So, uh, I ran 12 miles yesterday. THAT IS CRAZY. This was officially the last long run of my half marathon training. Welcome to the sweet, glorious taper weeks, my friends!
Check out how different the great outdoors looks from when I started these training shenanigans with a 5 miler.
Green grass > snow.
Prepping for yesterday’s run started on Saturday. No alcohol, lots of water and coconut water, a delicious plate of spaghetti and meatballs for dinner, and 10 glorious hours of sleep. It was the first time I paid very careful attention to what I did the day before. Physically, it definitely helped, but I think the biggest help was mentally. Even though I was still nervous about running 12 miles, I felt prepared. And that was an awesome feeling!
Woke up around 7am, checked the radar and saw this:
I was not at all surprised. It has been raining off and on for a week and I didn’t really expect Mother Nature to hold off for my 12-miler. I prepared by sticking everything in plastic baggies.
I veered a bit from my typical pre-run breakfast (okay, a lot) and decided to have overnight oats with banana soft serve on top. No real reason for the change, just wanted to try something different. It worked awesome. For my 10-miler, I was really hungry by about mile 5, but this lasted me until about mile 10. Awesome!
Fuel for the run. Again, trying something different. After a charity walk I did a few weeks back, I was given these Clif Shot Bloks as a sample and was pleasantly surprised to look at the ingredient list and not see a bunch of chemicals. Just in case they sucked (or were disgusting) I also packed the standard dates.
I headed out to the trail and apparently I was the only person who felt the need to exercise at 8am on a rainy Easter Sunday.
As soon as I set out on the trail, I knew that, even though my legs and body felt fresh, I was really going to struggle with the humidity. Usually I am incredibly good about keeping my breathing regulated, but I felt like I had to suck in twice as much of the heavy, moist air to get any oxygen.
About a mile in, the trail was flooded. I questioned if I should run through it. All that kept going through my head was, “Blisters. Blisters. Blisters!” but I figured with my microfiber socks and venty-mesh shoes, I would be good. Through the water!
For the next 3 miles, it was a pretty uneventful run. Because I was so focused on the crazy humidity, I had a hard time letting my mind wander (like I usually do) but I felt generally fine. I stopped every now and again to stretch, walk and rest a bit.
I stopped and took my first three Shot Bloks at 4 1/2 miles. They tasted AMAZING. I so loved them. And since I’m usually decaf, the little bit of caffeine in them almost immediately kicked in and I felt strong.
Also stumbled upon two sets of keys, sitting on a fence post, within sight of the cars they went to. Either people are way more trusting than I am or they just forget them there. Hopefully no one got their cars stolen or broken into.
Made it all the way up to Downtown to my turn around point.
Took an extended break here to eat the rest of the Shot Bloks, drink a ton of water, blow my nose, reapply some chapstick and text the Babyface that I was still kickin’.
Does anyone else get a crazy sense of relief at the halfway point? I always feel like, “Oh hey! I can totally do that again.” and the second half feels mentally easier (although physically harder).
I also had to dump some rocks out of my shoes. About 4 miles out of the 12 was on a dirt/gravel trail and the little pea gravel always sneaks its way into my shoes somehow. Also of note, my shoes and socks were totally dry by this point.
Miles 6-8 were a little rough because the rain stopped, the sun started to come out, and the temp jumped. The humidity was ridiculous. And it felt even worse because my clothes were soaked. Somewhere along here I rolled up my pants.
Then, as I was just about to cross back onto the dirt trail (and therefore, the sweet, glorious shade of the woods) and older guy stopped me to ask me some questions about the trails. He spiraled into some really cute stories about running—which at any other time, I would have loved to listen to. Unfortunately, 8 miles into a 12 mile run is not really a good time to stop and stand around for 10 minutes. I tried to keep my legs moving without seeming rude, but I eventually just had to tell the guy I had to go.
After such a long break, my legs were pretty much shot for the remaining 4 miles. I refused to quit, but I definitely started a more consistent run/walk interval. My hamstrings and bum were seizing up and cramping. It wasn’t miserable. But certainly wasn’t the most comfortable I’d ever been. I ate quite a few dates during this section, too, just trying to keep my blood sugar up.
To top it off, I had drained my CamelBak with two miles left. Thankfully, they had turned the water fountains on!
The last mile was a lot of running with my head down. I try to keep my head up while running and take in all that is around me, but during this last mile, I just put my head down and watched (and willed) my feet to go. Before I knew it, I looked up and saw this awesome sign:
Sweet glorious success!
I ran out of fingers.
Once I got home, it was time. You knew this was coming.
After all the muscle cramping in the last few miles, I knew I was going to have to do a full ice bath. I was not looking forward to this. Put a hoodie on top.
And shorts on the bottom.
BTHRDad offered a nice bit of advice after watching me dive my foot in an ice bath last time. Start off with lukewarm water, then add some cold, then add some ice. Genius! It definitely helped get rid of the shock factor.
Terrible lighting in our bathroom.
Really, the ice bath wasn’t all that bad. I was so warm from the run that the cold water actually felt kinda nice. I lasted 7 or 8 minutes before my toes got so cold they felt like they were going to fall off.
Not sure why I try to keep my toes painted when running.
The lighting might have been horrible, but this is a pretty accurate picture of how red my legs got in the cold, cold water.
Post ice bath, I was starving and an egg sandwich sounded like pretty much the best thing on Earth.
Basil, tomato, egg, bacon and parmesan on wheat buns. This was amazing. Plus some coconut water.
This only kept me full for about an hour. My stomach grumbled all day yesterday. For comedy, I’m going to post everything I ate post-run yesterday. Please keep in mind, I weigh 50-75 pounds more than the “average” female runner. Which means I burn an absurd amount more calories during a 12 mile run and need to replace that. Also, my philosophy on long run days is that I can eat whenever I’m hungry and whatever sounds good. I barely replaced any calories after my 8-miler because I felt so sick and it took me days to feel normal again. Here is all the food I shoveled in my mouth throughout the day yesterday:
- Egg, bacon, basil, tomato + cheese open-face sandwich
- Coconut water
- Three hard-boiled eggs (eggs just sounded amazing all day)
- A chocolate green monster
- Cadbury Egg (yum!)
- Three Godiva truffles
- Four mini chocolate eggs
- Dark chocolate almond cluster (Easter candy, yo!)
- A big bowl of pot roast, potatoes and carrots from the slow cooker
That’s a lot. And I still went to bed hungry. I still don’t think I ate enough to make up for the 2500-3000 calories I burned during my run. Running is crazy.
Less than two weeks until my half!
Nothing to do with this post: at my “real job” a website I worked on has been nominated for a Webby Award (“the Oscars of the Internet”) and it is a huge deal! If you have a chance, it would great if you could head over here and vote for the Indiana University School of Informatics and Computing. Please and thank you!