Ok, so this post is super late since I actually completed the 20-miles (32.2km) Sunday 6th December. Going into it I was absolutely terrified and nervous enough that the thought of the upcoming milage was going to make me sick but all-in-all I LOVED IT!!!!
Since I’ve been under the guidance of my physio all year (who helped me back from certain banishment from running as per the suggestion of my GP) she suggested that I look at the run/walk method for this distance to avoid overloading of my bones – something that has been a common problem – I’m out there to finish, not to run an Olympic qualifying time!
Now, I wasn’t sure how the body would take it, since I was running through all my training runs – but common sense would think that it wouldn’t be too much of a shock to be walking every couple of minutes or so.
I had previously spoken with a few people who were successful in the run/walk method in regards to a good ratio to go out with since I had no idea. Obviously you can change as needed (although I don’t think you can change your watch alerts mid-run) but I was set on trying something that would see me through the entire distance. After careful consideration I chose 1:30/1:00 intervals. And so I began at 4:30am – anticipating that it would take me a crazy amount of time to get it done. I had calculated that it should take me 4:30 running time – not taking into account time stopped at lights or time for food (or to look at the AMAZING sunrise). The goal was to complete a 19km loop, stop in at home to top up supplies and use the bathroom and then go out for a smaller 13km loop.
I was almost at the 3km mark when I just HAD TO make my first stop, as you can see below.
The effort to get up so early in the morning seems like nothing when you witness the beauty in an incredible sunrise!
From there it wasn’t long until my first food stop. I’ve been trialling refuelling strategies since my Disneyland Half disaster – and have found that I probably start suffering a little earlier than what is normally recommended, looking at chowing down every 4km. I’ve also been testing honey on toast as a pre-race meal which seems to be working a treat.
The fact that I was counting down until the next food intake seemed to make the kilometres disappear, next thing you know I’m hitting the 16km mark and the heat was starting the bear down. Legs were feeling incredible – so much that I was gaining confidence in finishing this beast with every step – however my choice to wear compression socks wasn’t working out well for me. The balls of my feet were burning and I was starting to hate every step. I eventually changed from my compression socks at the pit-stop, and the feet welcomed the smart wool goodness that they were wrapped in.
So, with a little over 12km to go I set out on the second loop, a lot sunnier than a couple of hours before. It was starting to get incredibly warm, and the sweet taste of Clif Shot Bloks was starting to get to me. This is the first time ever that I’ve had hunger rumbles mid-run and I was so happy to have packed that Lara Bar into my Orange Mud vest (cause there’s so much room in it, you can carry things on the chance you need them). My pace was pretty even throughout the entire run, boosting my confidence ever so more. I laughed at the person who told me to “keep going, don’t stop” as I slowed down for the walk break….. buddy, I’m at kilometre 26 – what have you been doing this morning?? When I ran under the bridge I ran over hours before I wanted to high-five all the fishermen, although they would think of me as crazy, backed up by my sweatiness and smelliness that comes with running in heat!
With 2km to go it was time for the Dr Cool towel that I scored from the Disneyland Half (note to anyone running this next year – don’t throw away those towels, they are awesome) and I made one last stop at the restroom to dunk and activate the towel. By this stage I’m sure everyone was looking at me due to the fact they could smell me before I had arrived but I was literally floating on air.
2km down the road and I officially ran the furthest I had ever run and enjoyed it! My time was 4:26:10 which (just) beat the goal time I had set! WOOHOO!!!!! Now onto the Walt Disney World Marathon!!