Update week 7………and Saturday’s long run

I couldn’t wait to get home and check off week 7 after completing Saturday’s long run.  It wasn’t because I had a bad week.  In fact, I had some great runs this week.  In any case, I felt like I worked hard and earned that check mark!  It’s the little things in life that count, right?

This week I ran 41.44 miles.  These were the workouts:

Monday – 6 miles w hill repeats

Tuesday –  cycle 45 mins.

Wednesday –  8 miles w 3 miles of tempo

Thursday – 5 miles

Friday – rest day

Saturday – 22.4 miles

Sunday – rest day

In addition to these workouts, I did 3 days of core and upper body exercises.

On Saturday, I went to a wonderful training run in Auburn State Recreation Area in the town of Cool.  There were 4 different courses to choose from and I chose the long one, ~23 miles.  This was a training run for the Way too Cool 50k race held in March.

2014 Way too Cool course map (23 miles of it)

Although I am not doing this 50k, I was grateful for the opportunity to preview the beautiful and challenging course.  Most of the course is on single track trails.  There were quite a few areas where we were able to keep a good pace.  But, there were also quite a few hills.  There was one hill in particular that kicked my butt.  It was difficult just to walk up Goat Hill.  I don’t know how the elite runners run up it.

2014 Way too Cool course elevation gainsThis is the elevation profile from the 50k which includes 8 more miles.  However, I think we ran most of the hills in the 23 mile loop.  I’d say it was a hilly course!

The course was well marked and we didn’t have any trouble staying on course.  There was one time that I wanted to continue on a flat section instead of climbing a hill, but that was just wishful thinking on my part.

I’m still learning a lot about these long runs.  I do know that I have to start off a lot slower than my body feels like running.  If I start off too fast, I will “blow up” towards the end.  Looking at my pace for the first 5 miles, we did a good job keeping a conservative and consistent pace.  We were able to keep the pace at a relaxed one and talk the whole way which makes these long runs much more fun.

Based on my pace alone, I consider this run a success.  With the exception of a few miles including big climbs, it wasn’t until mile 21 that my pace started to fade.  I finished the 23 mile course and felt pretty good!  This was the longest that I have run on the trails and every long run I am feeling stronger.  In addition to being the longest run, it was also the hilliest run I have ever gone on.

My fueling plan was also a success in my opinion.  Here is what worked for me:

I’m working on eating the least amount of calories while out on the trail.  I carried more than I needed (I wouldn’t want to bonk), but ended up eating almost a whole peanut butter and honey sandwich (490 calories) and 1 package of Stinger chews (160 calories).  The combination of my peanut butter sandwich with the sweet chews was perfect.  And, those chews tasted like candy, something I could probably eat any time!  In the almost 4 hours of running, I ate 560 calories which is ~140 per hour. 

I think it was just enough calories, maybe a little too much if anything. On a positive note, I know that I ate fewer calories than on the previous long run.   I’ll try just a few less on the next run and see if I can’t get my body to use some of my stored fat for energy.

I also made sure I used electrolytes (Salt Stick Caps).  Perhaps this whole time I’ve thought that I’ve needed more calories when I’ve actually needed more electrolytes.

I took 1 capsule each hour ~200mg of sodium (along with some vitamin D, calcium, magnesium, chloride, and potassium) each hour.  I think this made all the difference in the world.  The previous long run I didn’t use enough and I felt it.  This time, I didn’t feel depleted.

I carried 40 ounces of water in my hydration pack.  I knew that there would be water on the course at some point.  Unfortunately, I didn’t know at where it was going to be ahead of time.  I should have known it would be strategically placed half way through the course.  I refilled my pack only having a few ounces left.  However, I finished the run with plenty of water left.  I find that interesting because the second half of the run was warmer and I think there was more climbing, too.  I would have guessed that I needed more water in the second half of the run.

Once we finished, I grabbed a coke (something I rarely drink, but boy did it hit the spot!) and picked up a few post run snacks.

Thank you to all the volunteers and to James Barstad who put on this event.  I greatly appreciated the opportunity to run this well marked course with an aid station!

My only regret is that I didn’t have a camera with me to take some pictures of the course.  But, I’ll be going back, hopefully soon!

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