About a mile of it is right smack in the center of the city, and it was great to see everybody out and about, walking around and enjoying the day. The river proved a great companion, and a diversion too where these kayakers were playing, again, right in the center of the city.
Tuesday I picked off my scheduled 20 miler. Guess what? Running 20 miles takes a loooong freaking time, like, all day even. At least when you're slow (check), disorganized (check), and driving 45 minutes to reach your destination (check). It must've taken me something like 6 or 7 hours, from start to finish, all together.
It still remains all wintery and snowy and mildly inhospitable here in Truckee, so I packed up and set off for the scene of the marathon crime itself, the "River Walk" in Reno. Coupled with the 16 miler I did a while ago, from the other end of this path, I have now run the entire length of my May race, hopefully taking some of the mystery out of the final run itself. As it turns out, this is quite a pretty path for a "city" marathon. The run will be almost completely (with the exception of perhaps 2 miles of roadside running) on a uniform bike path running alongside the Truckee River. The course starts in the center of Reno -- casinos and the Best Little City in the World sign -- runs 6.5 miles westerly to the Patagonia outlet, turns around out-and-back style to the center again and then off easterly to Sparks and back. For ease of parking, this time I started at Patagonia, then out-and-backed for the 20 mile run.
I again went with no specific goal other than clocking the distance. After a mile or two I figured a pace of 12:xx sounded reasonable. And, with the usual amount of fiddling, peeing (what is it with me lately, I musta peed 10 times in the first 5 miles, HARD TO PULL OFF in public, OMG), standing around gawking, lazy breaks and general wasting of time, I stuck to that plan. Perhaps I even fiddled a bit less that usual. The first 4 miles or so were a bit of a struggle, as I thought of everything BUT running 20, but then I settled in to the run and the music and I zoned out and plodded on.
The weather was simply gorgeous, and I was happy to have the river to keep me company.
This totally brought to mind one of this summer's dreams, which is to run this river from its source -- Lake Tahoe -- travelling around 60 miles to its finish at Pyramid Lake. In inner tubes. We've already section-tubed perhaps 10 miles of it.
Anyhow, back to the run. I kept fairly consistent times for most of the run, but the pace slowed in the last 4 miles or so. Amazingly, I felt really strong throughout the whole thing. None of the foot cramps that plagued my 18 miler, so I think I made the right decision discarding the foot inserts. MUCH better without them.
I did my usual gel intake of 1 Hammer Gel at 1:30 and then every 30 minutes or so thereafter. This pattern has always worked in the past, but with the increased milage I got HUNGRY. I had to stop at mile 14 and pop into a convenience store for a Snickers, which did the trick. I am going to have to reconsider my nutrition plan, because I don't think I can do 26 miles without some solid food intake. Or perhaps I need to fuel up better in preparation. Interestingly enough, immediately after and in the subsequent day and a half since the run, I have had a huge DECREASE in appetite. So I dunno.
Ultimately, I ran 19.87 miles in 4:20(!), averaging out to 13:04/mile. I felt fine during the whole run, and surprisingly felt TOTALLY fine the next day, except for a bit of toe soreness. I don't have another 20 mile scheduled into my plan, but I think I'm gonna do one next week regardless. I think it'll help in the long run.
Anyhow, thanks for reading everyone. And I think I've decided to take a wait-and-see kinda attitude about the 20 mile trail run. If I feel as good after the marathon as I did after Tuesday's run, I think I'll give it a shot . . .
(My blogging will probably be a little sporadic in the next couple of weeks, as I am heading off to work, then the east coast, then back to work for another week until I return home again in late April).