It wasn't long ago that I considered 14 miles to be an extremely long run. It's still a long run for me, but today for the first time, it was a part of my midweek schedule. Given how my run went on Sunday, I was aiming for a little more consistency today. I would start out slow, and only speed up at the end if I was still feeling good.
I was also trying a slightly different hydration plan. Instead of water, I carried 16 ounces of Nuun electrolyte drink. You prepare the drink by dropping a tablet in 16 ounces of water. Since I had two 8-ounce bottles, I broke the tablet in half and dropped one in each. Then it starts fizzing like an Alka-Selzer for about 2 minutes. This is a bit of a problem because it means you can't put the lid on your bottles until it is ready, and I was hoping to meet the DART bunch for coffee (well, tea, in my case) after they finished their 6 a.m. run and before I started mine. When the Nuun had finally dissolved, I headed down to Summit to meet the group, but no one was there. Chad told me later that he was the only one who showed up this morning, so he hadn't stuck around for coffee.
I drove back home and started my run from there. It was a chilly morning, about 25 degrees, and it didn't warm up much over the course of the run. My plan was to stick to 9-minute miles until I was nearly finished. After four miles at that pace I stopped at a public restroom, drank 8 ounces of Nuun, ate 4 GU chomps, and refilled the bottle with water. After running about a half a mile, I noticed that my Garmin had shut off. Were the batteries dead? I turned it back on and fortunately it was working, but I lost a bit of the run, and now my mile splits were coming up at odd times. I think maybe I had accidentally hit the lap/reset button when I restarted the Garmin after the break. But that wouldn't explain why it shut off. These are the sort of niggling things that start to bother you on a long run.
After another four miles at a 9-minute pace I ate the five remaining chomps and finished off my second bottle of Nuun. I was feeling pretty good, but frankly I was getting a little bored. Normally I run at least a part of my long runs with other people. I was listening to podcasts, but at this point I was starting on podcast #3, and I still had 6 miles to go. This stretch, on Shearer Road, was a long uphill climb, and I started picking up the pace just a bit in Mile 11. When I reached the top of the hill near the end of Mile 11, I stopped one last time, drank my water, then headed down Grey Road towards home. Mile 12 involved a steep-ish downhill and a major uphill, 103 vertical feet, and I tried to push the pace: 8:26. Mile 13 was downhill, and so I kept up my faster pace, 7:59. By mile 14 I was finally beginning to wear out, but kept up the pace for the last .56 uphill miles, an 8:38 pace. I was home, but at this point due to the earlier snafu, the Garmin only indicated a 13.65 mile run. I recorded the final lap time, then jogged around the block so that my digital record clearly indicated 14 miles.
A good training run. My legs never felt like they did on Sunday or on the Idiot run, where at a certain point they just shut down. I don't know if that's due to the electrolyte drink, or the fact that it was a little shorter than those runs. After all, I didn't really shut down on the Idiot run until Mile 16. I'll try drinking some more Nuun on Sunday for my 21-miler, and that should help me figure out if it's making a difference.