Yesterday I ran 18 miles and I was reminded of something very important. Fueling and hydrating properly in the days leading up to a long run is so very important. It was still raining in the morning so I decided to re-arrange my day a bit. I spent the morning sipping coffee and cuddling with the doodle which was pure bliss, and then got some freelance work and invoicing stuff done.

a perfect morning

a perfect morning

the usual

the usual

By 1:30 in the afternoon I was ready to attempt my 18 miler. The rain had dwindled down to just a drizzle but the wind was still pretty intense.

23 mph winds!

23 mph winds!

I drove to my favorite long run route which goes along the boardwalk and to the Verrazano Bridge.

routeI’ve been able to make each loop about 7.5 miles now by going a little further past the end of the boardwalk on both ends so I only had to do two loops to get to 15 miles and then did some short out and backs for the last 3 (so I could be near my car in case I felt I needed to stop early).

My first 3 miles were into the headwind and while I felt like I was struggling I was actually keeping a good pace.

That's the Verrazano behind me. =)

That’s the Verrazano behind me. =)

For miles 3-6, I had the wind at my back which was awesome. Overall I kept around 10:45-11:20 min miles for the first 7 1/2 miles. But somewhere around mile 8 or 9 I noticed my legs cramping up. I even stopped a few times to stretch which I don’t ever do. The water fountains along the boardwalk were still on so I took a few sips every few miles and I took a few honey stinger chews every 5-6 miles. But the damage was done. The second half of my run was painful. But I never gave up. I walked a little and shuffled a little but I just kept going until my Garmin hit 18. I tried to focus on how easy it was to cover 18 miles as far as my lungs were concerned. I never had breathing issues. The cool weather definitely helped. It was just the leg cramping that I struggled with.

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18  miles is far!

18 miles is far!

I was so happy to be done. I was on the verge of tears at mile 16.5 and wanted to stop but I really sucked it up to finish and I am so proud of myself for that.

IMG_8402After 3 hours and 39 minutes I got in the car, blasted the heat and headed home. Man was I shivering like crazy. This morning I’m feeling super tight and sore…..especially my calves, and hamstrings.

Next weekend I have my back to back half marathons (Rock n Roll Brooklyn Half and Staten Island Half) so I am going to focus on all the important stuff this week….stretching, foam rolling, hydrating and fueling with more nutrient dense foods and less crapola.

Oh and a big thank you to my amazing sister-in-law Sharon who sent me a new iPod Shuffle after reading that I lost mine. Thank you! What a perfect early birthday gift. =)

Have you ever had muscle cramps?

How do you keep your electrolytes in check for long runs?

Do you like the taste of water?