Saturday, Heather and I headed out to do our last long training run of this training session. Friday night I was feeling pretty optimistic and trying to visualize myself finishing the entire run, without any knee pain. I picked up some KT Tape at Dick's sporting goods and had Dan tape my IT band and also my knee. I then slept in the tape and was ready to go bright and early (well, not so bright, but definitely early) Saturday morning. I went outside to wait for Heather and was met with some guy passed out on the lawn by my driveway, so I promptly went back in for my pepper spray.
Heather showed up, we whispered a bit about the man on my lawn and then we were off just after 5:20am. The first 6 miles passed relatively easily. I tried the new Chocoalte Cherry Clif Shot at mile 5. At first I didn't like, but after the initial taste, it grew on me and I think ultimately it is a flavor that I could go for on race day. It was dark and kind of misty/rainy. Around mile 7 my knee started feeling kind of wonky and I told Heather that I wasn't sure that I'd be able to complete the entire 22. We were running more or less the first 8 miles of the Eugene Marathon course, which I could do with my eyes closed. I knew we were coming up to a decent hill and so I decided it would be good to stop and stretch before ascending it. We spent a few moments doing that, then took off, up and over it. I don't know if it was the stretching or the fact that the 100mg of caffeine! that was in the Clif Shot finally kicked in, but as we headed down the other side of the hill I started to feel pretty recharged and my knee wasn't bothering me any more at all.
As we headed down towards the river and away from my house (we were kind of running a figure 8 loop, with my house in the center) we passed my first point of no return, which excited me, because it meant no matter what happened on the run, I would at least be achieving double digit mileage. As we ran along the river it finally started getting lighter outside and before I knew it, we were more than half way into our run. We stopped for a bathroom break and to refill out water a little before mile 13. I took that opportunity to stretch again.
For the next few miles, my knee let me know that it was there and kind of uncomfortable with the running we were doing, but it definitely wasn't screaming at me to stop. The miles ticked by and soon enough we were at the furthest point from my house and it didn't matter if I walked, crawled or ran the only way home at that point would be to complete the entire 22 miles. Maybe that should have scared me a bit, but it didn't it made me feel good and confident that I will be able to do the marathon in 3 weeks.
With just under a 5K left, we stopped at Alton Baker Park for the bathrooms and more water. We could've just kept going but decided it would be a much more pleasant 3 miles if we stopped for a bit first. After that stop, it was hard for me to get going again, my knee was pretty stiff, but after about 1/2 of a mile I was feeling pretty good again. A couple of quick miles back to my house and we were done. 22 miles. Our longest and last long training run completed. I think we both felt pretty good about the run. I know it helped build my confidence. Now we are excited to taper!
Here are the stats:
total time: 3:15:21.9
avg pace: 8:52.7
our fastest splits came between miles 9 and 16 where we averaged closer to 8:45
Before this run, I sat down and figured out a fueling plan that I made myself stick to. I think it is pretty close to what I will do on race day.
mile 5: choc cherry clif shot
mile 10: 2 margarita clif shot blocks
mile 15: razz clif shot
mile 20: handful of sport beans
About every 5 miles seems to work pretty well for me. It's a little more than I would normally do on a training run, but I wanted to simulate race day as much as possible. I liked having the super caffeinated shot early in the run, I think it really helped me keep my energy up for the rest of the run. I struggled getting the margarita blocks down but I know that their extra sodium will help keep the cramps away that I experienced in my first marathon. I could have gone without the sport beans at mile 20 and probably been okay since we were only going 22, but we stopped so I could stretch my IT band again and I decided just to pop a few in since I had them. I think on race day at mile 20 I will add in another caffeinated fuel source, probably either a vanilla bean Gu or a strawberry Clif Shot, then save the beans for if I need them within the last few miles.
As for my knee after the run: it was pretty stiff most of Saturday afternoon and a little bit sore yesterday. If it weren't for my knee (and a little bit of bruising I got on my back from my hydration belt) I would have felt really pretty great. Last night, though I did something funky too it somehow and now this morning it really hurts. I think mostly though it is just really stiff. We only have 3 miles on the schedule for today so I will probably either run them tonight to give myself a little more recovery time or move tomorrow's rest day to today.
Overall though, I am feeling pretty good going into this taper. I'm going to rest really well and keep foam rolling. We're formulating our racing strategy and I think we're going to have a lot of fun at this race. Heather got her tutu from Glam Runner the other day and if nothing else we are going to at least look pretty awesome while we are running!