This week, I had 16 miles as my long run. For some reason, 16 miles is the first time I actually started respecting the distance, probably because 14 isn’t such a departure from 13.1.
The other thing on the calendar for this weekend is the Gypsy Runner’s cousin’s wedding. Since I was very tired after my 14 mile run 2 weeks ago, I decided that running 16 miles the morning of the wedding was a bad idea. However, I also didn’t want to run on Sunday because I wanted to actually enjoy the wedding — i.e., eat and drink what I wanted and not worry about getting to bed early. Thankfully, my job is flexible, so I decided to take Friday off.
The next question was: where to run? The Gypsy Runner and I have our eye on the Coastal Trail Run Lake Chabot race, so I thought I’d run the half marathon course (13 miles) and add another 5K to that to get 16.1 miles. Now, some of you might remember my last half marathon experience at Lake Chabot and how traumatic that was… but fortunately, the Coastal Trail Runs course is much more runnable, with ~700 feet less elevation gain. As for the hills, my strategy was to run/walk at 1 minute intervals, which worked out fabulously.
Like I said, this was the first long run where I actually prepared in advance: I was careful to eat well and stay hydrated the day before. The night before, I laid out all of my fuel and prepped my post-run Gatorade and cantaloupe. I had a little trouble going to sleep, so I reread my Lake Chabot Trail Challenge race recap to “get my mind right.” I knew it would probably be a long and tiring 16 miles, and I would be better off if I was mentally prepared.
I woke up not super well-rested, but feeling excited for the run. I ate my usual PB&J and experimented by drinking a small cup of coffee. I picked up the Gypsy Runner and we were at Lake Chabot by 9:30 a.m. It was cool, foggy, and perfect; autumn was definitely in the air. The Gypsy Runner and I ran together for about 0.75 miles, after which he took off. His plan was to run 12 miles of the half marathon course. Since he would be done so much earlier than me, our plan was for him to go back to his house, shower, eat a snack, and then come back to pick me up when I was finished.
Besides the 2 bathroom stops I had to make at miles 1 and 4 (meaning, no more pre-run coffee for me!), most of my run was fairly uneventful. There was beautiful scenery, one steep hill and several smaller ones, 2 nice ladies riding horses, and 3 wild turkeys at mile 15. The only other issue I had was with my Garmin, which has traditionally been tripped up by trail runs and tree cover. It didn’t help that, at some point, I paused my Garmin and forgot to turn it back on, losing ~0.5 miles. Between that and the East Bay Regional Park trail map, I’d guess that I ran 15.6 – 16.1 miles in total. Let’s just go with 16 miles, shall we?
Notes on fueling:
– 1 Gatorade Prime immediately before the run
– 1 Clif Blok each, at miles 4, 10, 13
– 1 Clif Shot (Strawberry + caffeine; ok — about same as Gu) at mile 7
– 1 12oz handheld of Cytomax
– 1 water fountain break at mile 13
Mentally, this was the strongest I’ve felt during a long run. It wasn’t until the last mile that I started with my usual, “Is this over yet? Can I stop already?” Even that was more due to actual physical rather than mental fatigue. After the run, the Gypsy Runner remarked that I did not look like I had just run 16 miles. And it was true — I felt pretty good yesterday after the run, taking only a short 30 minute nap. Today, I feel really good — hardly any soreness. It was a sweet 16 indeed!
Stats: 16 miles @ ~11:46 pace (1654 feet elevation gain)