Sunday, February 20, 2011

Saturday Long Run

Yesterday my motivation and positive attitude got a serious test.  Once again it was quite cold in the morning so I waited until about 11am to go out.  Mistake number 1.  All of my training last fall was first thing in the morning while I was still fresh but the temperature was warmer than 30 then too.  Plus, the wind kicks up around here after the sun comes up and you never know what direction it's going to be blowing.

My plan called for 18 miles at a pace of 7:11 per mile which seemed achievable after last week's 13 miler at a 7:00 pace.  Michelle and I started at Lucky 13 in Harris Ranch and headed toward Discover Park below Lucky Peak.
The first few miles felt good and the wind was still pretty calm.  Mistake number 2, was not following my normal hydration and fueling plan, which is to alternate 12 ounces of water and 12 ounces of Gatorade every 2 miles.  The distance from Lucky 13 to Discovery is 4.33 miles and I figured I would just get my Gatorade when we got to Discovery.  This extra distance without fuel was the start of my crash.  I took water at 6.33 and then decided again to wait the extra distance for Gatorade until we got back to the truck at 8.67 which again was not smart.  These two stops are to first two dips on the HR chart. 

In addition to not fueling properly, I was overheating.  I had an extra long sleeve shirt on which felt good for the first few miles but stopped to ditch it at the truck.  When we left the truck I felt horrible so I took some extra energy chews which caused my HR to spike between mile 9 and 10 before settling back into the normal range.

At about mile 11 was where my body officially gave up.  My HR started climbing while my speed was declining.  My average HR for the first 11 miles was 163 with and average pace of 7:10.  Miles 12 through 15 my average HR was 174 with an average pace of 7:39.  During each of these 4 miles my max HR was about 185 which is off the charts for me.

My water and fuel timing continued to be horrible until mile 16.  If you look on the HR graph you can see where it settles down and looks pretty normal.  I got the right amount of water and ate some energy chews which seemed to help.  I ran mile 17 at a normal HR then practiced pushing myself without pushing my HR too high.  My average HR for mile 17 was 155 and mile 18 it was159 but 30 seconds faster.

All in all, it was a pretty horrible run. BUT here is what experience I gained from it:
a) Go first thing in the morning, which is what my body is used to
b) Follow the hydration and fuel plan, once I start crashing it's all over
c) Stop experimenting with gels and chews, use the one that works for me (Clif Shot Bloks Margarita flavor with added sodium, which I did not have on this run)

One final note, when we were driving home I was trying to figure out why things went so terribly wrong today and everything fell apart.  If you don't count the time using the restroom and shedding clothes my moving time was 2 hours and 13 minutes or a pace of 7:23 per mile for 18 miles. (Which coincidentally, is just under the pace required to qualify for the Boston Marathon for men 35-39) 

I felt like the contestants on the Biggest Loser when they complain about ONLY losing 7 pounds that week and it not being good enough.  Michelle reminded me that most people would kill to have a bad day like mine. She was right and I decided that I would find the positives and learn from my mistakes.


  1. Ryan, does your heart rate always start high? I see that First mile was at 180 and then settled down. Mine is doing that too.


    1. Steve, usually when it starts out high like that the real reason is I got out of my truck and start running full speed! If you do a proper warmup it should gently ramp up as your pace gently ramps up. I am not very diligent at getting a warmup in unfortunately. Here is a better example of a nice ramp up.


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