I ran my longest run since the Boston Marathon today. It has started to cool down but today’s high temperature was expected to rise in the triple digits. I had no choice but to start running before 6AM. The 20-mile run would take me just short of 3 hours!
I loaded up with 3 gel packs (total of 12 gels) for nutrition and started running from Mountian View Park at around 5:45AM. It was a nice cool morning (by Arizona standards) with a light breeze blowing from the northeast. I would head south on the greenbelt, veer off to the canal towards oldtown Scottsdale going southwest and eventually run west towards the Biltmore. I know coming back would be tougher as I would be running uphill and against the wind.
The plan was to maintain my heartrate into the low 140s for the first hour, let it drift into the mid and upper 140s in the second hour and let it touch 150 in the third hour. The plan was to east 4 gels every 50 minutes. The plan was to run 10 miles and then back. The plan was to drink water at pretty much every water fountain I knew of (mile 6, mile 8 going out and mile 12, mile 14, mile 19 coming back).
I ran the first couple of miles in darkness before the sun peaked over the eastern horizon. It was a gorgeous morning. There were dozens of runners out already. It was not even 6:30AM when I stopped at mile 6 in oldtown Scottsdale to drink water and consume 4 gels (and snap the above picture). The water glistened in the morning sunshine as I ran on to stop again for a few seconds at the “waterfall” (Indian School and 56th Street) to gulp down more water. The folks from the Phoenix Fit group were already out running. I could see their water thermoses out. At mile 10 (44th Street) I took the liberty of drinking from the Phoenix Fit thermos (thank you) and turned around. So far, I was averaging around 8:15 per mile. I had maintained my heartrate at or below 145. I was quite happy with my pace and my heartrate.
As soon as I started running back, I felt a stiff wind in my face. It was not quite 7:15AM but it was starting to get hot. The sun was directly in my eyes and sometimes shining off the canal compounding the heat. I stopped again at mile 12 (waterfall) to drink and eat 4 more gels. My pace had slowed but not by much. At this point, I still felt good! I had no idea what was to come though.
In oldtown Scottsdale, after drinking more water (mile 14), I knew I had a 5-mile stretch with no water. It was all against the wind and slightly uphill. I have two new power-songs I have downloaded in the past couple of weeks. Both are by Selena Gomez and both are mixes:
- Love You Like A Love Song (Dave Aude Radio Mix)
- Come & Get It (Dave Aude Club Remix)
When these played, I forgot about the pain. I probably looked silly singing along but I was in a zone with Selena!
Unfortunately, I had no idea that I hadn’t planned for enough calories. I thought I had the perfect formula with all the gels I was eating every 50 minutes. Something was flawed. The heat, wind in my face and lack of calories were too much even for Selena’s power songs. At mile 18, I had no choice but the stop because I experienced bonking signs. The heat was getting to me. I needed calories. I quickly ate the remaining gels and waited a couple of minutes before starting to run towards The Altitude Cafe (mile 19). This mile was slow and laborious. I was struggling. A few people I had passed in the past couple of miles passed me. I finally made it to mile 19 where I stopped to drink a few cups of water and eat a whole yogurt parfait with granola!
The final mile was an easy jog. I got back to my car averaging 8:24 per mile over 20 miles. I was cooked and laid in the grass at the park for a while. I have only one more long run to go before the New York Marathon!
Next week, I am racing a 10k in Tempe (Maggie’s Place).
Chetak (my Tesla) is back in the shop to get the airbags fixed. I have a replacement P85 for now. Hopefully they will fix Chetak by Monday!