I was finally, FINALLY able to throw down a 20 miler. FINALLY! You don't know how psyched I am, although I must say that I did a really stupid thing in the middle of training, which caused me to pay for it horrendously later on.
I finally got an iphone 4, so I downloaded Nike + GPS to track my run. Before that, I usually go to geodistance.com and map out a route with a certain distance in mind. For yesterday it was 20 so I chose an out and back course that took me from home to the NYRR headquarters on 89th Street.
I was supposed to run my LR on Saturday, but I woke up late, and by the time I was about to head out the door it was already close to 80. Deciding it was better just to wait until Sunday and forgo the Continental Fifth Ave Mile race. (By the way, you know you're in marathon training mode when you skip a 1 mile race in favor of a 20 mile run!)
So the first 10 miles were routine and uneventful. I chose to run across the Manhattan Bridge and up the FDR in favor of softer ground heading up the east side rather than the west, which is partially laid out in marble some type of harder stone. At least up the east side it was more asphalt and concrete. By the time I got up to the 80s, I realized that the races would still be going on since it was all in different heats. Chris was planning to run this for one of his qualifying races, so I decided that since I had my Nike + telling me how many miles I have, I can skip the pre-planned route and headed down to Fifth Ave to see if I can catch him in his heat.
Well, by the time I got there, the whole excitement of race day got to me. And wouldn't you know it, there was a women's heat getting ready to go. I made the decision to slip into the race and see if I can run a fast mile, and rationed with myself that it would be part of my long run anyway, and since I already paid for this race, I should just go through with it, even though I didn't have my number or chip.
Now let me just say that, the switch from a slow 20 mile pace to a 1 mile sprint was the most excruciating thing I could've done, and I realize in hindsight that I could have seriously injured myself. (Thank goodness I didn't!) It was stupid and wreck-less. And now I'm laughing in pain because I was stupid and wreck-less. I pulled about a 9:20 despite being all the way in the back. However, I wasn't timed so I can't really be sure. But since I already have put in about 11 miles before the race, I was secretly happy with the result, and knew that if I had fresh legs, I probably would've smoked my 8:51 PB. I crossed the finish line with my legs locked up. It was the weirdest finish ever! I felt like Frankenstein hobbling in. (Gonna have to look at the race day lost and found photos later.)
Anyway, I grabbed an apple and ate half, took a cup of water, and stood around for a few minutes until I bumped into a friend who informed me that the men's heat were already done. So much for watching Chris. I continued on back to 1st Avenue to head downtown. Chris called me to say he was in Chinatown and to meet him, so I said okay and headed back towards the FDR to finish the rest of the run.
I walked pretty much the entire mile 13 because I decided I needed a banana to calm this cramping. Then when I got to 14th Street, my calves were hurting. It felt like stone. It was the most intense pain I've felt in a long time, and I know it was because they were just tired. At that point I found a water fountain and refilled my bottle, and then found a bench to stretch the muscles out. I was beyond frustrated that this would happen every time I ran to this distance. It was always around the 16th or so mile.
So after some stretching and the 5 minute pity party I threw myself, I got up and started walking. When I got to 17 I started shuffling slowly, and tried to speed up again after the threat of cramping disappeared. Once I reached mile 18 I was psyched again, knowing I only had 2 more miles. I called Chris and him to meet me at home, since I was already close to Chinatown and crossing the bridge back to Brooklyn would give me the distance.
Once I got to the bridge I was excited. My legs were still feeling like stone, but mentally I felt great. Somewhere in the middle of the bridge my phone died, so the Nike + recorded only 19.2. I knew once I got off the bridge, according to Nike I would still have another 1.5 before I reached home, and since I killed myself with the race, I decided it would be okay just to speed walk the rest of the way home. Had the Nike+ kept going, it would've pegged probably pegged me between 21-22. But because geodistance's distance is shorter, I'll estimate the entire run to be between 20-21. Either way, I was happy that I got that in.
Knowing I can physically do 20 miles is the thing I need to keep in mind these next few weeks. Next week I have a HM and a 10k race, and the week after is another 20, which, if all goes well, I can try to add in another 2 miles. But I'll cross that bridge when I get to it.
We all know the last 10k is where the marathon really begins, and I need to get ready for that!