The required long run mileage (21, 24, 26, 10km race, and 29) were all met in terms of distance but not of the required easy pace of 7:19-8:12 mpk. Except for the 10km mock-race that I did using the Unilab 10k route @ 1:06, I often found myself walking at the latter part of the long run, mostly at the last 5-7kms. A miserable sight really.
Take for example last Sunday. The 29km run. The first 16kms were alright (sub-8:00 easy pace) since I was running bandit behind the Neutrogena 15k runners (literally behind since it was only Tessa Prieto, probably among the last 5 runners in the 15k event, in her mint-green ballerina skirt behind me). Things started to go down after 16km when I refilled my liquids when I stopped at the car parked at the Fort Strip. The summer sun was up and blazing. With the scorching heat, my pace dropped significantly, to note:
- km19. Stopping by the sidewalk to sit and remove my shoes to relax. spent about 10mins with thoughts like, "why the HELL am I doing this?!" or LSS of Justin Bieber's "Baby" playing in my head (thanks to my 3-yr old who knows the lyrics!)
- km20. Going inside Jollibee Rizal Ave to refill my hydration belt with their ice-cold water. The server taking orders had dagger-like looks btw.
- km25. Stopping at a carinderia to buy two mini water bottles (P15.00 each) for hydration refills even when the ampalaya with giniling na pork looked VERY tempting. The excess I poured over my face and arms.
- km26. Stopping at the same carinderia as in point 3 above (on the way back) to buy an additional water bottle for cool paligo. Yup, the ampalaya with giniling na pork was still there, calling me.
I stopped my Garmin at all of the above unscheduled stops. Total running time? 3hours 57minutes. If that day was Milo Elims day, I would've finished at 6hours 44minutes ---waaaayyyy outside my target of 5 hours.
It's been a riddle trying to find out my poor performance for those long runs. For now, I suspect:
- The heat. The sun which could've been more than 30 degrees Celsius at an easy 7am Sunday morning was too much for me to bear that it sucked all my energy out. I even started earlier, 5:30am versus 6am on my previous long runs but still the sun rose, frying me.
- Running alone. I think if I had company during those long runs, it would've been encouraging for me to finish at my target pace. As mentioned above, the first 16kms of last Sunday was with the Neutrogena runners. I was within easy pace then. It dropped when I started running alone. Probably being among runners psyched me somewhat.
I think by now I know that I CAN finish a full-marathon if I wanted to. I also know that I can finish a full-marathon in 5hours IF I WANTED TO. I just need to psych myself more to keep my pace in check and not let my mind wander. I have to think positively that running alone also means running in solitude. The sun? Well, there's sunblock. ;-)
Let me end this post by recalling a moment I had along km21. I had just passed McDo Rizal Ave, walking-running, when a tempting thought came. As I was on 26th avenue about 100meters from 5th, I was able to see my car just beyond 5th parked at the Fort Strip. The debate in my head went something like this:
"hey there's the car! let's call it a day!"
"but we still have more than 8kms to go! I should turn right to 5th towards lawton..."
"noooo! tama na. subra na. the sun is too hot already. see, you're walking! walk straight to the car! enough of this!"
"ok. but if I stop, might as well quit the marathon training altogether. If I stop at 21km now, let's not run in the Milo Elims."
As I passed the Mini Cooper display, I was at a crossroad, literally and figuratively. If I walked straight at 26th, it's bye bye marathon debut. If I turned right at 5th going to Lawton, the journey continues.
As you may have guessed, I turned right.
Km29 = 6:48 target marathon pace.