So for my first 20 miler ever and part of my training for the Marine Corps Marathon, I did this event. It is designed to fit nicely into the schedule for those running MCM as the group that organized this event also trains people for MCM among other races. Anyway.... I went to bed Friday night as a decent hour. I did my usual night before positive visualizations of me running strong and feeling good. I know it may sound silly, but I feel that it really works for me to do this as I am drifting of to sleep.
I got up Saturday morning BEFORE my alarm as my darling, elderly dog walked into my room POOPING and walked out. Gee, Sampson, perhaps a little bark before the poop and I could have gotten you out the door. Oh well. Cleaned that up, then got back in bed for the 5 am alarm. Now this race didn't start until 8 am, but where the start/finish line was in the park had a parking issue and I still needed to pick up my bib, tshirt and timing chip. I took Sampson out, ate breakfast, prepped my bottles of nuun, got my Honey Zinger chews in the container and then I was off to the park.
This race was held on the C&O Canal towpath. It had a 10 miles option as well as the 20 mile option I was doing. We started at Carderock Recreational Area. I haven't run the towpath in all my training thus far. It is dirt and gravel. I was a little apprehensive of this as I can twist my left ankle all too easily on nothing. Anyway. I park, get my bib, tshirt, and chip. Walk around a bit. Sit in my car and reading tweets and playing angry birds. Go to the bathroom twice and then it is time to start.
I wanted to start out slow, but run steady. I am aiming for 12 min/miles or better. I know I am truly a penguin. First we run up towards Angler's Inn and then turn around and run down towards Georgetown. So I get into my pace. A few people around me. Get to the first water stop and turn around point, my Garmin had already gone past 2 miles. The race organizers had said this water stop/turn around was 1.5 miles. Uh oh.... how off is the rest of this course? I get a little water, eat a few honey stingers and keep on going. I find a couple women that are keeping my pace and I stay with them. I am feeling good. Go past 5 miles (according to my Garmin) and of course I have to pee AGAIN! I think my body is conditioned to have to pee at 5 miles. Every single one of my long runs, I have to pee at 5 miles. I am pissed that I have to pee (LOL) cause that means finding a nice spot behind a tree and then losing the women I am pacing behind. I hold off for a bit, but then I can't do that any longer. I find a spot, drop my tights, pee and then I am back up on the course. I am able to get back up on my pace and stay there even without the women I had been pacing behind. As I am running, I am calculating in my head about how far the turnaround should be for the 20 miler. I get to the 13 mile mark and I am still feeling pretty good. I had my fastest consecutive 13 miles ever on this run. I was thrilled! Then I hit 14 miles and my knees decided they had enough of this pounding. It was weird how it hit and then my running form just fell apart from there. The cadence and pace chart on my Garmin download it is so evident to. I am steady and then bonk......all over the place. I found myself not breathing right. I was holding my breath, I wasn't keeping my posture. I tried to focus on form and breathing and it would feel better for a bit, but I just could not get my pace back up or keep it to anything reasonable. Once I got to about 16-17 miles I started walking with the running. My knees were screaming. I can't remember which aid stop I hit, they said "Oh you only have XX miles to go" and I am looking at my Garmin and thinking uh oh the course is wrong - this sucks. But I have no choice but to keep moving towards the finish. My Garmin hits 2o miles. No finish line in site. I keep going not sure if my "jog" was any faster than my walk, but it felt a little better on my body. Everything is hurting now. Finally I get to the finish line and go over the timing mats. I am happy I am done, happy I came in under 5 hours (the 20 mile beat the bridge cut off for MCM) and I look at my Garmin to hit stop and I am at 21.42 miles. Course off by almost a mile and half!!! Measure much??
So while this is the Revenge of the Penguins event - I get down to where post race food and water is. NO FOOD LEFT. NONE! Really people? The true penguins of the day are shafted. There are still others on the course and you have no food left. Oh wait there were some individual slices of warm cheese....gag....really?? I am tired, sore and REALLY NOT HAPPY at this point.
I stretch for a bit then get in my car to drive home. I stop at the grocery for my 20lb bag of ice for my ice bath. While I sat in the ice bath I drank my Generation UCan recovery drink and marveled at the fact that I just ran 21.42 miles (well if you call what I do running) not too many more at I will be at 26.2. While I was in pain and miserable for the last several miles on Saturday, I could have kept going to 26.2. It would not have been pretty, but I could have done it. I spent the rest of Saturday on my couch. I ordered a pizza, had a beer, watched college football...my whole body was sore. My poor running form at the end really beat me up. Sunday, I was still quite sore. I didn't go to swim practice but I did spend some time with the foam roller. Today I feel pretty good, a little bit of soreness.
I have a triathlon this Sunday. What was I thinking?