Long Run - Ace or Fail?

Honolulu 26.2 on bottom
Yesterday my goal was to run 16 miles in week 5 of my Honolulu Marathon training. I really felt I would be able to do it but also felt it would be challenging. Why the challenge? Because my long runs building up to this point had been off. But I was feeling optimistic after my back-to-back long runs the week before. They left me hurting but I grew stronger. And they proved I had a deep inner strength to pull on. Plus, I was doing day 1 of #runforMiracle and I wanted every mile on my plan this week to make a difference.

Dear hubby and darling daughter dropped me off in town and I started my run at 7:39 am. It was going to be a point-to-point sorta. The sorta part is I knew I was going to have to pass them up at our meeting point and double-back to get the distance in. My legs immediately felt a bit sluggish but this is not new to me. I tend to take a bit to fully warm up and get into the groove. Within 5 minutes or so I knew this was going to be tough. I was warm, there was no breeze, the skies were clear, the sun was shining, and it was a long stretch until my first shade trees will begin to appear....and that will be in a hotter part of the island. I focused on starting hydration early and often and knew where my first water fountains would be for refilling.

I am going to break this post into sections: pace, nutrition, the final steps, and analysis.

After running a couple of miles I still felt like I was working hard and checked in on my mileage as the Nike+ sensor doesn't tell me consistently like the Nike GPS does....and my phone will die before 16 miles if I ran with the GPS. Anyhow, it told me my pace was 10'09". I told myself not to worry about pace and it was okay to run slower. My target easy/long run pace is 10'00".

To keep my mind distracted from the increasing warmth I decided to do a timed miles to see how the sensor is tracking in comparison to reality. Those nice mile markers along the road really can be handy. After my test I felt bummed. At marker 4 I was at 3.77 miles and at marker 5 I was at 4.65 miles....or so my Nike+ app was saying. The only thought that crossed my mind is "I haven't run a full mile yet and my reported pace is 10'14"!". Okay, I can tell myself not to worry about pace but I can't guarantee I will listen. And I grumbled internally about why they can't mark miles correctly along the road when it dawned on me. Ummm.....yeah, those mile markers are probably right chickee, it is your app that is lying to you. Just don't ask why this realization took so long. I did a couple more tests along the way to get a clear picture of the standard error so I could calibrate my run at the end.

My plan was to refuel every 4 miles. I packed two GU gels (berry and peanut butter) and a vanilla Stinger waffle (never tried this before and wanted to).

It was easy to pack the GU's in the pocket of my water bottle. The Stinger waffle had me puzzled. What was the best way to carry this? I ended up folding it in half and stuffing it in the back pocket of my running skirt. At 4 miles the berry GU went down well. At 8 miles I fiddled to get the waffle out and was excited to give it a try. Thing is, it was hard to open the package, the waffle was crumbling, and it was just hard for me to manage as I ran through city streets, paying attention to cars, and watching traffic lights. It tasted wonderful though but chewing on a run was new to me. And I was dropping waffle crumbs here and there. I felt ridiculous and annoyed.

About a minute after disposing of my trash I felt refreshed but I really think it was because I didn't have to mess with that process anymore, not because the waffle was energizing me. And then in another minute or so I began feeling some stomach cramps. Nothing too serious but still no fun. Fortunately they went away. I don't think I will be trying anymore waffles. But perhaps some pretzel sticks in addition to my standard GU (but vanilla please).

The final steps:
Finding some shade did bring a hint of relief but not a ton. I was still incredibly warm and hydrating like crazy. I ended up refilling at a water fountain at the park I would be meeting up with my family at. This was just before 10 miles and I was so tempted to stop. I felt beat. I hoped I wouldn't see my family as I may have been too tempted to stay with darling daughter if she asked me not to go on. As I ran off unseen I was also saddened to not get a pick-me-up from some cheers. That is when a car drove by with cheering out the windows and people banging on the roof. Yep, that was for me! even if it wasn't. My next point was to make it to the end of the sidewalk and make my next call then. As the barricade approached I knew it was best to turn around and head back. I was feeling sick and weak. It was nearing time for more fuel and the idea of a GU made me feel sicker. I drank water knowing I needed to but wasn't liking it. I ran back to the park and said, the end. That was at 13.27 miles.

Okay, here is what I hoped to do and what I am doing.

I have had long runs that made me feel happy. I have had long runs that made me feel sad, like yesterday's. Dear hubby keeps telling me not to be hard on myself. That it was hot, even at the park. That I did well and was smart to stop. And I know that to be true but it still leaves me wondering if I have it in me to run 26.2 on 12/9? Will I get myself properly trained?

In all reality, I am not hitting the mark each week with the long runs and that has me discouraged. But I am building up each week and that leaves me hopeful. Once again, this is my first time to go into training for a marathon right after coming out of one. It is new to me. This plan was just an idea of what I may be able to do.

Motivational Monday
The next three weeks are important. That 20 miles slated for next week could really be the following week. I could aim for 17 miles next week and that would match my progressive increase in miles without jumping forward too far and risking injury. And that 10.74 mile race....well, it may not happen due to budget constraints so I could fit in a longer run that weekend to build my confidence, right? The 20 miles in week 9 I gotta do, one way or another. Perhaps that is a good day to arrange a babysitter and make dear hubby run with me. Then it is taper time and come 12/9, I will run. I will try not to focus on time. Just run and do my best....and have fun!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for dear hubby and darling daughter helping me measure the park yesterday after my run so I can map out the craft fair for work. Granted, this may not have been the best idea to work more in the sun when I was so hot already.
Daily Affirmation: I attract positive people into my life.


  1. Love runs like that are part of the process, I think. Everyone has tough runs like that, especially when you have been training for a while. Trust your training and I am sure you rock the next one!

  2. Ah the highs and lows of long runs - can drive you crazy if you let them :) Trust your training - you're going to do great!

  3. Anonymous11:21 AM

    Failure is in the eye of the beholder - I think you are doing fantastic!

  4. Erica, you are doing so well. I just know you will work through it and conquer the rest of the training!


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