What 20 Miles has Taught Me

Yesterday I did my first 20 mile run. If you remember, my longest run had been 14 miles and that was last week. Ha! We had gorgeous weather, so I decided to take advantage of it. The run went pretty well, and I think I learned a few things that will come in handy in my upcoming ultra. Here's a quick list of what I learned yesterday.

1. For weather above 50 degrees, 1 water bottle is not enough for 10 miles. I was fine on the first loop, refilled at mile 8 and my car, and then started #2. The temps warmed up and I was a little overdressed, so around mile 15, I stopped by a little creek and filled my bottle. Not the most sanitary thing, but it got me to mile 18, where there was a water faucet. No signs of water-bourne illness yet. :)

2. I need about 1 GU every 5 miles for something that long. I had two with me and by the end, I wish I had 4. I didn't completely bonk, but I noticed much improvement after taking a GU and that would have been nice around mile 16.

3. For salt, 2 salt caps and 1 bottle of Gatorade probably was good. No cramping issues, but I'll probably carry a few extra during the race just in case. I'm not nearly as salty of a sweater as John is.

4. Long runs are more fun with someone else. Especially the last 2 miles, it would have been nice to have someone to talk to so I wasn't focused on how my legs felt like I was beaten with a stick.

I stretched out well afterwards and did a little walking and I can't believe how good I feel today. Between miles 18 and 20, I felt like I had been beaten from the waist down. The blisters on my feet and my ankles complained with each downhill step and my quads and hamstrings were screaming on the uphills. Part of it was probably a lack of calories, but I was expecting to be much more sore. I also believe that when your pain is the only thing you have to focus on, it becomes much worse. At least in the race there will be other people and things to keep me distracted.

This is good. This makes me think the 50k will be surviveable. I did 2 loops in 4:30, so my time goal of less than 8 hours seems very realistic. I think if I was more consistently training in December, I could shoot for less than 7 hours.

I'm hoping to do some light spinning this afternoon before the Super Bowl to loosen my legs up and relax my knees. I'm just hapy that I'm not hobbling today!

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