Boston Marathon Training Monday #23: A REALLY Long Run Recap

Hi Friends,

This was a super weird week for workouts.

Since I did “just” 10 miles for my long run last weekend, I wasn’t too sore on Monday. So I finally didn’t have an excuse to skip my Monday night weight training session. But, like, it’d been almost a month since I legitimately did my leg lift workout, and so the soreness from that was intense.

Plus, this week’s long run was our longest on schedule: 21-22 miles, point-to-point along the actual Boston Marathon route. I spent a lot of the week feeling anxious about it, and trying to prepare however I could. Our coach suggested 1-2 rest days leading up to the long run, so I gave myself 2 full days off from working out; longer than I’ve gone in months, probably. By the time Saturday rolled around I was feeling pretty ready! But I’m getting ahead of myself…

 

Here’s how the week fell into place workout wise…

  • Monday: 3.5 miles tempo-ish run + Leg Lift
  • Tuesday: 30 minutes swimming
  • Wednesday: 3 miles w/ hill repeats
  • Thursday: Rest
  • Friday: Rest
  • Saturday: 21.7 (ish?) mile long run
  • Sunday: Yoga
    • Total Weekly Mileage: 26.5

Okay, so, long run recap…

If you’re running the Boston Marathon, this weekend was the last weekend to slip in a high-milage long run before tapering. And because the Boston Marathon course is so unique, people try to get as much practice in on the actual course as possible. Being a Boston resident has made it easy for me; 90% of my long-runs this training cycle have been on the course. But for out of towners, this was the weekend to get to Boston and get familiar with what you’re going to see on race day. That means that about 5000 runners were out on the course this weekend. Although we all had slightly different start and end points, this weekend’s run felt more like a race than training. Many of the participating charities set up fuel and water tales, and many communities we passed through had supporters out on the route cheering and giving out water. The level of support was OFF THE CHARTS.

Here’s how my day went, as told by instagram stories. (Sidenote: for those of you who follow my @readwriterunblog instagram…sorry to leave you in the lurch. I’ve been prioritising my personal account @eccentricity_b for fundraising reasons. Feel free to follow that account for more updates and stories!)

Wakeup: 5:15am

I put my hair the way I plan on wearing it for the race and grabbed my fave insulated leggings from Athleta, lightweight long sleeve from the BAA Half Marathon last year, and Columbia Heattech vest. It was only about 30 degrees int he morning, so I also packed some gloves and a headband. I made myself breakfast according to the results of trial-and-error eating all training cycle. Gone is peanut butter, milk, and coffee, all of which were cramping me up and giving me trots during long runs (TMI? THERE IS NO SUCH THING)

 

I sipped half a bottle of diluted gatorade with breakfast, then added more water to the bottle and brought that and one piece of toast with just jam with me on the bus to Framingham. Framingham is technically a suburb of Boston, and it’s about a 35-40 minute drive on the highway from the center of the city. As a kid I was always bugging my mom to bring me out to the mall there, and she usually said no because it was “too far.” Framingham was our starting line this weekend, so my morning started with a bus ride wayyyyy outside of my comfort zone. 

 

Once the bus dropped us in a parking lot in Framingham at 8am, and I had gone to the bathroom literally 7 times out of sheer anxiety, we took a bunch of group pictures. Here’s my whole charity team and our bus….

My running buddies plus a few teammates who had driven and flown in for the weekend…

Aaaaand a selfie for good measure.

And then we were off! Within the first three miles, I realized two things; one, that i was SO READY to log the miles. Two, that there was SOMETHING wrong with my apple watch.

