That's right, Internet! I rocked out 18 miles yesterday. Woo hoo!
I am looking to these long runs to not only prepare me physically, but also mentally for the big 26.2 coming up in just 4 weeks. (Holy Yoda, only 4 weeks?!?) Here's what I'm learning:
1. The iPod doesn't have to be playing music for me to run well. For this run, instead of listening to music, I listened to a couple episodes of This American Life. Not having the beats of the music did not affect my pace at all. The iPod serves mainly as a distraction, a way for me to not get bored during those hours of running.
2. 10 miles is too long to go without Gu. At mile 8, I was starting to drag a bit. I had the Gu in my pocket, but I wanted to wait until my water break at mile 10, since it's better to have them with water. Those two miles were rough. I will plan better next time.
3. During these long runs, I somehow manage to get a blister on toe #3 of my right foot. I'll have to figure out a new way to prevent this.
4. A short break can really energize me. I walked up the hill at about 8-1/2 miles, then stopped for water and Gu at mile 10, then a Gu/pee/water break at mile 14. Every time I did, I felt totally refreshed. And it really didn't hurt my time at all. I finished at a totally respectable pace that I was proud of. If I need to take a little rest, I should do it.
5. I need to figure out a way to actually EAT towards the end of these runs. On my two longest runs to date - 16 and 18 miles, I found myself feeling really, really hungry in the last couple of miles. I might have to experiment with carrying some kind of Power Bar with me.
6. Long runs make me HUNGRY. I devoured everything in sight yesterday, and may do the same today.
7. Ice baths? Crazy, but they work. I don't feel sore at all.
8. I am in really good shape and truly seem to have trained myself to be able to tackle these long distances. That added confidence is definitely the most important thing. I truly believe I can do this.