Wednesday, August 22, 2007

15 miler and the new garmin

Garmin is my new BFF. Seriously. BFF. I spent my first run using it - a 4.5 miler last Tuesday - with my eyes darting back and forth between the road and the watch. It's really freeing to just head out of the house and start running until I run the miles I planned, rather than guessing how far I'm running or planning out a route beforehand. And, of course, I'll be able to see how much I'm improving as time goes on (there will be no going the opposite way).

On Thursday, J went for a nice 3+ mile run, the first run he's been on in well over a year. It's good that he's getting back out there and I think he already feels better from that one run. Let's see if he can stay with it.

So, Saturday was our first 15-miler. I don't know about most people, but the 15-mile hurdle is a big psychological one for me. 13 feels like a lot, but nothing close to a marathon. 15 miles feels like that marathon is attainable - even though still a good 11 miles more. Plus, after two crushing 13-milers, my confidence level was low.

After last week's stomach woes, I made a strong effort to watch my food intake staying away from fiber and dairy. I made mashed potatoes and a tuna sandwich for dinner on Friday night and had my usual, pb on bread for breakfast. My stomach was already out of whack before I left the house on Saturday morning and I was mildly concerned. It's happened before and I've had great runs, so I wasn't terribly nervous, though.

The weather was prime running temps - 60s and clear skies - that morning. A lot of the group was absent with it being one of the last summer weeks and lots of people on vacation. Jodi, Roishine, and I started off slowly to keep some energy in the tank for those later miles. The first 3 or 4 miles flew by. Then we hit the hills. They lasted forever, but with only a slight incline, so we were able to maintain pace. Somewhere along this hill, I gave up on my fuel belt. (It's really been giving me issues with it riding up and bothering my stomach. I think I'm gonna have to shorten the belt. I definitely got the wrong size.) We hit the first water station and ate some animal crackers and set off again. We've been taking a long time at the water stops, which has me a bit nervous we're not preparing properly for the actual race. We'll worry about that later. We pressed on still feeling good. We ran, kept running, ran some more. Nothing too eventful. Actually, that was an event in itself. I was wearing new shoes, which felt great, and I was worried about heel pain that had surfaced earlier that weak, but feet were fine on all counts. Phew.

The route took us into some backroads of Glastonbury, beautiful country roads I wouldn't consider running alone for their lack of shoulder and surplus of sharp, hidden turns. Strength in groups, though, right? Oh, and there were hills. Lots of them.

The halfway point was at the top of the hill. I tried to eat some powerade gu chocolate (noting for future reference), but my stomach just wasn't into it, so I ended up carrying it through most of the next few miles. I ate little bits of it to try and get some calories, but my stomach wasn't feeling hot at all at this point. The next couple miles chipped away and we finally hit the last water stop. We hung around here for a bit. I just wanted to get going so we could finish this thing up. Those last couple miles stretched on and on. My legs were getting tired and my spirit flagging. 15 miles is just a long time to be on your legs, you know? We even took a short walk break on a downhill! That's just lame of us.

We kept pushing and finally finished up. I'm not sure our actual pace because I let the garmin run through all the water stops, but I will be sure not to do that next week. I'd like to have a real idea what kind of pace we're running.

I feel so much better being able to check that run off the list, like we're officially into the big miles now or something. And what's even more of a confidence boost? I felt pretty darn good through that run (aside from the stomach) and only minimally sore the next day.

This week we have a 16 on Saturday and I'm just trying to get in some of the weekly runs. Getting up early is getting harder and harder for me lately. I'm just SO tired. I could probably fall asleep right now!

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