Nothing prepares you for your last long run before tapering like being sick. I was lucky enough to be totally thrown for a loop last week. Nausea, chills, headache, incredible dizziness and light-headedness. I was out of commission for two days. Even by Friday my stomach just wasn’t right. I began dreading my long run.
I had always planned on running the Boulder Reservoir for my final run. It is pretty, one big loop that is just about 5 miles long, making it easy to get in all my mileage, and they have porta-potties. The latter being most important to me as I had no idea what gels were going to do to my stomach considering regular food had been reeking havoc.
I woke up at 5:15 am on Sunday. It was so tempting to hit snooze and continue sleeping because Ella had just been up at 4. But with a high of 80+ degrees and no desire to do any part of my run inside, I forced myself out of bed. I did my usual routine, peanut butter and jelly toast, packing up my supplies and getting dressed. I was in my car and on my way by 6:15.
It was dark and cold. 43 degrees cold. I was relieved when I arrived at the trailhead and was not the only person crazy enough to be running that early on a Sunday morning. Off I went towards the beautiful sunrise.
9:01, 9:08, 9:05, 9:20, 9:18, 9:10
I was feeling pretty good. I took my first gel just past mile 6 when I also had to make a 30 second pit stop. I drank way too much water before hitting the trail.
9:04, 8:59, 9:08, 9:11, 9:11, 9:05, 9:50
I was doing a fairly good job of holding a steady pace. I took a quick walk break to take my second gel between miles 12 and 13. I also had to take a picture of the beautiful scenery around me.
Josh called and said he was on his way with Ella to keep me company for the rest of my run. He seemed shocked/relieved when I told him I was already at the 15 mile mark.
Miles 16 & 17
These were my last two solo miles. I was so excited to see Josh and Ella. While Josh got Ella all buckled into the stroller I took another walk break and my final gel of the run.
9:59, 9:35, 9:32
I was getting tired. Josh did a great job of talking to me and telling me I was doing really well, but my pace slowed a lot. When I hit 20 miles I just happened to be at the bottom of a hill. A small hill, but a hill. I started walking up it when Josh told me that I really need to just run up it. He was right, I’m running a race in San Francisco, I need to run the hill. I sucked it up and ran right up that damn hill. Luckily it was the last one.
Mile 21 was particularly difficult for me. I was ready to be done. I don’t think I really hit the wall, but I could have used one more gel. During the race I’ll definitely take the fourth gel, but I was so close to finishing I didn’t want to take my last one. When my watch let me know I hit 21 miles I sped up. Josh really pushed me and told me to pick up the pace. I decided the faster I ran the faster I would be done. I had my fastest mile of the entire run. I hope I can do the same during the race.
22 miles. Not just 22 miles, but 22 solid miles. At a pace that I’m proud of. I’m not a fast runner, but this run felt good. I tried my best to run at a pace that I was comfortable at, well except for that last mile. One I could still sing along to my music with. When I finished my arms went up in the air, Josh high-fived me (romantic but I don’t blame him for not wanting to hug my stinky ass) and I said “I’ve got this. I can run this marathon!”
This run did just what I was hoping it would. It made me confident that I’ll be able to finish the marathon. Barring any injuries in the next three weeks or gel digestive failure, I should be able to smash my current marathon time.
San Francisco…here I come.