I got myself ready at 6am on Sunday with my Camelbak full of Gatorade, a full flask of Hammer Gel (espresso flavor), and a packet of banana Hammer Gel to try out (not bad...). I decided that this time I'd take more fuel, and eat/drink every 30min and see how things went. I was also very focused on HR, making sure that I stayed right around 80%max for as much of the run as possible. At 6.30am I headed out into the cool, rainy morning.
I wore an UnderArmor cold gear long sleeve with my cycling vest which worked perfectly. Even when I got caught in rain and snow, I was still rather comfortable. That was a great start - I knew the weather could get tougher based on the forecast, and the last thing I wanted was to be uncomfortable and cold for 2.5hrs.
The city was nice and quiet, and the air was humid from a light rain - so light it was almost foggy. I meandered through my neighborhood, headed north past some new developments in Kanata, and then decided I'd head past my old workplace of nearly 10yrs. To get there, I had to go through an older neighborhood in Kanata which is rather pretty with old growth trees and many streets lined with tall cedar trees.
I was almost half way through the neighborhood, enjoying the quiet and damp morning when the Noise of Satan occurred. As soon as it happened, this Mighty Ball of Furry Fury literally FLEW out of the row of cedar trees I was next too - and it came right at me, nearly waist height. Scared the living crap out of me - I actually screamed as the Ball of Fury nearly hit me,
then seemed to stop and hang in midair in front of me - as if I was in The Matrix! As I jumped to get out of the way, the Ball of Fury suddenly changed form - a pair of squirrels were fighting like their lives depended on it and when they saw me, they immediately tried to run in the air and get the hell back to the trees! Once I realized what the hell was going on, I started to laugh - then I immediately watched my HRM. It went up about 5% because of those little hellions!!!
Thankfully, I didn't scream like a little girl. 'Cause it was close. :D
That little "event" kept me laughing for a long time after, and that carried me to my old workplace. I used to run there all the time during lunch, and while I reminised about old times, I remembered that fateful day when I was laid off and all the worry and stress from that. I spent nearly 10yrs there, and I was left wondering "was it really worth it?" I'll never know, but I certainly faired well after leaving that place. After a few more minutes of thoughts like that, I dismissed it all as easily as they dismissed me so long ago, and I made the turn for home.
That's when the wind really picked up, and the rain/snow mix started. With about 1hr left in the run, it was going to be a tough bit to fight that wind. I found out later it was gusting to 55kph, and it sure was a tough one. Surprisingly my HR never went up above 83% even through that. I was getting a bit sore in some muscles, but I just kept my pace and managed my hydration and nutrition to keep moving. And on and on I went.
Getting close to home I realized that I may have gone a bit too far, and that my 2h30 would end well before I got home. Turned out I was right - I was off by a long shot. But as that magical mark approached, I checked my gel/drink intake, did a mental "once-over" of how I was feeling, and just kept on moving.
I had found early on a nice, efficient stride that I had held for the full 2h30, and I just trusted it to keep me moving. And it certainly did, for an extra 10min and nearly 2k more. I ended the run in 2h40, covering 26.2km. Both of those measurements are big for me, as they mark the longest run I have ever done so far in my life. WOOT!
Even better, I could have kept going. I honestly felt that I could have gone right through to 3hrs with relative ease. The stride was feeling good, and I had perhaps just enough fuel to get through it. But I decided to save it for another day and get home. I celebrated with a good stretching session and a packet of Hammer Recoverite.
That Recoverite sure felt great too. I must say I felt great for the rest of the day after having that. I will DEFINITELY be getting more of that for the rest of my big workouts this season.
I'm completely pumped by this run. It provided a major boost for my confidence, and I got through some nutrition hurdles too. In 2wks time I get one more big run before the marathon - a 3hr+ run. And then a few weeks after that is the marathon, hopefully with an equally successful result.