Today I finally ran my long run for the week. I was originally scheduled to run it on Friday, but wasn't feeling that well. By Saturday morning it was pretty clear that I was coming down with a little head cold, so I only ran 7 miles (rather than the 17 that I'd planned). After a coldbuster Jamba (yesterday) and a good night of sleep, however, I was feeling much better today, so there was no excuse not to get on the road.
The weather was just about perfect for a long run, ~ 70 degrees and cloudy, although it was a bit on the humid side. About 2 miles into the run I remembered that I was supposed to run 14 of the 17 miles at my marathon race pace. With a goal of qualifying for Boston, I'll need to run an average pace of 8:20 minutes per mile. It's good that I tried to hit that today, as I realized that I have no idea of what that pace feels like. My typical pace is probably around 8:30 on a typical run, 8:50 - 9:00 for a long run, and my "tempo" pace is about 8:00. In my effort to consistently hit 8:20, I ran anywhere from 7:46 to 8:35. My average pace was just under 8:30, with most miles coming at ~ 8:05. I felt great for the first 13 or 14 miles, and then I crashed hard. I felt miserable for the last 3 miles and the next couple of hours afterwards until I ate a huge brunch. I think part of my problem was that I didn't eat enough for the effort. Normally, a goo and a waterbottle full of gatoraid would be enough for me for this distance, but apparently only if I'm running at my usual long run pace.
In retrospect, I think it's better that I had a painful day today and learned something for the future. It's also good to push hard on a training run, something that I haven't been as good about as I should have been these last couple of months. I've been getting in the miles, but scrimping on the speedwork. I also learned that for harder efforts, more calories are needed.
Next week: a half marathon race. I'm really hoping that I can run it in 1 hr 45 minutes or faster. That should be a good indication that I'm on track for a 3:40 marathon. I'm taking several packets of goo for that one.