I have never run farther than 13 miles before (Bataan Death March Marathon notwithstanding – it was more of a military march). So Sunday represents the farthest I’ve ever run in training. I didn’t want to voice it out loud before but, the truth is, I was really really nervous.
I think my nerves for this 14 miles made me self sabotage the last 2 weeks. Again, it wasn’t something I wanted to talk about at the time but I was in a slump. A lot of it was the heat and humidity. It was relentless! And I couldn’t figure out the hydration belt situation. And I just couldn’t make anything click. I was getting depressed about it. It all hinged on this long run. I decided to go back to the run team so I could have the best chance of finishing the run and not letting my mind make me back out in any way (i.e. only do 6 miles out instead of 7).
The run team was a great help. And since most of them are training for Chicago, they were doing 7.5 out instead of 7. I tagged along anyway. It’s nice to run in a group sometimes. Also, interestingly, they all showed up with a Camelpak hydration backpack the same as I brought! Mine is 5 years old but only used twice and in great shape. They bought theirs after their last week’s 14 miler which they said was hell on Earth. I told you the last week was HOT! We were all starting a long run with a brand new piece of gear that could go horribly wrong. In the end, it didn’t. It was the best piece of gear any of us had ever experienced on a run and we must have said so 20 times during the run. I’ll talk more about it later because I could go on and on about that Camelpak.
When I left the house in the morning (5:00) it said 82 degrees and 91% humidity. I was like, ok, another one of these huh? Bring it on. But the humidity gradually died down throughout the morning to a low of 74%. Regardless, I felt that our morning run was the coolest I’ve felt running in a long time. When you’re used to 102 degree heat and super high humidity, the 80’s and 90’s feel like autumn! (that pretty much is autumn in south Florida)
The miles weren’t so bad until maybe mile 11, then we all started feeling it. I think it’s because it got significantly hotter around that time. Also, our water and electrolyte needs were increasing, just as all our stores were decreasing. Then, with all the sweat and humidity, our socks ended up drenched. It was like I was running in water soaked shoes and socks. My feet couldn’t have felt wetter if I had jumped in a pool. It didn’t end up too badly with 14 miles but 20 miles? I’ve got to figure it out before then (i.e. bring extra socks?). Oh, and technically I did 14.5 miles. Hey, that extra half mile counts when these weekends are only building by 1 mile.
Also, by mile 11, we were in need of salt. Big time. That’s going to be a must-add to my next run. Rather than the salt tablets I think I’ll just use the margarita shot blocks from Clif Bar. Those things work really well, and you can definitely taste the salt. This seemed to be the answer to the riddle of my hamstring issue because the more salt I’ve been consuming (before and during the run), the less I have issue with my muscles. Thankfully, that tells me it’s nutritional rather than a proper injury.
It’s Monday now and I’m quite sore. Surprisingly so. I’m not so out of shape that I can’t do 14 miles after all. And it’s just building onto the last 12 I ran (11, 12, 9, 14, 15, 13, 17, 18…). I honestly think it’s the “hills” that the run team coach put us on for training, despite us assuring him that neither Chicago nor DC had hills!! But he had us running overpasses on our route and various other inclines that I didn’t think existed in south Florida. Lemme tell ya, I feel it today. Wow. But it’s also the best I’ve felt about my runs in a long time! I’m so happy I did the 14 and I’m frickin jump-out-of-my-seat excited about hitting 15 and more! It’s insane. I feel pretty proud of myself, not gonna lie. And I maaaaay have sent a few (*cough* dozen) texts to tell friends and family about my run.
Good luck to all you other marathoners-in-training out there! If you have any other helpful tidbits for conquering the long runs, let me know!