SIX WEEKS! This marathon thing is starting to feel very real and I can't seem to decide if that is a good thing or the worst thing ever. It is extra crazy to think that of those 6 weeks, 3 weeks will be spent tapering and 1 week will be focused on racing a half marathon, which really only leaves 2 real "normal" weeks of training.
A couple weeks ago I put in an amazing 20 mile run and was starting to feel confident that I was ready for the full 26.2 miles. This week I struggled through my 20 miler and was left feeling like the marathon is going to be a disaster. I'm glad that I still have one more 20 mile run scheduled, because I have a few ideas about what went wrong this weekend and will have a chance to test my theories.
First of all, it was much hotter this weekend than it was a couple weekends ago. Plus it was hot all week leading up to my long run. I think that the weather took more out of me than I realized and I went into the long run extra fatigued. Fortunately it is extremely unlikely that the forecast will be showing 90s in October in Michigan (the average high for race day is 59), so I shouldn't need to worry about the heat for the race.
The second issue might have been due to poor fueling leading up to Sunday. For my first 20 miler I was very careful about what I ate on Saturday and made sure to eat a healthy pasta filled lunch. This weekend I didn't really pay attention to what I was eating and had Chinese takeout for lunch and nachos for dinner. Carbs: yes; remotely healthy: no. I needed a bathroom break about 10 miles into my run and about 13 miles into my run I was starving.
I managed another couple decent miles and then really struggled the last 5 miles. So many times I told myself to keep my chin up and hold it together. I just wanted to sit down and cry. Looking at my Garmin data, my splits for these miles aren't terrible, only about 15-30s slower that I would have liked. I am really pleased that I didn't give up and call for a ride home. I know that the marathon is going to be difficult and I need to try to be ready to for it.
Distance: 7.0 with 7 strides
I was hoping to run 7 miles at HMP, but it was just too hot. I decided to start at goal marathon pace and try to work my way down to half pace over the course of the run. After a two mile warm up I managed the following splits: 8:47, 8:47, 8:36, 8:22. After those 4 fast-ish miles I was done. I couldn't even keep moving at a slow jog. I walked for a few minutes and then for another few minutes. Eventually I was able to get running again, but I kept it slow and easy.
*Average pace includes a bathroom break at mile 10 and a short break around mile 17 while I messed with my watch. If I were to remove those breaks, my pace would have been 9:45.
Total: 55.25 miles