Today I ran 19.9 miles in 4:32 @ 13:40 min/mile pace. That's 10 seconds per mile faster than the 18 miler and it felt much better.
I woke up at 3 am before the alarm went off and was out the door by 3:40 am for a 4 am start with the Galloway group. I hurt, but hooray for another distance PR!
Despite the early start, the cold and windy weather, the constant running nose, a blister on each foot, and my now achy muscles, it was a great run and better than the 18-miler. Mentally, it was a piece of cake and the time flew by. We basically ran 5 4-mile loops, and that helped break it up and made it easier for my brain to handle.
I also did a better job with nutrition. I started with a strawberry/banana gu at mile 4 (yum) and 2 gu chomps at mile 8. I ate a gu roctane at mile 12, which pumped me full of energy for the last 8 miles. I ate 2 shot blocks around mile 15 for good measure, but I probably would have made it without it. The schedule to eat something every 4 miles / 1 hour and alternate between gu and blocks worked out well, so I think I'll use that strategy for the race. It's nice to break it up and not eat the same thing the entire time. I may bring along sport beans for extra variety and a mini luna bar because after a while I crave something with more substance than a gu.
The weather was a challenge, but probably better than hot and humid. It was in the 50s and windy the entire time. I wore my race ready tight shorts with pants on top, a tech shirt with arm warmers, my pearl izumi wind breaker, headband, skull cap, baseball cap, and gloves. I never warmed up enough to take any of it off! I couldn't wait to get home, get out of the wet clothes, take a shower, and get into some comfy sweats. I then did a few yoga stretches, ate breakfast, and put my feet up against a wall for about 20 minutes. I may need a nap now.
Overall, it was a great run and I'm pleased with my pace for it. I'm ready to tackle this marathon already, but thankfully we still have 10 weeks and two more long runs of 23 and 26 miles before the big day. Next week will test my resolve as I attempt to run 10 miles on my own while on vacation -- most I've done by myself is 7. I think it may be time to bring the ipod shuffle out of retirement for this one.
Here's the schedule of long runs / races until race day: