My marathon training training buddy Kathleen and I have a new distance record for running: 16 miles!
I feel like this run was the first time where we felt like we were really training for a full marathon vs. a half. And also the point where we were both kind of like… what have we gotten ourselves into? It was kind of insane finishing the run and being like “Oh, good, we’d only have TEN MORE MILES to go if this were the real race. Ahhhh.”
The run was definitely hard – 16 miles is a lonnnggg way, but we both felt decent the whole time and we had a beautiful route, too.
Kathleen’s bathroom is getting renovated right now so she’s been staying with her family up in Columbia, MD. She’s been doing a lot of back and forth to the city for work (but has Thursdays off) so I offered to head up to Columbia early yesterday morning to do the run with her up there. I figured a change of scenery would be nice!
I was up by 6 a.m., out the door by 6:30, and Kathleen and I were running around Columbia by a little before 8. It was a humid morning but also nice and cloudy – we both welcomed the lack of sun beating down on us.
Kathleen mapped us out a pretty route all around Columbia. In addition to some gorgeous wooded trails, we also ran through neighborhoods and around this pretty lake.
For fuel, we did a mixture of things. Before leaving my house for the run, I had my standard Ezekiel toast with almond butter and jam, and since I knew I wouldn’t be running right away, I also had a shot of espresso (we have a little Nespresso espresso machine that’s the best thing ever). No latte because I didn’t think a ton of milk before a run would make my stomach that happy.
During the run, we shared some margarita shot bloks (LOVE these – nice and salty) and Cytomax energy drops. I took the shot bloks out of the packaging and put them in a baggie for easy grabbing during the run.
For long, sweaty runs, the shot bloks are great – love that there’s added salt and they taste good, too. The only problem with bloks/chews vs. gels is that I find them really hard to eat while I’m actively running (breathing + chewing = hard, apparently), so we stopped anytime we wanted to have some… probably every few miles we each had one or two.
As for water, I want to give some love to my new Nathan HPL 020 Race Vest, which the company sent me to test out earlier this week.
You guys know I’m normally a CamelBak girl – I LOVE my 1.5 L Hydrobak and have used it since 2010 for all my half marathon training – but for marathon training I wanted something that a) held a little more water, and b) had pockets on the front straps so I could stash my camera, gels/chews, phone, etc. during runs for easy access. I originally tried the 2 L CamelBak marathoner vest and while I liked it, it was a little bulky for my short torso and small frame. The straps were a little wide on my shoulders and rubbed against my neck, and I had some chafing on my upper back unless I wore a t-shirt with it. I also thought the pockets on the front of the vest were too big for my purposes.
As for the Nathan vest, I’m a huge fan. No problems with chafing, and the pack is a little daintier in general which worked better for me. I also liked the smaller pockets on the vest – fit my trusty point and shoot camera and gels perfectly. It also holds 2 L of water.
I filled my pack all the way up with water and didn’t need to refill it for the 16 – when we finished I was just finishing the last of the water, though, so for longer runs I’ll probably need to work in a water stop!
For this run, I also brought my favorite CEP compression sleeves back out to play for the first time in a few months. I normally wear them on all long runs but I have been trying to just wear them before/after runs (along with my compression socks, which are a little looser and cushier and great for recovery vs. during the actual run) recently because it’s so hot out and they obviously make me hotter, but 16 miles called for compression.
Kathleen and I chatted for most of the run, which made the miles go faster. So nice to have a buddy!
We definitely both got quiet on the last few miles, though. We were getting tiiiired. And it was a hilly route, too!
We were both VERY happy when we were done. I think I’m starting to get a little taste for what the real marathon will be like – your body is just tired in a different way than for the half marathon distance, and we obviously haven’t even gotten that high in mileage yet. With every mile I feel more and more impressed by marathoners. Ya’ll are a tough bunch. This is hard.
Unfortunately, I don’t really have an accurate picture of our splits because both of our watches timed out around mile 9! We stopped to refill Kathleen’s CamelBak and to eat some fuel, and her watch timed out and ended the workout and I think I hit mine accidentally to end the workout. (I was borrowing Matt’s MOTOACTV GPS watch since my new one still hadn’t arrived.) Big fail. We were both SO pissed that we didn’t get to see “16 miles” pop up on our watches! Instead, we ended up doing a 9.2 mile run and a 6.8 mile run. Ha. That was kind of underwhelming.
Our finish time was around 2:36 though, so that would put us at about a 9:42 or so pace. We definitely slowed down the last few miles! My knee was feeling stiff again by the end and surprisingly so was the arch on my left foot – feeling on the verge of a cramp or something. I’ve been rolling it on a tennis ball and that feels good. And continuing to ice my knee and do hip strengthening moves! I think once we get up to more than 16 miles I might need to start incorporating ice baths, too.
Any tips from you seasoned marathoners as we get into higher mileage? Next week is a step down because we’ll be running the Parks half marathon, but the week after we’ll be up to 17 miles. Eek! Excited/nervous!
Have a great weekend, friends! Matt and I are getting in one last beach hurrah for the holiday weekend, so I’ll be back to share our adventures on Tuesday. Until then!