea of how much of a climb this run is, here's the elevation chart:

According to my Garmin there's an elevation gain of 780 feet on the first half of the route.  All I know is it feels like running up the face of El Capitan.  Or at least that's what I imagine.  I might be exaggerating.  Slightly.  Bill turned around at mile 8 or so to do a speedy finish with another friend, but Dave and I forged on and he did the rest of the run with me.  I was pleased as punch to get to the levee road and turn around near Beals Point, and not just because I got to eat more beans.

On that note... Last night I was forward-thinking enough to pre-make my oatmeal for today, and I was thankful I did.  Last week I ran on an empty stomach and it was much harder.  I downed a Gu at mile 5-ish, but Gus have been kind of an exercise in gaggery for me lately, so I also tried sport beans again today.  It had been a while but they worked out great, and who doesn't love jellybeans?  Much easier to get down and stay fueled. I noticed today I'm drinking way more water during the run than I was in early summer--even if it seems cooler my body must be losing a lot through sweat.  I was a salty, sopping crust-bag by the time we were finished.  Sexy, I know.

Today we took the same approach as last week, and what I am sure will be my plan of attack for NorCal in September.  In order to practice walking the aid stations we took walk breaks every two miles or so.  Near the end I needed them more, but I am convinced the walk breaks are why I am not feeling injured right now.  Much easier on the body, and they don't take that much off my time.

I'm grateful for a few things, post-run:

1.  I am happy my hip/knee/IT band have not bothered me one bit in about three weeks.
2.  The weather today was originally supposed to be really hot, and it ended up being awesome.
3.  I am grateful for running buddies who don't mind taking it slow.  (My normal = other people's slow.)
4.  My body seems to be adapting to this long long run thing and taking a beating a little better each week.
5.  I'm figuring out more each week about what works best for me in the departments of eating, drinking and sleeping.

I did have one little mishap but it was beyond my control.  At mile 16 or so I got some migraine aura.  It has only happened on one other run, and that was last spring (on a 9 mile run, which sounds like a lovely little vacation right about now).  You can see an explanation/illustration of what migraine aura is here.  Since I know what it is, it's not scary like it used to be.  Well, not in the worry-sense.  Miles 16-18 are not a great time to have a giant zig-zaggy crescent in your field of vision.  It was annoying and I think it made me feel a little more tired than I should have by then.

We started out this morning a little faster than I meant to, but not resulting in any pain.  I know I paid for it a little bit on the tail end of the run, but my eye drama was affecting me by then too.  One thing about a challenge like the eye thing is it makes me feel more confident that I can actually get through 26.2 miles, even with some issues.  I keep thinking to myself things like well, now I know that I can run even if I have migraine aura.  Each week there's a new surprise, but it's making me trust my abilities more and more.

Here are my splits:

As you can see, I'm not fast but I'm gettin' it done.

I am immensely proud of myself.  My previous longest run was 16.44 miles last week.  19 was a huge leap, and I'm excited to keep building (slowly) in the weeks to come before my race.  I've got a 21 and a 23 miler planned before the big day with some 17s in between.  (Next week is a step back to 17 and I'm happy about that!)

As with my last long run I'm still having some tightness in my right hamstring, but nothing injury-feeling.  I figure with that kind of a climb, one or the other of my hamstrings would have to be yelling at me.  The weather was perfection--the sunrise over Lake Natoma made the lake glow a periwinkle blue against the backdrop of the orange sky.  We saw baby quail and turkeys and bunnies... even a few scary vulture lookin' things that made me nearly jump out of my socks.

I'm feelin' good, Internet.  Well, I'm feelin' tired, tired, and hungry.  But good.  Proud.  (And did I say tired?)


  1. What's the calorie burn on a 19-mile run at that pace? I bet it's a ton, no wonder you're hungry. Go eat lady!

    Congrats on the milestone!

  2. @Katie--2,129 calories, according to my Garmin. FOOD TIME!!! :)

  3. I agree! Walk runs every couple of miles are AWESOME and helped me immensely too.. I found walking through the aid stations, grabbing both a cup of electrolyte drink and a cup of water, drinking them and then stretching the quads worked best for me and is the only reason I made it through my 1/2. I have no intentions in ever doing a full (my knees would probably fall off) so I am so in awe of you and everyone else who has done one. If you got 19, you got 26.2... :)