My running buddies and I typically take our long runs at anything between a 9:30-10 minute pace. After two miles my watch was telling me that I was traveling at 11:28 min/mile. Seeing this time, I got nervous; It felt like I was going much quicker. My brain spiraled. Was I not pushing myself enough? 1.5 extra minutes per mile equates to 30 extra minutes on this run; could my legs handle that? Could my mind? I was flipping out internally. I asked my friends if they wanted to speed up. They checked their own (newer, better) watches and said “Why? we’re doing like 9:45s.” I actually sped ahead of my friends for a while, just to see if my watch was, indeed, wrong. I consciously moved my legs faster for about a half mile, and was so frustrated when at the next mile marker my watch STILL said I was going at 11:28!

Nevertheless, we continued on at our NOT 11:28 pace, whatever that was. I took a gel at Mile 4, as I want to get myself used to taking them every 4 miles. Then the support got really fun. At mile 7 in Wellesley, we paused at the most well-equipped fuel table ever…

 

I was sticking to my safety zone as far as fueling goes; diluted gatorade and my own Clif’s gels (I took another at Mile 8). The energy was so amazing! At Marathon Sports in Wellesley, right around Mile 10, we ran through a cheer section that was SO FUN.

 

And soon we crossed the town line into Newton, where the hills began and the support continued to be fantastic! I paused for a bathroom break and took another gel at Mile 12. I did some mental math and realized that my watch said I’d been running for just under 2 hours, and I’d gone 12 miles, and… clearly I wasn’t running at an 11:28. I finally put my weird pacing doubts to bed, just in time to arrive at Castle Black…

Yes, there was a Game of Thrones themed support tent present at my training run. This picture is terrible, and I was in the middle of the first part of Heartbreak Hill so I didn’t get a good picture, but on the opposite side of this tent they’d actually built a wall out of sheets and had two guys dressed as Night’s Watch guards. They were also blasting the GoT theme song.

Next up, the ladies from Lululemon had their standard sassy support station. There’s a Lululemon just off the marathon route in Chestnut Hill, and I think they know how much business they get from runners like me:) So they come out and cheer some Saturdays!

Around mile 16, I separated from my pack. I was planning to do 21+ miles, while many of my teammates were sticking with 20. As such, I decided to throw in an extra loop around the BC Reservoir to add on 1.57 miles. I enjoyed being near the water, and took a short stretch break before I headed back to Beacon Street to make my way into the city.

 

Once I lapped the reservoir, I was super thirsty, which wasn’t great. It was another 1.5 miles to the nearest water station, where I guzzled two gatorades and realized my watch had died. I knew I was just over 3 miles away from my finish point, so I got moving and started visualizing what I was going to eat when I finished.

At the end of the run, I was physically and mentally tired (probably more mentally since I spent the first 12 miles doubting my pace and doing mental math that never seemed to add up). This level of fatigue got a bit scary when I nearly got hit by a car in Kenmore Square. That said, I was lucky; aside from tired quads and a gnarly pinky toe blister, I was in decent shape. The fellow runner who called out to me to save me from getting hit by the car had lots more aches and pains to contend with at the end there, which we discussed as we shuffled the rest of the way to the finish.

In total, I ran (approximately) 21.7 miles! This was my longest training run EVER, and it marks the beginning of my taper! YAS TAPER. When i got back to our team base, I changed into dry clothes (I get cold really easily, and so I always change straight away after a run!) then got to stretching and snacking simultaneously with my teammates. I had a banana, a protein shake, and a protein bar while I rolled and stretched a bit.

 

Once I got home, I iced my knees and ankles, then treated myself to an epsom salt bath.

 

And then I had a protein-filled lunch:)

 

This run made me so excited for Marathon Monday! See, I have run many very small races. I’ve run half marathons with only 2 water stops, and even my full marathon didn’t have a ton of fan support after mile 10. I didn’t know how much I benefitted from consistent fueling and encouragement until I joined this team, and the fact that I pushed through nearly 22 miles on tired, non-tapered legs and felt supported and loved the whole time… that was just amazing:)

I hope you enjoyed this weird little training recap!

Stop by tomorrow for a Teacher Tuesday post!!

 

 

 

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