Last Sunday was my planned long run. It has been many weeks since I did a long run of more than 16 miles. In fact the 16 miles I did in AZ that caused my injured foot was the last distance over 10 miles. With clearance from the foot doctor just last week I was excited to get in a long run on the gravel roads. I wanted to use this Sunday’s long run as a test and confidence builder.
I set out on a new route that I have been wanted to start doing. I have been running a 10 mile version of this the past couple of weeks. I’d turn around at the 5 mile mark. Going the full distance would take me from my house out to a bar in Boonville, IA. I have biked there before on a few outings and I knew I could refill my wanter bottles there. The bar would make for a nice turn around point. I wanted to get in 20+ miles and the bar is just short of 10 miles from my house.
The weather was decent but not ideal. It was 28 degree F with light snow or possible ran forecasted. I set out with enough layers to keep me warm, two gel packs, a PB&J sandwitch and 20 oz of wanter. I have never eaten on a run before but I knew I needed to start as part of my ultra training. Today would be a good test.
I knew it was going to be an interesting day when I needed to slow way down on the first hill on the route. It is a gradual hill that is still within the city. It takes about 3 miles to reach the gravel roads that would take me out to Boonville and I was already feeling bad. I finally reached the gravel and set out knowing in another mile I’d hit the first nice gravel hill of the day. It is a double hill that hits you back to back like a double camel hump. I usually run up both of them before a nice down hill to the 5 mile marker in the run. I needed a quick walk on both the hills. I just did not have it in me today. Overall I still felt okay. I had a good mix going on the iPod so I just kept pushing forward.
Once passed the 5 mile mark it was all new territory on foot for me. It is amazing how much different a route is running it compared to bicycle. The road was decent except for about 1 mile of fresh gravel that offered no decent path or worn down area for a consistent pace. I took one gel at about the 6 mile mark. There were several long hills over the next 4 miles that took me into Boonville and my turn around point. I also eat half of my PB&J before entering Boonville. I found that I needed to walk and chew the half sandwich. Who knew that eating and running was so hard? I reached Boonville and stopped in the bar. I asked for a sports drink of any kind but they did not have any. I ordered a Coke and a Snickers.
Just shy of 10 miles and I felt pretty good. Other than being more tired that normal things were going well. I consumed about 14 oz of water on the way out and refilled the two 10 oz bottles I had on my waist belt at the bar. After finishing the Coke and Snickers I headed back out. I made a quick FB post of me in front of the bar to mark the location and quickly realized how cold I was. I needed to get going and generate some body heat to keep me warm. It had been snowing most of the way out there. Just a light flurry that was really nice to watch as I ran. The snow continued as I left the bar.
Not only was this my first long run in a few weeks but it was also the fist time taking my Altra Lone Peaks longer than 10 miles. I have had problems with my feet hurting on long runs and I purchased the Lone Peaks in hopes they would offer some much-needed confort with their big toe box. Back out on the gravel roads I hit the 10 mile mark and my feel felt great. It was a good feeling knowing that the Altras were doing their job and I did not need to worry about my feet. I can say that I am officially an Altramaniac after this run. I told myself that I needed to pick up a pair of their road shoes as soon as I can.
Around the 13th mile mark I realized how tired I was. The Coke and Snickers really did not do much for me. I ran all the flat parts of the gravel roads and found myself needing to walk for a bit on some of the big hills. I ate the second half of my PB&J hoping that it would help. Before I knew it I reach the point that I turn north on Jordan Creek Road. This is a long hill that I normally run no problem. But today I was dragging big time. The gravel was gone at this point and it was cement all the way home as I made my way back into civilization. I took my second gel and tried to do my best. My legs felt really crampy and I tried to run on the grass as much as I could.
I passed the mall and enjoyed the stops I needed to make at the lights for traffic along the route. I was about at mile 15 and I started to feel like total crap. I know I was not going to make a 20+ run today. I just focused on making my way back home. I needed to take a few walking breaks at this point. Around mile 17 I started to feel out of it, almost dizzy. With less than a mile from home I tried not to turn an ankle or something silly. I reached my block and needed to run into the park by my house to reach an even 18 miles. I was just exhausted. I also needed to use the bathroom.
I stumbled into the house and made a beeline for the little boys room. I couldn’t belive how bad my legs hurt. My legs were craming up bad. I can’t say that I have ever felt that bad after a run. I did not reach my goal of 20+ miles. I really felt discouraged but then again I knew if was going to be a tough day by the time I hit the first hill. It was pretty discouraging knowing that my ultra is just two weeks away. I think at this point I am going to drop to the 25k. The injury to my foot has taken a toll on my training. Not much I can do about that. I need to make a decision here pretty quick and shoot an email to the race director.
In the end the Altra Lone Peaks did what I needed them to do. I am sold, a believer, in the little start up shoes company. My body on the other hand did not perform very well. I ended up losing 6 pounds in 3 hours despite consuming a Snickers, 40 oz of water, 24 oz of Coke, a PB&J, and two gels. I am not sure if that is normal or not. I’d love to hear what kind of weight loss other go through. Maybe I did not drink enough water on the run? Maybe it was just an off day.
Here is the route I took with a handful of images I shot along the way. The run starts in the upper right corner of the route. Some of the photos did not get a good GPS fix so they are off route a little. I managed to see one decomposing deer and a possum that were worthy of a photo. You can click any of the stars on the map to see a thumbnail photo. You can also click the thumbnails below the map to see a larger version of the photo.
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