Wednesday, September 17, 2008

20-Miler Coming Up

I look at the countdown to Chicago, and it's only 25 days. Just typing that sends me into a mild state of panic; I feel a rush and butterflies in my tummy. By now, with three marathons down, I have a pretty good idea of what I'm getting into. I may be tipping from "Healthy Respect" to downright "Fear."

Of what am I most afraid? Well.. blowing up at 20 miles. Am I ready? For the second half? The remaining 6.2 miles? I'm not worried about finishing. I've done that. I really, really need to qualify. And THAT is not going to be an easy task.

What am I struggling with the most? My fueling after 16 miles. I'm good up until then (should have been a half marathoner). But I continue to run into GI issues every time I try to fuel and go farther than that. It could be nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps... or worse. With help from my buddy Rick, I'm going to try a new approach on Sunday with some new products that are designed to be easier to digest and no caffeine. We'll also be watching my electrolytes and supplementing those separately. If I can nail the fueling problem, I think I have a good shot.

This weekend will mark my final meaningful long run; my single 20-miler. I wish that I'd had a few under my belt for this race, but I don't. That being said, I've been at 50-ish miles a week for quite some time. Running six times a week, there are plenty of hard working quality miles in there. I've never worked harder for anything in my life. I'm probably running enough (that's Vince's job). It's just ... different from what "everyone else" is doing.

Because it's my one and only 20-miler, I'm taking it very seriously. I'm getting up three hours before, and starting at exactly the same time as race day (8 AM). I'm eating the same food, wearing the same clothes, carrying the same fuel I intend to carry, and even bought the same drink they are supplying on the course (Gatorade Endurance Lemon-Lime). I'm running a course that is largely flat and paved (like the race course).

I'm very pleased to have not only a buddy to run it with, but his wife supporting us on the course itself. That will allow us to refresh on fluid without resting or stopping. This run is about stressing my body as much as possible with race-like conditions. How two people have agreed to help me on this effort is utterly beyond me.

The only caveat: It will NOT be done at race pace. In fact, I'm hoping it will take nearly as long as the race itself to complete; just to be on my feet for that long. We're shooting to keep it fairly relaxed and easy.

Cheers, and let's see how it goes!


Jesse said...

Sorry- your comment didn't come through on my recent post :( You're right, your post is almost like mine! :) I'd love to hear how your 20 goes! Good luck!!! This is all so exciting...

runner-grrl said...

Thanks, Jesse! I'll be looking forward to reading your post-20-miler "post" as well during my recovery Sunday! 24 days! (that just scares the you-know-what out of me)