Yesterday was my longest long run EVER: 16 miles. My thighs would really like an elevator, or they’re threatening to make me sleep on the couch instead of climbing up the stairs to bed. I didn’t plan the day enough, but it seemed to work out in the end.
6:00am alarm: overnight peanut butter oats, get dressed, put in contacts, put water bottles into Fuel Belt, grab bag full of dry clothes, flip flops, wallet, post-run protein recovery, and face wipes.
7:30am: get in car and drive to group run. Error #1: I left 10 minutes late, and stopped at the post office not along the way to make sure I dropped off a package, and realized I forgot a water for the drive. I toughed it out, drove amazing, and arrived 2 minutes before scheduled beginning time.
8:13am: About of us 5 out of the 13 that showed up headed out from the store on our planned route. We started at Mill City Running, you need to go here if you’re in MN and have never been, it’s an amazing local couple that run this cute store. This store offers supported long runs once a month, they open their doors early only for the group, have aid stations along the route, and allow you to hang out inside smelling funky until you cool off. It’s great. For this privately planned shorter long run, they offered only one aid station at mile 3.5.
Since I was the ONLY person out of everyone who needed to run over 10 miles, I knew I would be running alone for most of the time, and felt great about it. Error #2: not paying attention to the route I would be running alone to find water and bathroom accommodations. I remembered what I was told should be my route, but I didn’t pay attention to signage while I was running. I knew the path I was running would go on for a very long time so I just stuck with it, even though the breeze and shade were lacking. Sixteen miles, which means I was looking forward to mile eight because it was my HALF WAY POINT.
Error #3: Not knowing where to refill my water in case I needed more water than I carried. I carried 40 ounces, 8 ounces in each 5 bottles, and I was planning on using one bottle for every 3 miles. And then the humidity set in, by mile 6 I knew I was going to need ration. I was running along a bike path, equipped with tire pump stations but zero water fountains, so I started backtracking my route in my head to see where I would be able to fill up. I knew at mile 14 there would be water fountains, and MAN was that a long way to go but I figured it out and stuck to the new plan.
At mile 10 I passed by this cute park I remembered seeing a bathroom sign at when it was mile 6, and there were these neighborhood ladies taking care of the Primp Your Park flowers. They pointed me in the direction of the water fountain, and I refilled 4 out of the 5 bottles I was carrying. I’m still not sure why I didn’t fill that last bottle. I drank two mouthfuls of water while I was there, too. Clearly that should’ve been a clue to refill that last bottle.
The shade of miles 10 through 12 were great, trees galore and even a little wind! The view was amazing, you had no idea what type of neighborhood you were running through but it felt like it should be upscale. At mile 12.5 I saw it, the aid station Mill City Running left! Oh, all I could do was hope there was still water in that giant jug and hopefully some Nuun left in the gallon bottle! And when I arrived, THERE WAS!!! The water in the jug was still cool, and the Nuun was still lemon-lime tasty! GLORIOUS!!!! I drank a cup of Nuun, filled up all of the bottles, drank a cup of water, and headed to finish this thing.
I felt so strong now that I had enough hydration to finish the day, a lesson in marathon training I never want to go through again.