Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Sixteen Miles And The Lesson Well Taken


It was a beautiful day Saturday morning, and I set off around 10:30 a.m on a 16 mile jaunt. On this, the longest distance I had ever run, I decided I was going to experiment with some things.

The first was breakfast. I've always had cramping problems before when I've run with food in my stomach. I decided to eat eight bananas about two hours before I set out. I'd done this before with watermelon, but banana is more calorically dense, which you need to fuel a long run. It's also a more substantial food, and theoretically could give me some digestive challenge compared to the watermelon.

As ran down W. Main Street, I I felt some mild tightness in my stomach, but it passed away pretty quickly.

I headed down Oregon Road, up the Quinnipiac Gorge Trail, and into Cheshire. W Meriden Road is basically a long climb that lasts a few miles, but I didn't have too much of a problem with it.

I was rationing my water, but by mile seven or so I had run out. I was purposely taking this route so that I could stop off at my parents house. There, I had asked my parents to pick some celery from the garden and save me a couple of ripe bananas to try another experiment- my raw "energy drink."

It's simple, but far better than the crap they sell at the store. After a couple of hours, I was feeling fairly tired and a bit thirty. I made a smoothie out of celery and two bananas and a whole lot of water. I sipped it slowly, stretched, and set off back to Meriden after about 20 minutes.

I suppose a 20 minute break in the middle of my run is cheating, but whatever.

So I felt completely refreshed with my "energy drink" and had no lack of energy as I powered up the hills in the neighborhood I grew up in and back down to Meriden.

On about mile 13 or 14, I ran into a problem, though. My legs had been tired before my run, and after a couple hours my left leg was shot. I wouldn't exactly describe the sensation as pain. It was more like a really deep tiredness. It's like my muscle had come off its track. It was just telling me to stop.

I could have powered through it, but I figured that it was better to slow down and walk rather than risk injury.

I found it really, really annoying to be walking all the way back to Meriden when I had plenty of energy.

But my muscular rebellion had a good point. I had probably been averaging 25 miles a week previous to my training.

Last week, I ran 47. I think that while I was cardiovascular fit enough for the mileage, my leg muscles may not have been prepared.

After a massive meal after I got back to to my apartment and a lot of stretching, my leg was soon bending and functioning just fine, though it was a bit sore.

I slept 12 hours that night. I was completely exhausted and the sleep felt fantastic.

I took all of Sunday off for rest and, as I was off from work Monday, I didn't run that day either, but instead decided to go to the beach and do some swimming.


After two days of rest, I was ready to run again. I had a nice tour of the city and stretched my legs a bit.


Sarah said...

Sounds like the bananas before and during worked out well for you! Thank you for trying it out and sharing your experience. I'll tuck it away for future reference.

Are you following any particular marathon training plan?

I know of a couple of 811 guys who are marathon runners and I'd be happy to find their contact info for you if you're interested.

Anonymous said...

Your not a runner talking about eating eight bannas. Taking a 20 minutes break. I can run a 5 k less than 20. Be serious. Dont give advice on something you know nothing about.

Thanks. Jason