Hitting the Wall [Marathon Training: Week 13]

20131027-221530.jpg20 miles… check!

It is a rewarding feeling to know that we have successfully completed our final “long run” of our 16-week training program.

Now, its 26.2 miles or bust!

But first, a little description about just how this last long run went. The first 10 miles were great. We were running on the C&O Canal in Maryland, and it was quite the experience. Blue skies, trees bursting with color, rivers on both sides of the trail, and 50 degree Fahrenheit weather. The first 2 miles we did encounter a few hundred people hiking on the path, taking pictures, and picnicking with their families, but eventually the trails cleared and it was just the Daddy-O and I, and the sound of our running shoes hitting the ground.

After 10 miles, we realized we were making amazing time. We had averaged a 9:40/mile pace which I was feeling really good about, and was hoping that we could maintain that same pace for the remaining ten miles.

Then, mile fifteen hit me- and it is literally as if I ran into a brick wall. I had to stop… my legs couldn’t run anymore. I walked for a few minutes, and then managed to get my body running again to mile eighteen. My pace had slowed down tremendously by this point.

Now, a little side note is that we ran out of fluids at mile 15 and were pretty darn thirsty. Also, I was extremely hungry from mile 3 on, and my energy jelly beans were not seeming to fill my grumbling stomach.

So when mile 18 came, I was done. I felt as if I had no energy left inside of me. If it weren’t for all of the people on the trail, at that point… I would not have been able to press forward. I managed to stumble my way to mile 19.5 when I finally had to call it quits. My dad literally pushed me to the car as I prayed I wouldn’t toss my cookies- I was having cold sweats, and feeling pretty gross.

Lesson learned: EAT, EAT, and EAT some more.

It is a crazy concept to realize that in just a few hours of running, we had burned 2,100 calories. I think I have finally learned that I am not eating enough to compensate for those burned calories, or to give my body the fuel it needs to excel during the entire course of my run. All I know,  is that I do NOT want to experience this “runner’s wall” again.

Here’s to carbo-loading these next few weeks, and tapering those miles because in 20 days, its RACE DAY.

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