Monday, April 27, 2015

About those 11 miles

I'll be reviewing this soon too! 

My 12 mile run a couple of weekends ago was ok and I was able to do some of those miles with friends so that was good. But when I hit mile 8 I kind of petered out. My last few miles were much slower than the previous ones. I felt totally drained.

So, yesterday before I set out on my last double-digit run before the thirteener, I had some goals. I wanted to finish faster than I started and I wanted to run smart. I knew I needed to run 11, which sadly is not evenly divisible by anything. I made do though and broke my run up into uneven sections. For each section I had an average goal pace. For the first 3 miles I wanted to warm up and run slower, 10:45-11:00 min pace. The next 3 I wanted to pick up the pace and run slightly slower than race pace, ideally 10:20. Then I would slow it down again, around 10:30-10:40, for two miles and finish up the last three faster than race pace, preferably at 10:00. I wanted to wind up with a 10:20-10:30 average pace for the whole thing. So, that's basically what I did:

1. 10:43
2. 10:22
3. 10:44
avg: 10:37

4. 10:16
5. 10:24
6. 10:20
avg: 10:20

7. 10:33
8. 10:24
avg: 10:29

9. 10:38

10. 10:11
11. 9:28
avg: 9:49

I realized as I was heading back that mile 8-9 was going to land me right up a hill so I decided to just let it go and not worry too much about being faster. Although I had walked the first minute of each mile up until that point (1-8), I wasn't planning on walking for miles 9-11. All things considered I'm not too disappointed with a 10:38 mile going up hill, especially on tired legs.

Full disclosure: I stopped to take this picture while running up the hill. 

My warm up was pretty close to what I wanted. I wasn't sure why I ran slightly faster in mile 2 & then I remembered the dogs barking in their yard motivated me to go a little quicker. I just don't trust invisible fences. I'm pretty stoked that I ran the second part exactly as I wanted to, as well as the third. I am SUPER stoked that I ran the last part much quicker and that my last mile was my fastest. I had a bit of help from some cowbells and good friends who magically appear on their doorsteps at the exact right moment. I did the whole 11 miles in 10:23, which was faster than I have ever done 11 miles before. I was hurting a bit when I was done but not as I expected. I actually felt pretty strong and like I could continue running. Except for the extremely painful chafing! My target skirt just didn't cut it. I ordered a new skirt with longer compression sleeves underneath that are not supposed to ride up, so I hope it gets shipped soon. Until then I'll have to run with capris and compression sleeves and hope I don't sweat to death.

Besides having a specific plan for this run, I did a couple of other things differently to avoid the slowdown at the end. I've been experimenting with Runner's Tea, a special tea blend made just for, you guessed it, runners (look for a full review soon!). I had some for my 12 mile run but I didn't drink it until the latter half. Yesterday I drank it right away, during the first 3 miles and then the rest of the time I drank regular water. I also recently bought more Honey Stinger chews. I haven't been using anything on my long runs and thought I was ok but after the 12 miler I thought it was a good time to get some more chews and see if they would make a difference. I started using the chews, two at a time, around mile 4 or 5 and finished them by mile 8. I think the combination of the Runner's Tea and the Honey Stinger chews kept my energy up, even though I was running much faster than I normally do for long runs. I didn't feel weak or tired.

I think I'm going to stick with this plan for my half. I'm sure with adrenaline and running with friends I'll be able to knock off a few seconds from my average pace and get back down to 2:15. The hard part will be not starting too fast. I may force myself to walk the very first minute to try to avoid the big rush of going out too quick. I really want to finish faster than I start.

Before I plan my strategy for the thirteener, I need to run my A goal race this Saturday. But that's another blog post.

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