Whoa, five weeks to go and it is getting intense! And time consuming... but that's what I signed up for! Today was an 18 mile run, and as I posted before, I finished! The first 6 miles was great. I felt strong, I didn't take many breaks, and my body felt pretty good! After 6, I stopped to use the bathroom, had some water/Gatorade, and my first Gu. I use the vanilla bean flavored Gu with caffeine. It tastes pretty close to vanilla icing, which may seem uninviting when you're running, but it's pretty good!
After that 6, I decided to break the remaining 12 miles into loops. I should mention that at this point, it started raining and the temperature was probably somewhere around 45 degrees F. Oy! So anyway, I have a 3.2 mile loop that I do from home, so I did that twice. I had another Gu at the end of that, and I was on my way for my final loop (6 miles). Throughout the run I was drinking my water and Gatorade because I have a handy dandy Fuel Belt that allows me to carry 20 ounces of fluids with me.
The final 6 miles was tough! I was drenched from head to toe, and my hands were absolutely freezing! Pittsburgh is a hilly place too, and I would say mile 14 - 16 were pretty steadily uphill. I stopped to walk when I needed to, but overall not much. As I was running miles 17 and 18, I definitely started to feel it. My feet were tired, and my cold, wet socks were not helping the blister situation on my feet. BTW, I'm just leaving the blisters so they can callous. Oh fun! My feet are going to be so ugly when this is done! My hamstrings were also getting pretty tight, so I had to stretch here and there when I was stopped at red lights.
All in all, I FINISHED and I finished in 3 hours and 19 minutes, which is right on the pace my running program wanted me to run. Awesome! I got back home, and I was freezing cold, totally drenched, and pretty exhausted. I know things went much better than last week though because after a half hour that included stretching and a hot shower, I was feeling fine. I had some more water/Gatorade (a total of one bottle of Gatorade today), a container of chocolate milk, and a Clif bar to give me some quick calories during my recovery.
It is now 5 hours later, and my legs feel fine. I can feel a bit in my feet from the pounding, but my knees, hips, and ankles are great. Let's hope I can keep things going for the last 5 weeks!