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My alarm went off at 6:10 am this morning. Wayyyy too early for a Sunday, but out I bed I went. I grabbed a 1/2 cup of coffee (yes, I autoset it the night before to save time…) and a 1/2 small bowl of oatmeal (yes, also made the night before…) and ran out the door. Literally, I ran.

See, I was unable to pick up my bib number at the New York Road Runners office on E89th street the day before because the Ikea adventure with my roommates took from 11:30am-4:30pm, exactly the same timeframe I had to pick up my bib at their offices. Lesson learned to always go pick up bibs early, even if I have to dash out of work! So, I had to get to the NYRR office by 6:45am. I start running until I got to 86th and Broadway, and then realized I was not going to make it there by 6:45 on foot, so hopped in a cap cross-town. Lesson learned to always pack cash in my bag!

I probably got there at 6:44:59 but I made it. I quickly pinned on my bib, attached my d-tag to my shoe, and ran to Central Park and the starting line. By the time I got to baggage, I ran run 1.75 miles total between the trek to the cab and then to the start. Counting it in the daily mileage! I picked up the race t-shirt which of course they were out of smalls. I got a medium which serves more as a dress than a shirt…Lesson learned to pick up my race stuff early to ensure proper sizing of free shirt.

I waited in line for a good few minutes for a portapotty before the start until I decided to screw it and pop in the bushes, great success. I squeezed into my starting corral at the last second and the gun went off!

It was weird, since this wasn’t a RACE. It was a tune-up RUN. I intended to run it at a training pace, like 7:30/mile. The first mile was a tad frustrating, weaving in and out of packs of people. Really, I don’t think I hit a point where I was actually running with people rather than past them until around 5 miles.

So here’s where it gets interesting. My chip time for the 18 miles (time I crossed the start until time I crossed the finish…) is 2:16:54. However, my watch time for the 18 miles (overall run time, stopping watch when I stopped running) is 2:10:46. So, what happened in that 6 minute discrepancy?

Let’s back it up to yesterday. I had a normal breakfast around 10am, and then started helping my mom paint my room. My roommates and I went to Ikea around 11:30am, and I really didn’t think it was going to take as long as it did. So, I only brought a Gatorade for the road. By the time I arrived back to the apartment by 5pm or so, I was starving! I quickly ate a kiwi (random, but it was there and easy…) and helped my mom touch up some more before we went out to dinner.

Needless to say, I went a little more overboard than normal at dinner with my mom at  Community Food & Juice. I ordered a delicious sauteed squid with white beans, tomatoes and pesto appetizer, a grass-fed beef burger with caramelized onions and white cheddar, fries, AND then a strawberry rhubarb crisp for dessert. It was DELICIOUS! I was full, but not stuffed when I left. And then I guess it settled. It was discomfort and I knew I wouldn’t fully digest before the run the next morning. But, I rationalized it as more fuel, right?

WRONG!

The rich (though extremely delicious) food did NOT agree with my stomach the next morning. Having to stop and wait in line for the portapotty literally 3 times during the run (sorry, TMI?) contributed to the not-so-enjoyable 18 miler, and a combined 6 minutes of not running. It was a little frustrating to keep having to catch-up to the same folks, but I had my watch to take each mile splits so at the end of the day, at least I knew my real pace.

BIGGEST LESSON LEARNED: DO NOT eat a huge, rich dinner the night before the marathon! Fuel up well, but with safe, bland foods!

Ugh. Probably don’t care to hear about my stomach woes. If 18 miles doesn’t sound awful enough to run, this just made it even worse. That’s what training runs are for, I suppose!

Here’s what the run came out to…

1.75 miles…around 7:30? Warm-up stop and go.

Mile 1: 8:06
Mile 2: 7:40
Mile 3: 7:18
Mile 4: 7:19
Mile 5: 7:24
Mile 6: 7:08
Mile 7: 7:24
Mile 8: 7:18
Mile 9: 7:09
Mile 10: 7:06
Mile 11: 7:18
Mile 12: 7:02
Mile 13: 7:02
Mile 14: 7:23
Mile 15: 7:00
Mile 16: 7:01
Mile 17: 7:14
Mile 18: 6:41

Total 18 Mile Time: 2:10:46
Total distance TOTAL: 19.75 miles! Longest run EVER!

I felt good, my average pace was around 7:15, pretty good considering my first 2 miles were especially slow. Once I saw my splits going down, and saw that I was feeling good (minus tummy…) I got competitive with myself and tried to focus. It didn’t feel like I was racing or tempo-ing even, just like I was focusing on maintaining my pace and keeping it smooth. My goal pace for the marathon is 7:15 so I definitely feel like if I can do 18 at that pace in a low-key run, I can do 26.2 even faster than that come RACE DAY!

Lesson Learned: Don’t DOUBT yourself! Most of the time, you’ll surprise yourself.

After the run, I grabbed one zillion cups of water and gatorade and tried to stretch as much as I could. My shoes (mentioned last post) kinda cut up my heels a bit and they bled onto my socks. Won’t include a visual of that. It didn’t bother me during the run, so I guess that’s okay. But BOY was the walk home PAINFUL. Lesson learned: Pack flipflops to FREE my feet post-run!

Overall, quite successful. The 7am starting time was a killer but I am glad I did it. Having thousands of other folks to run with really made it ….dare I say, fun? Getting super excited for the Marathon, but NOT looking forward to a pair of sore legs tomorrow!