Yesterday was the last of the Winter Series races held by the local road runners club. On tap was a choice between three separate distances – 4M, 10M, and 20M. Because I have been upping my mileage and RnR NOLA is only four weeks away (freak out starts…NOW) I ran the 20M.
I was definitely nervous for this one. Over time, my nerves, anxiety and number of bathroom breaks have subsided before races but I was definitely stressing about 20 miles. And since my 30K (18.6 miles) was pretty horrific two weeks ago, I was doubting myself big time.
Last week I made a conscious effort to prep myself accordingly – hydrating a lot (w/Nuun added), eating the right things like healthy carbs, and mentally preparing myself. I felt ok going into Saturday evening – just some minor right knee pain. Rickipedia and I had a nice dinner at a local Italian restaurant that was better than good so my confidence was on the mend.
I laid all my things out the night before to decrease stress. I don’t do this all the time but think I should definitely start, especially for long runs/races. I brought along my two bottle fuel belt, my 20 oz. handheld, 3 Gus, a Luna Bar, and a Picky Bar in case I got hungry. I knew I wouldn’t eat both but I’d rather have more than less. Have you ever tried Picky Bars? So good! They’re made by Lauren Fleshman, the twice over USA 5K champ, and her amazing athlete team. Check them out!
I was able to get to the start of the race earlier than usual, met some future Ragnar teammates, and then out we went. My plan was to keep it nice and easy (like Clairol), not freak, and pay close attention to Gu intake times. I made sure to take one every hour and that seemed to help. Breakfast consisted of a banana and two waffles – one with peanut butter. That held me over until mile 15 or so.
All in all, I felt well-prepared with hydration and nutrition through ~ mile 15. I ate a little bit of my Picky Bar and had all 3 Gus. At mile 18 I really started to feel tired and heavy but, mentally, I felt strong through the full 20 miles. At one point I thought I got lost on the course (who gets lost on a looped course?!) but I didn’t. It just turned out that there weren’t that many runners. It actually took my mind off things though which was very much welcomed! I think miles 11-16 are the hardest. By the time I got to 16, I knew four more was nothing and meant less than 40 minutes until I was done.
(2nd means that, most likely, there were only two runners in this group but I’ll take it. Someone has to bring up the rear!)
Overall, it wasn’t THAT bad, I slowed down a lot, but I didn’t die. That’s a good day if you ask me. Minor stomach issues afterwards but nothing crazy. Feeling a good kind of sore today – the kind where you know you’ve worked hard for something.
Did you run/race this weekend? How did you feel afterward? Have you tried Picky Bars yet?