20!!! My first 20 mile training run, that is. I started recruiting running partners last weekend after my 17 miler.
We met at the park and ran the New Years Double course. Fiona, Robin, Alicia, Sharon, and Lesley all started with me. The first 6.xx mile loop felt great. Since we started at 6am it was dark and I had to keep turning on the light to check my pace on my Garmin. I'm a horrible pacer and at least in the short term, 9:30 and 12:30 can feel the same to me. Too bad 9:30 is not my long run pace. I bought the double pouch iFitness belt on Friday because I always have trouble getting my Spibelt to balance just right after I access my fuel (I always carry my phone when I run). Anyway, I carried my Honey Stinger waffles with me in the new belt so I could eat them at each hour. I ate the first one at 60 minutes with no problem. At the end of our first loop I refilled my handheld bottle at the car. Fiona had to leave. Three of us had to use the bathroom but we ended up at different park bathrooms so we never met back up with Alicia and Sharon (although they continued on to run Sharon's first 15 miler together). Robin left us at 10. The second loop still felt good and I was comfortably holding pace. Libby joined us before we got back to the cars. I ate another waffle at the 2 hour mark. We refilled handheld bottles again at the end of the second loop, now at 13.xx miles. Lesley ran a bit longer but had to leave around 15 miles. It worked out perfectly that Libby is in taper and also wanted to sleep a bit later, so she was my sole 3rd loop partner. I dropped my pace just a little bit, but overall still felt good. At 17 miles Libby gave me a high five for the distance PR to come! At the farthest point on our turnaround I was getting low on water and thought I'd have to get water from somebody's water hose in the yard. Thankfully the park water fountains were on. It was in the upper 60's with 80-something% humidity... Not ideal weather, but good to have a long run with that kind of weather to practice in. I managed to eat at least half of my last waffle. I struggled, but I wanted to err on the side of extra fuel vs not enough. After 18 miles I took a 1 minute walk break at every half mile instead of every mile. It made the last little bit feel mentally easier. With probably less than a quarter mile back to the cars, my watch beeped for 20 miles. I got another high five from Libby and we walked back to the cars.
It was a really good run. The weather was hotter and more humid than my other long runs, yet I felt the best. Maybe I have my nutrition and hydration figured out. My final time for the 20 was 4:02:56. That includes the 1 minute walk breaks at each mile marker and the 2 extras at 18.5 and 19.5. A few friends have thrown some support my way for a 5 hour marathon- if the weather is good. It sure would be nice if that were the case, since I don't have a friend to pace me, and the slowest pacer for the marathon is 5 hours. We'll see how it goes and race day weather falls, but that may be an option.
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