After the Hot Chocolate 15k I knew that I needed to clean up my diet since it was affecting my running. However, I ignored my own good advice due to three birthday parties, Friday happy hour plans, and two wedding food tastings I had this week and went ahead and enjoyed plenty of non-vegan food and lots of beer and wine. The worst of which was Saturday which involved three hours of Ironman California 70.3 race spectating (Mexican mocha coffee, breakfast burrito), a stop at a friends birthday party at a brewery (potato cheese pierogis, five tasters of beer), a bowling birthday party (two more beers), and finally a new baby “open house” party (chips, appetizers). Although I was in bed by 9:30, my stomach felt awful and my head was already beginning to pound from a slight hangover from the days festivities. If they were to list all the things you SHOULD NOT do the day before your 20 mile long run with tempo intervals, I’d say I hit most of them. At least I got 9 hours of sleep right?
I actually woke up Sunday morning feeling fairly good. My legs felt somewhat light and I didn’t really think the run would go too poorly. I got up and got out of the house after eating a bagel (oh yeah forgot to mention the bagels and cake we had at work on Friday too). The workout was this:
- 2 mile warm-up
- 2 x 10 minute tempo intervals (7:30-7:40ish is my typical tempo pace depending on how the hills are for that segment)
- 12 miles easy-moderate @8:40-9 min/miles
- 20 minute tempo segment (no mention of a pace from my coach but last time I did a tempo segment at the end of my 17.5 mile long run I was able to maintain a 7:40 pace)
- 5 minute cool down
- Total = 20 Miles
The first two miles were fine. I didn’t feel bad yet. The sun wasn’t out but I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt knowing it would get warmer. Once I started the tempo intervals i knew it was going to be a long day. My basis for comparison on this run was my amazing 17.5 mile long run that I ran just two weeks early – the tempo intervals felt great and my 17.5 mile pace average was 8:30 min/miles.
My first ten minute tempo interval felt harder than it should have. I averaged 7:36 and was really tired afterward. The two minute recovery period between didn’t seem nearly long enough! The second 10 minutes was even tougher because it started mid-way up a hill and I average 7:46. I felt pretty tired after these and knew I still had 15 miles to run….
The 12 mile segment in the middle of the run was supposed to feel “easy to moderate” and be within 8:40-9 min/miles. While this pace felt easy and great just two weeks ago on my long run, this time it felt difficult. I started off in the low 9s and let myself ease into a lower pace later on in the run. I ran south from my house in Encinitas which meant I was climbing a few hills, especially the fairly large one leaving Del Mar near Torrey Pines. The hills felt hard my mind was not in a great place. I was able to pick it up a bit on the 2nd half and was able to average 8:59 for the 12 miles.
As soon as I started my 20 minute tempo segment (at mile 17! cruel!) I knew it was not going to go well. I was hot (it was 70 and sunny!) and exhausted. At first I picked it up to a mid-7s pace but within the first two minutes it felt horribly difficult. I just let the pace drop but I was still working hard. My breathing and effort felt like I should be running a low 7 min/mile and instead my Garmin seemed to be laughing at me as it flashed 8:15. I couldn’t even hold marathon goal pace for the 20 minute tempo, ending up with an average of 8:18. More than once during this segment I almost got tears in my eyes and I wondered if the walkers on the boardwalk were worried for my well being because my facial expressions were pained.
The 5 minute cool-down at the end of the run felt like misery and as soon as I opened the door of our house I said to Mike “corpse” and proceeded to get out a mat and lay on it, relishing in my favorite yoga move, corpse pose.
While I am happy that I was able to run 20 miles at an 8:48 average, I’m not pleased with the way I felt. I know that it’s my own fault for treating my body like absolute crap for the last few weeks. This run was a very unfriendly reminder that what you put in your body does affect not only your long term health but also your current athletic performance.
So beginning Thursday, I’m going to #EatingCleanUntilEugene – no alcohol, dessert 1x/week and no coffee for 24 days. I can do it! Knowing that my actions will give me a boost on race day and help me achieve this important goal that I’ve been working toward for 7 months will definitely keep me in line!
Do you notice a difference in your performance based on what you eat? Do you want to join me in #EatingCleanUntilEugene or some other race/event you have coming up?!