I've done some eighteens, some nineteens, and plenty that were less, but still in the upper teens. I haven't done a twenty, however, since the Cleveland Marathon in May. This from a guy who used to do weekly twenty milers all year around, whether there was an upcoming marathon or ultra, or not. Those long runs went on for the vast majority of my running life.
But when I quit marathoning, there was no need to keep doing runs of twenty miles and longer. So I got a bit lazy. By cutting these down a bit, and by taking at least two days off per week, my weekly mileage is also now lower. Not that things aren't okay, they are. Witness my last post where I talk about a pretty good speedwork session.
When there are this many things going on, however, it gets a little tough to get even these 50 weekly miles in. Some of those 'things' include this weekend's NC24. To get up to fifty for the week, I set out to do twenty today.
It wasn't pretty. I thought a lot about bonking, which I did early on during the initial 16. I used to love that course. It's on country roads, and it's fairly serene. Just me and the road. I suppose I bonked because I ignored one critical success factor for long runs: get adequate nutrition and hydration from the start. Back in the old days, I didn't need no stinkin' nutrition and hydration. But now I do.
My early 8:40's somehow morphed into 9:20's, and I finished the 16 with positive splits. Now I needed to do 4 more. In the old days, I'd try to make these the fastest of the bunch. And I did manage to do the final five of Saturday's fifteen at sevenish pace.
Not today. I got some water and a gel, and hit the trails at Heritage park. Would you believe 13 minute pace on that hilly, wet grass?
At least now I don't need to worry about another run until post-NC24 Monday.
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