I passed a milestone in my marathon training this past weekend. I completed 17 miles- the longest distance I have ever run. I was really excited/nervous about it all week. I work for a public television station, and I spent all of Friday in Louisville at the Kentucky State Fair, crouching down to take pictures of little kids with Clifford the Big Red Dog. By the end of the day, my back was killing me - but a few aspirins did the trick. I came home to a lovely barbecue at our house with some friends from back home who just moved up to Kentucky, and some of the good friends we've made in Kentucky. I tried to load up on carbs (...cheese grits, potato salad, ribs, texas toast, cake...) so it wasn't the perfect pre-run meal, but it was definitely tasty. After a good night's sleep, I woke up and headed into Lexington. I gathered my water bottles/Gatorade bottles and GoTarts - and drove the route to stash the bottles.
(the fuel supply)
I planned this route strategically - I knew the only way that I would be able to do it is if it was an out and back course. So, I found a 6.5 mile stretch of road to run out and back on for a total of 13 miles, and then added in 4 miles by going up and down a couple of neighborhood streets. I made sure to get these four miles in on my way out, so that coming back I only had to focus on running in a straight line.
At about mile 9, I ate a Pop Tart "Go Tart" - I've read in Kristin Armstrong's blog that this is what she eats during runs, so I thought I would give it a try. While it tasted great and was smooth on my stomach, it was pretty dry and made me really thirsty. I am still trying to find the perfect long run fuel option. On my next long run (12 miles) I am going to try another go round with gels.
As a I approached Versailles Road (mile 10.5 aka the turn around point) I was on a caloric high from the Go Tart and momentarily thought about jumping up and pumping my fists over my head, in true Rocky form. I was so happy to reach the turn around point because I knew then that I had done it. I had completed the hardest part of the run, now I simply had to run back to my car. Mentally, I knew that every step I took would take me closer to the finish line. So, I turned around and started back. About an hour later I was stretched out in the cargo area of my Montero Sport, feeling both elated and exhausted from the distance I had just covered.
I finished the run in 2:55:19 - just shy of my 3:00 hour goal.
When I got home I took Emma for a walk and spent most of the afternoon relaxing with Chad, and then we went to the High Bridge Festival - a local festival that was pretty much a bust. I'm not sure what we were hoping to see, but we did see an old man fall off of a skateboard, a young man with a fierce mullet and camo overalls, and a singing skunk ape on top of a homeade ice cream shop in a travel trailer.
The route - as per mapmyrun.com