Monday, June 23, 2008

Anatomy of a 30 mile run

So this weekend I thought it would be fun to get up at three o'clock (after having gotten to bed just after midnight) so that I could run thirty miles before it got too hot. We also had a church BBQ to go to that started at ten. I needed to be done by then. I figured seven hours would be plenty to run the miles and get cleaned up afterwards.

When my alarm went off at three, it seemed a bit early. I turned it off and just laid there for a few minutes, I finally realized that I could only run if I got out of bed, so I hopped out and got ready. Downstairs I ate a banana and a Powerbar. I also drank quite a bit of water. I had prepared everything the night before so I didn't have to think about things too much. I loaded up my ipod, energy gels, cell phone, money, water bottle and flashlight (that's right it's dark that early) and took off. I left the house about 3:30AM. My route for the day would be an out and back and out and back and out and back and out and back. I would go five out then four back, then four out then four back, then four out then four back, then two out then three back. Was that confusing, or what? Basically, I ran along the same five mile section of road the entire time.

The first couple miles were going well. I had to slow down though at about mile four because I needed a bathroom. That was still a mile away, so I just had to go pretty slow.

Mile 5, 56 minutes, this is where I made my first stop. At the gas station, I used the restroom and bought a Gatorade. I felt much better and was able to pick up the pace quite a bit.

It was a little tricky carrying the flashlight and the water bottle and a Gatorade. I drank the Gatorade within the next mile though and threw the bottle away in a dumpster. It is really nice that early in the morning. It was not too hot. There were not many cars on the road, although more than I would have thought. Running south now, I could see lightning off in the distance. That was pretty cool to see.

Mile 9, 1 hour 44 minutes, this is where I ditched my flashlight. I could tell it was going to get light in the next half hour, and I was only a mile from my house, so I dropped off the flashlight behind a fence post. It was really neat watching it go from complete darkness, aside from the stars and moon, to daylight. This next section of running was perfect. I didn't need the flashlight, but the sun was still below the horizon. It was very nice.

Mile 13, 2 hours 23 minutes, sun still below the horizon. This was the same place I had stopped before. I just filled my water bottle with ice and water. I talked with the lady there for a couple minutes. Turns out she is a sports massage therapist. She works at events like the Panama City Ironman. Maybe I should have gone back after my run. oh well. I went on my way now feeling pretty good.

Mile 17, 3 hours 3 minutes. The sun rose during this section, but it stayed behind clouds most of the time. On a long run like this you have a lot of time to think. You'll probably think I'm weird, but I imagined myself on a fifty mile or a hundred mile race coming in to an aid station where my family was there cheering me on. I thought that they might have a video camera rolling and ask me what I was thinking about. I told them that I had been thinking about my dad. He is really an inspiration to me. Not that he ever ran. He rode his bike a lot though. He thought it would sound fun to ride his bicycle over 3300 miles across the country. I think that sounds crazy enough to try one day. But, just like that is the ultimate distance for a bike ride, an ultra marathon is the ultimate distance for a runner.

Mile 21, 3 hours 42 minutes. At the gas station this time I bought a bag of sunflower seeds and another Gatorade. I also filled my water bottle with ice and water. I didn't have the flashlight this time, so it was easier to carry. I was a little tired though and needed to walk just a bit to eat my food. I walked for a half to three quarters of the next mile while I ate most of my sunflower seeds and drank all of the Gatorade. By the time that I started running again, my legs had started to tighten up. It didn't hurt, they were just tight. It took a mile or so before I loosened up again and felt good running.

Mile 25, 4 hours 35 minutes. I was getting just a little tired at this point. I was motivated though to see that I only had five miles to go before I was over. It was getting pretty warm too. I had to ring out my hat to prevent the sweat from dripping into my eyes. It was about this point that I got sick of listening to music. That doesn't' happen very often, but I needed to focus more on my body, breathing and the like. Besides that, four and a half hours of music in your ears will make your ears ring. I took the ear buds out of my ears for the rest of the run and felt pretty good about it.

Mile 27, 4 hours 55 minutes. Now I am half a mile from a gas station, and three miles from home. There is no question that I will finish, but my legs are definitely heavier now than they were 25 miles ago.

Mile 28, 5 hours 12 minutes. I stopped at that gas station just to buy a Gatorade. There were two people in front of me and one of them had to buy like 50 lottery tickets. It seemed to take forever. I was so close to being home, I just wanted to keep running. While I waited I filled my water bottle with ice and put the Gatorade into my bottle. I finished the Gatorade, then I paid for it. After leaving the store there was a nice down hill.

Mile 29, 5 hours 22 minutes. I had told myself absolutely no stopping for this mile. It wasn't that hard to keep going when you are that close to home. I picked up my flashlight and kept going. I felt a little foolish carrying a flashlight when it was several hours past sunrise. There was plenty of light to go around, but you never know when the lights will go out and you'll need a flashlight. Anyway, just one mile to go.

Mile 30, 5 hours 32 minutes 35 seconds. I realized there would be no way to finish this last mile in less than eight minutes, so I just jogged it on in. I guess if I really wanted to I could have ran my guts out and tried for a fast mile, but I wasn't too concerned, it just would have been nice to break 5:30. Oh well, it turned out to be a good run. It averaged out to be a 11:06 overall pace. That is including all the stops along the way. If you take those out my running time is probably more like a ten minute pace, but in a 50 mile race, they don't care how long you stop at aid stations, the clock doesn't stop until you cross the finish line.

I was done. Normally I get home and lounge around a little bit. Today it was straight to the freezer for the ice. I got some ice water and chugged. Then I realized I had some of that new low sugar Powerade Zero, so I chugged some of that. Then I went straight up to the bathtub with all of the ice from the freezer and started filling, within a few minutes I was soaking in an ice bath with some magic minty alcohol juice. That felt good except for when I got in the water I realized that I was chaffed pretty bad. It stung really bad for a few minutes, then I got used to it. I really need to get something for that.

I normally try not to take any Motrin or anything too, but I could tell that I was going to be stiff after this run, so I took a couple to help relax my muscles. Within a half hour we left the house to go to the BBQ. It wasn't like after the two marathons I did where I could barely get around for a few days. I was able to get around just fine. It was just standing up that took an extra few seconds.

After only having had about three hours of sleep and then running thirty miles, I was pretty tired. I managed to get about a three or four hour nap when the kids were napping. That felt good. I didn't really want to get up, but I did.

Yesterday afternoon I looked at my running log and it told me that I burned 4000 calories. Wow! I immediately felt very hungry and had the urge to eat 4000 calories to make up for all the calories I had burned. I am still feeling more hungry then normal, but that's alright. I have the right now to eat as much ice cream as I want, right?

So, who's going to run the next 30 mile run with me? I am going to run 32 to 35 miles on July 5th. Let me know and we can run with each other for six hours or so. Seriously, let me know. Or, am I the only crazy one around here. Actually I found a guy yesterday at church who runs a lot, he's done the JFK 50 several times.

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