Day 128: Recap of Yesterday’s 27.5 Miles

Note: Today I planned to give myself a day off from posting (I know: what??), since my brain has felt like mush the past two days after yesterday’s run. However, this afternoon I got my second wind (or my first wind?), so here we are…

Yesterday I ran a total of about 27.5 miles 🙂 This happened in two segments. The first segment was 7.5 miles alone at approximately 5:45am along the American River Trail. The original plan was to go 6 miles, but ever the achiever, I left home early enough to add a mile and a half to my run*. The second segment, the other 20 miles, was for the Run the Parkway run along with hundreds of other runners.

Here is a simple assessment of what worked, and what might have worked better for my run:

What Worked On Yesterday’s Run:

  • I ran 27.5 miles, the most I have ever done in one day!
  • Hydration and fuel went excellent despite finishing the water I was carrying several miles before the run was over. The aid stations were a big help along the way, offering extra Nuun electrolyte drink and gels.
  • Walking breaks went great! I took 1 minute walks after 2.5 minute runs for the first 7.5 miles, then 1 minute walks after 3 minute runs for the next 20. I used the walk breaks all the way until the final mile, where I ran.
  • I took a slow 11-minute mile pace for the first 7.5 miles.
  • During Run the Parkway, I stayed close to the 4:50 pace group (11 minute per mile pace) until about mile 10.
  • I stayed at a slow 10:45-ish pace for the first 13 miles of Run the Parkway, only letting myself speed up in the final seven miles, and at first quite conservatively.
  • I talked to some other runners I knew and had some pleasant interactions.
  • I got through the entire run without a real running-related or physical challenge, without “hitting the wall,” etc. It was my fourth time running the marathon-distance (with a little extra added), and only three weeks after my 26 miler. Total time running: 4 hours 53 minutes.
  • I accomplished negative splits**: the first 7.5 miles were 11 minute miles, the next 13 were at about 10:50, and I started speed up in the final 7. The final mile was 8:48.
  • By and large, I had fun!
  • So far, recovery has been great: lots of eating, some movie watching, sitting out carefree on the front porch. You know, recovering!

What Could Have Worked Better:

  • Despite how well prepared I was, I was definitely in my head about this race. For one thing, juggling two runs made things feel more complicated. Also, I admit, I was a bit self-conscious about going slowly, and even about the walking breaks, which continually had me passing then being passed by the pacing group. Also, the tendency in a race is to, you know, race. Whether it was a competitive spirit or the desire to look good, I got caught up in that a bit. As a result…
  • I went a bit too fast at times and pushed myself a bit too hard for a training run four weeks before the actual marathon. Fortunately, I still stayed slow enough overall, running 2 minutes slower than what my recent magic mile run predicts is my marathon pace capability.

Overall Assessment:

Overall, the run went fabulously. Yes, I neglected my pacing strategy a bit. Yes, I got in my head. It had been a long time since I was in a race environment, so it was a bit of an adjustment. I still ran my race in a way that worked for me: I took my walk breaks, and I kept within the right pacing range. Also, it was an excellent wake up call of what it’s like to run in a public event. In four weeks, I will be doing it for real, and with thousands of runners!

*Officially, the Galloway marathon program called for a 29-mile run, but for reasons I wrote the other day, I modified the plan somewhat.

**Negative splits refers to getting faster as the race goes on. Last year I discovered the satisfaction of starting conservatively and ending strong. This is how I plan to run CIM.

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