Rouge Leader Standing By

I ran(/walked/ran) 23 miles yesterday!  Holy buckets that was far!

The day started out comfortably cool and overcast and the first half of our run took us up to a gorgeous wooded area that I particularly like running through. The sun came out later and the second half of our run was on pavement and through areas with little shade. I was quite warm.

My biggest issue on yesterday’s run was my feet.  They swelled a bit, though not enough to make my shoes tight, and the bottoms became tender.  The switch from walking to running became a bit more difficult than usual, even by the 15 mile mark, but I toughed it out. It was one of those days when I was really glad to be running with a group. Had I been on my own, I don’t know that I could have completed all 23 miles, but my running buddies kept me entertained and distracted and I was able to keep on going.

I brought a lot of nutrition with me on this run. Having felt like I was running out on the 20 mile run, I may have over-prepared for 23. I filled two water bottles with straight water and mixed Honey Stinger Gels into the water in the other two bottles. I also brought along two extra gels to mix into those water bottles when I refilled them at the aid stations,  three bags of the Stinger Energy Chews and one bag of Jelly Belly Sport beans.  Rather than running out, I only ate 1.5 bags of the chews and no beans. But I did use all 4 gels (mixed in water) and I also drank quite a bit of straight water. I really like the gels. If you try them when you’re not exerting yourself, they may well be overpoweringly sweet. During exertion, they taste much better. By putting them into my water I can take in small amounts at a time, which seems to be the thing to do.

After my run my feet and legs were sore but I wasn’t as tired or mentally fogged up as I had been after the 20 mile run. It’s fascinating to me, as a new runner, how different each run can be. Some days a short run can be harder than a long one a few days later. Sometimes I’ll have weird pains that reoccur over a period of a few days or a week and then disappear. My only continuing issue is my IT band, which behaves very nicely as long as I use my foam roller every few days. Right now it is tight, but not at all sore.

I was able to take a cool bath again after my run, which helped immensely. I strongly recommend the cold bath method to anyone who is running or biking long distances. I did take some ibuprofen as well, which I generally try not to do unless I’m too sore to sleep. I am concerned about masking pain that might alert me to an injury I need to be aware of, so it seems best not to use painkillers much.  But between the swelling in my feet and the sunburn I managed to get, I decided that a little ibuprofen was appropriate this time. And I really didn’t feel like I had any serious pain to worry about, either. My legs were inflamed and felt very tired and somewhat tender, but not injured at all.

Today my feet feel fine and I’m a bit stiff, especially in the hips, but not particularly sore. And I definitely don’t feel injured. My sunburn is probably the most annoying post-run issue I have, and it’s not even that bad. Next time, I’ll apply/re-apply sunblock once or twice when we stop at aid stations.

The title of today’s post comes from the fact that my pace group might be breaking away from the class for our 26 mile training run. Many of us want to run the actual Marathon course, but logistically it is difficult for our class coordinators to manage shuttling everyone out to where the course starts and get people back after our run to retrieve cars. I don’t blame them a bit. But several of us feel very strongly that it will be psychologically beneficial on race day, to have run the course already. So we’re going rogue. We’ll have to get friends and family to do our aid stations for us, but I think we can manage. (As we were discussing our plan to go rogue, I was called Rogue Leader after mentioning that I chosen to return to our pace group after being re-assigned to a faster one. Being a nerd, I was amused.)

The Missoula Marathon is in 47 days and we only have one long training run left to go. That boggles my mind a bit, but I’ll be ready.

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