I am happy that I was able to complete the scheduled 20-kilometer run today. The training schedule called for an easy 6k run, followed by a fast 7k, ending with an easy 7k. I had been preparing (dreading?) this long run for many days now. Yesterday, I had bought a bottle of Gatorade and stuffed the fridge with chocolate milk.
I was out the door by around 530 am, carrying a bottle of Gatorade and two packets of energy gels in my running belt. As it was still dark outside, I considered wearing reflectors but changed my mind. I figured that the skies would be illuminated by the light of dawn by the time I would hit the busy roads.
The route I chose was not an easy route. Fort Bonifacio is not a flat course. It had long, uphill roads, especially the one leading up to McKinley. I told myself that if I am lazy to tackle difficult, hilly routes then what more when I face the struggles and difficulties of a 42-kilometer run?
The first 6 kilometers was uneventful. My heart rate was steady at zone 2. The weather was cool. There weren’t that much cars on the road. People probably were still too lazy (or hungover) from Christmas celebrations.
The next 7 kilometers was tough but not too much of a challenge. The actual challenge was trying to nail the exact pace of 40 seconds below marathon pace. I hate it when I feel that I am maintaining a steady pace but my running app fluctuates wildly. The app was registering a deviation of up to 3-minutes plus-or-minus when I know I am running a constant pace! Is it because the GPS is spotty at the Fort where there are tall buildings and scaffolds above the roads? Or is it because iPhone GPS signals are more erratic than other devices (like Garmin watches)? It makes me begin to consider buying a running watch.
The last 7 kilometers, despite the easy pace, was not “easy.” My lungs weren’t bursting but my legs were heavy. I felt depleted. Again I told myself that this is how I would feel in the second half of a marathon. I would be drained and depleted. I should get accustomed to that feeling. So I sloughed through, one shuffle at a time, keeping my form in check, trying to relax, keeping my body erect, my head up, eyes looking forward.
I finished the 20k in 2:27:55. The sun was already up when I finished. I was still a good 500 meters away from home so I treated that walk home as a “cool down.”
Sunday is my next long run, and it is actually a 21k run event called Hashtag Fun Run. I am looking forward to it.