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Tuesday, September 02, 2008

20 mile run: With every fiber of my being

20 mile run splits

Miles: 20
Total time: 03:22:51
Date: 8/30/08
Where: Chicago lakefront

I'll have to admit I came into this 20 miler with a little bit of a cocky attitude about it. Hell, I've already plowed through a nice finish in a 13.1 mile half-marathon, and battled a 16 mile run the weekend before. What's another measly four miles? I can run four miles with my eyes closed.

Well, let me tell you straight out, I was brought safely, yet very painfully, back to earth after this run. To run twenty miles is NOT a force to be reckoned with. This thing chewed me up and spit me out and lay me there to suffer.

Lets do a play by play, shall we?

The start:

I made the decision to drive to my start point near Irving Park Rd. and Lake Shore Drive instead of the usual public transport. I did this so that I can have a "support vehicle" waiting for me at the finish with a cooler full of fluids, food, and air conditioning. Good call.

Mile 1:

Right off the bat, two of my hydration bottles were seriously leaking near where the top screws on to the bottle. I fought for almost 10 minutes trying to remedy this to no avail. I got so pissed I considered emailing the company the next day to complain. I ended up dumping my special concoction of water and electrolyte mix that I would pay for later (read on..)

It wasn't until a couple of hours into my run that I figured out what may have gone wrong: Because I brought a cooler with me, I left my 8oz bottles in there to keep them cold. I never do this. I'm no scientist, but I'm sure that plastic shrinks when it gets cold. That would explain why the top never sealed tightly around the bottle hence spilling the liquid as I ran. Doh!! Makes sense.

Mile 2 to 8:

These were fairly uneventful and at a nice, easy pace. Maybe a little faster than I should have been going. I hadn't stop to walk at all up to this point, and as I look back, I probably should of taken a few breaks considering what was ahead.

Mile 9 to 11:

My first walk break to take some water and a Power Gel. Mile 10 is my turnaround point near E. 63rd. St. on the southern half of the bike path. I take a minute to look at the Chicago skyline and it struck me just how far I was from my start. This was a scary feeling.

Half-marathon mile 13.1

At 2hrs. and 15mins. I was about 15 minutes slower than my half-marathon time. This is pretty close to where I want to be. I also had my first pee break during my run. Never did that before.

Miles 14 to 16

It's almost noon and I've been running for 3 hours now. It's gotten hot. Very hot. My Gatorade is gone and I'm running on water and Power Gels. I can tell I'm a bit hungry now. I walk for a minute and start to feel a bit light headed. I run for 7 minutes and walk for 3.

Mile 17

I start to fall apart here. I start to get intense cramps in both of my calves and it's hard to walk, let alone run. The water/electrolyte mix that I should have been taking up to this point to stave off the cramps lay on the ground at Mile 1. I hadn't taken a gel for 6 miles, so I take one down which keeps the cramps away. I begin to run again. Easy does it.

Mile 18-20

I'm starting to feel very fatigued, but the cramps have stayed away. The finish is in sight and I keep a good pace on my last mile.

The end was something amazing. I'd done it. I suffered, but I finished. It's hard to explain the feeling, but it was heavenly. I'm finding it very difficult to walk now and I battle through more cramping in my legs which left me sore for two days!

It was quite the experience, and I gained a bigger respect for the distance of the marathon and what it takes to finish. I have one more 20 miler near the end of the month and hope to apply what I learned here for a stronger finish.

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Blogger runner-grrl said...

Great blog entry! I'm waiting to do my 20-miler this time around. Are you also running Chicago in Oct?

7:43 AM

Blogger Jesse said...

runner-grrl: Thanks! I probably made my 20 miler sound scarier than it was. If it wasn't for my training so far, I wouldn't of pulled through. I will be running my first marathon in Chicago this Oct. Good luck with your first 20!!!

8:30 AM

Blogger crossn81 said...

Way to persevere. I'm training for my first marathon at Twin Cities this fall. My first 20 miler a few weeks ago was a good learning experience for me too!

8:32 AM

Anonymous Kevin said...

Wow, Jesse. Looks like you tried to regroup at Mile 16; way to bounce back. It really is a tricky training distance and gives you a feeling for what to expect for the whole 26.2. You seemed fairly consistent so that is a sign of metered training. I am curious to read about what you are doing differently for your next 20 miler.

9:47 AM

Blogger Jesse said...

Kevin- Thanks. I'm fairly happy with my run and there are definitely things I need to improve on. You're right when you say it give you a feeling as to what to expect. I hope to scribble down some of the things I need to work on in a future post closer to my next 20.

3:27 PM

Anonymous Gump said...

It's the fear leading up to the race that makes the first marathon so much fun. I'll be following your adventure.

10:44 PM


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