Sunday, August 29, 2010

Simulation Run

Goal: 15 miles at Goal Marathon Pace (6:18) and learn how to eat Gel and Gatorade on the run
Actual: 15 miles at 6:11 average and choked down the Gel and Gatorade

Before I go into the details, it would be most appropriate to start this post by thanking everyone who came out to support me. Major kudos to Jordan Kinley, who ran with me the entire way, showed me how to pinch a cup of gatorade, explained the basics of eating Gel, and provided words of encouragement when my breathing was getting wacky. Not to mention four other huge workouts that he's helped me out with, I'm fairly certain I owe Jordan about 48 beers or so by now. A trip to Costco is in order. Shout outs also go to Billy Shue, Stephen Spada, and Justin Breland for jumping in with me for numerous parts of this workout. Finally, Mark Hadley and his son, Bryce, were the best water boys I could have ever asked for by jumping around to three different locations to ensure that we had gatorade or water every 3-4 miles.

I also cannot leave out the other Charlotte Running Club members that were out there for a run, who cheered my entourage on during difficult portions. It's so amazing how much the running community has transformed since Fall of 2008 compared to today. I feel like we are all part of a team, each of us happy to help the other succeed.

So now I need to start at the beginning. The night prior to this, I ate everything as though I would before my marathon in five weeks. I had a big spinach salad and then a nice bowl of whole wheat pasta with sesame tofu . Obviously in Minneapolis I won't have my own kitchen, but I plan on going to Whole Foods and eating something from the hot bar. If that fails, Olive Garden is always a nice alternative.

The next morning, I ate a bowl of oatmeal approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes before "start time" and drank tons of water. I hopped in my car to meet Jordan, Mark, and Stephen at McMullen. Steve and I ran around for about 9 minutes for an easy 1 mile warmup and I explained the course: to run to the Starbucks on Rea Road, and then run two loops around the big Church and back past the Starbucks until we looped back onto the course again. It would be a perfect 15 miles. The loops around the Church were hilly, located around miles 6-9 of our run. Soon, Jordan arrived and we started promptly at 7am.

1 - 6:36
2 - 6:20
3 - 6:10
4 - 6:16 (taking a gu)
5 - 6:15
6 - 6:07
7 - 5:58 (uphill on Rea Road)
8 - 6:00 (downhill/flat near Starbucks)
9 - 6:02 (uphill on Rea Road)
10 - 6:02 (back onto the McMullen Trail
11 - 6:20 (taking a gu)
12 - 6:10
13 - 6:09 (1:21:40 half marathon split)
14 - 6:10
15 - 6:01

I don't want to bore you with an analysis of each mile, so I'll summarize the main themes.

1) Stay under control. We went out great for the first two miles - 636 then 620 - but then dropped to a 610. On race day, it is critical that I stay around 615-618 pace for those early miles so that I can run the 605-615 pace miles later and feel more relaxed. Also, even though today I felt great on the hilly portion of the run around miles 6-9 and dropped some 6 min miles, at Twin Cities, I'd rather not run 6 min miles until after the halfway point.

2) Eat gel slowly. I took the first Honey Stinger Gel too fast, but it didn't bother my stomach. I dreaded taking the second Honey Stinger and Jordan instructed me to take it slowly, even over the course of an entire mile, and I wanted to chuck that Gel onto the path and stomp all over it, but I didn't. I'm really going to have to will myself to take those things.

3) Stay relaxed. In miles 11-14 I started to tense, which affected my breathing. Given the fact that I will not have the luxury of Jordan coaching me how to relax, I will really need to focus on keeping my body relaxed so that my breathing will stay controlled during the final miles of Twin Cities.

4) Positive thinking. At one point, I really wanted to call it day at the 13.1 point of the workout. Come race day, I need to keep the end in sight and repeat the magical words that Jordan told me today: "Only 20 more minutes of running, only fifteen more minutes of running, etc".

5) Place gels in safe spots. Keep a Gel in my bra, but not on my hip. The one on my hip fell off after two miles and I was fidgeting with it from the get go.

In the end, I didn't have any bathroom issues (my stomach kind of hurt at the end, but it went away after I cooled down three miles), so that was a success. Obviously, I still need to run 11.2 more miles to get a marathon in, but this was a good indicator as to where my fitness stands and what my realistic goal can be going into the marathon on October 3.

Unfortunately, I am writing this 15 hours later, and I can't sleep because my stomach is growling so much that I had to get up to eat more food. Even though I feel like I consumed tons of food, apparently I miscalculated that one...Off to eat my toast and peanut butter with flax seed....

The day before the simulation run, I paced Meagan for a 5:30 third mile of the Greek Fest 5k


Stephen Spada said...

Great recap! You were strong and smooth which leaves you one step closer to your goal...

Cool Down said...

Good Run!!!! Caitlin. You are going to run well on race day.

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