Today started off like any other Saturday. Woke up around 8, drove to West Hartford Center for a coffee at Cosi and then breakfast at Sally and Bob's. Arrived at Fleet Feet and picked up a new pair of the Brooks Trance 8 running shoes, a new pair of shorts, a shirt, a box of GU Vanilla Bean Energy Gel, some electrolyte tablets, Zulu socks and a hydrating belt.
I'm not sure if the shopping spree motivated me or if I was already motivated (which explains the spree), but on the way home I decided to stop in Simsbury and check out the details on the Farmington Valley Bike Path. I parked at Mile 11, just south of the Simsbury Band Shell. That's when my impulsive personality took over. I changed there in the parking lot, loaded up my gear and belt and started running north.
My original plan was to run 16 miles. I was gonna go from the Mile 11.2 point I was at to Mile 19.2 and turn around. If I was tired or feeling sluggish, I was gonna shorten it up. However, when I got to Mile 19 - I was still feeling great. So I figured I go to Mile 20. At Mile 20, decided to keep going from there. Eventually I got to the 21.6 mile marker which is right at Quarry Rd in Suffield. The only reason I stopped was that this was the end of the path. So, I turned around and ran back to my car.
It was a ridiculously hot day. The temp in my car read 92 degrees. Even though the weather was less than ideal, I was well prepared. I had my belt with four water bottles on it. I had my packet of four electrolyte pills and 5 energy gels. The four bottles ended up getting refiled four times each along the way. I would have never made it to Mile 19 the first time through if it wasn't for a little bit of luck and some nice people along the way.
The first person who helped out was a gal named Becca right around Mile 16.5 . She was outside her house and had the water going. I asked if she minded that I filled up my 2 empty bottles and she was very nice to allow me. About a mile and a quarter after that, I saw some farm workers filling up water jugs about 50 yards off the path. I went over, began to shoot the junk with them and quickly guzzled down three bottles (each bottle was about 10 ozs). When I finished they asked I wanted to fill them up and I was like a bobble head as I handed over the bottles. By Mile 20, I was a little nervous.I was down to two bottles and I figured there was no way my timing for water refill would be as fortunate heading back. However, I was feeling bold and took the initiative to run about a quarter mile off the path in Suffield and refilled at a farm stand and then refilled my bottles at the station that the farm workers were at when I passed by the second time. I made it last for the final 6miles.
The entire run took me about 4 hrs and 20 minutes. If I took the 10 minutes I talked to the guys, the 5 minutes I spoke with Becca, the three times I took a break to stretch and scarf down the gels and pills (about 5-7 mins each) and the 15 minutes between the two other to refills - I figure I was somewhere around 3:40-3:50 to finish the 21 miles. This was considerably slower per mile than I would like come Marathon day, but I had no idea what to expect going in. I can live with it and I am now on schedule to train with a schedule that I would normally have a month before a marathon.
What I learned today is that around Mile 15, my feet were swollen and incredibly sore. My calves were in better shape than I could have expected and didn't give me any problems. My breathing was solid and mentally I never said to myself, "you're not gonna make it." With that in mind, I could have never finished another 5+ miles today. The positive is that come September and October, the weather will be much more pleasant. Also, I wont have the concerns about water because the stations are at each mile.
As I sit here now, I'm definitely beat. My legs are tired and my feet are still throbbing. However, I know I'm gonna have the legs to finish this a month from now. As long as I don't get concerned with time, it should be enjoyable.
This brings my total miles run in six days to 56. Including the previous Friday, I'm at 63. This was a big boy week. I'm gonna take the next two days off to recover from today and most likely do week day runs of 5mi/8mi/5mi and a long run next week of 16 or 17 miles. I'm thinking of the following week being 5/8/5/13-14miles. The next week being 5/8/5/9-10 miles and the marathon week being 4/6/4 and then the race that weekend. If anyone who reads this has advice as to how I should prepare the next month, please let me know. There are plenty of guides for how to train for one marathon, but not many for running two 4-weeks apart. I am not going to be pushing it in Montreal. If I finish somewhere between 4:30:00-4:45:00, I will be very pleased. My goal from the beginning was to finish the Hartford in under 4:30:00. That is still a goal while just finishing is more of the priority.