So, my next (and last) 20 miler before the marathon was on Saturday. I had originally planned on Sunday, but the schedule changed, and an opportunity presented itself.
My goal was to run 16 miles slow, and then 4 at marathon pace. Here's the conundrum that I face (as do all first timers): What the hell is my marathon pace?
I'll not hide it, I'd love a 4 hour marathon. That's a 9:09/mile pace. OK, let's use that as a starting point.
I took a route that was flat.. It's actually an old railroad track that was ripped up, paved, and used as a community walking/running/biking/etc path. It's a 4 mile lap. Sigh. 5 trips on this. It works on the mental toughening as well.
The good thing about this was that I could park my car at one end, keep all of my water, Gu, etc in it, and not have to carry much. That's a win.
I also decided to try Gu'ing every 4 miles instead of every 5. This is the time and place to try it. I also brought 2 salt packets, to see if they would help with the cramping I experienced last time..
So, the weather was hot, and I was slightly under the weather due to some random cold that mini-Raul brought into the house. OK, let's go anyway.
Lap 1. Splits: 9:52, 9:45, 9:59, 9:41. (The 3rd one has a walk break included in it, as scheduled)
Lap 2. Splits: 9:55, 9:47, 10:06, 9:43 (Walk break executed here as well)
Lap 3. Splits: 9:46, 9:49, 10:12, 9:40 (Walk break is getting longer, but not bad)
Lap 4. Splits: 9:42, 9:38, 10:14, 9:53
Between each lap, I had a half liter of water, and a Gu.
OK. That's pretty consistent. 9:40ish to 9:50ish. I was cranking these out with no problem. This is a 4:15 marathon, provided it could be maintained for another 10 miles.
I turned up the gas.
9:29. Yeah, you can see where this is going.
12:01. The wheels are coming off.
8:15. Huh? Oh, right. I actually only ran a half mile for this. The wheels were off, flat, and long gone. Crash and burn, baby.
Pace chart here:
I shuffled back to the car. It actually took me 10-15 minutes to let the agony subside enough that I could drive. Somehow, I managed to make it home and cook dinner. I put on a pretty good act, because I never heard a word about how I looked. (And let's not tell Mrs. Raul about this, shall we..? I'll never hear the end of it)
After I ate, I felt a shit-ton better. Excuse my TMI, but, my urine was very dark. I was probably dehydrated, and potentially low on electrolytes. (Given that I was covered with salt at this point, it's not out of the question).
The next day I felt fine. Muscles were sore, but I had no pain. Next day was good. Today, I ran a fairly brisk 4 miles.
So, I'm at a decision point. I'm thinking I should scrap the 4 hour marathon plan. My half was a 1:52. The weather will be cooler. However, I haven't had a long long run that has gone extremely well.
There's a pace group for the marathon at 4:00, 4:10, and 4:25. (What, no '4:20' pace? j/k)
4:10 is a 9:33 mile, 4:25 is a 10:07 mile.
Do I scrap the pace groups, and settle in for a 4:15 pace? I have absolutely no idea.
Keep on rockin'.