On Thursday, I set out to try something new- run 10 miles. Up until 2 weeks ago, I had never run more than 7 miles at a time and the run that broke that record for me barely did so. With 2 weeks until race time, I decided it was now or never as far as trying a really epic run. So I called Cesar up and asked if he was up for trying to run 10 miles- he was.
Before the run, I decided to try something new. Gatorade just came out with a "performance system" that involves three different drinks that you use while exercising. We decided to try the "before" one (a pouch of syrupy liquid you take 15 minutes before exercise) right before we ran and the "after" one (a slightly chalky drink in a smaller bottle that's full of protein) once we were done.
Whether it was mental or not, I think that the "before" stuff really helped. After the first 6 miles, I was still feeling pretty fresh. The cramp monster was strangely absent and my breathing felt way too normal for what I had just done. After a short break, we headed down the boardwalk again.
Surprisingly, the next trip up the boardwalk wasn't bad either. By the time we made it to the end, we were both definitely feeling the mileage, but it was still better than I had expected to feel. Knowing that our final mileage was going to be closer to 11 miles, something inside me wanted to head back out for an extra 2 miles once we made it back just so I could say I had run a half marathon. Sadly, I overestimated my abilities once again.
On the way back to the Pacific Beach pier, things took a turn for the worse. All of a sudden, we both hit the wall. Without Cesar there, I probably wouldn't have made it. It wasn't that anything terrible like a cramp hit me, it was just that the miles finally caught up with me. By the time we hit the 10 mile mark, we were both struggling and realized that we still had a mile to go. We could see the finish in the distance but no matter how long we ran for, it didn't seem to be getting any closer.
Finally, after the longest mile I've probably ever ran, we made it back to the pier. It was pretty bad. Everything hurt and I felt about to pass out. People walking by were giving us strange looks and I knew that I would be doing the same if I was in their place. Slowly, we walked back to my car and drank the Gatorade "after" drinks. They didn't taste so great, but I felt my senses slowly coming back. A few minutes later, I felt better and by the end of the day (besides a few sore muscles), I hardly knew I had run at all.
So what did I learn? Most of it was encouraging. I learned that my body can take 11 miles of punishment and not explode. I learned that all the training I've put in may actually be helping. I learned that it might not be a bad idea to bring a few of those Gatorades on Hood to Coast. And I learned that I would probably run the Hood to Coast a lot faster if I had Cesar running with me.
We leave in a week. This year I'm ready.