Breaking the 20 Miler in the Summer Heat Barrier

Since Thursday while working late I’ve been commenting how I will run 20 miles this weekend.  I will do it.  I will get it done and as a reward I will register for the RnR New Orleans Marathon.  Why that reward?  Because I couldn’t keep signing up for marathons (Montreal, Newport, Philly) without running any more 20 milers since Boston, since April.

So of course in typical fashion when I woke up at 8AM and looked at my phone for time, I decided now is a perfect time to rollover and go back to sleep.  Not like it’s summer and it isn’t going to get stupid hot and sunny in a few hours.

Finally I rolled out of bed and of course my first thought was “fsau! It’s hottt!  I thought Iphone Weather app said it will be 60s.”  Stupid Ap, stupid IPhone.  Hate you all.

By the time I started my it was around 10:30.

I started my run slow around 8:50 pace because I knew I had a lot of miles ahead of me and my legs felt rusty.  It was hot, I took half a liter bottle filled with Nuun and water.  I was planning on making a water bottle refill trip home around mile 10 but… well lets start again.

Mile 1-3: shake out miles, a little sleepy and a slow incline up to the woodsy road I run on.

Mile 4-8: I felt great, a little thirsty but I sipped from my bottle here and there.  Was starting to get into the run and was hitting sub 8:30s at a comfortable pace

Mile 9-12 I felt so great mile 4-8 that instead of taking the two miles back to loop by the house and refill my water, I decided to make a second loop around my woodys road.  STUPID STUPID STUPID.  I got thirsty and my water was running out.  I slowed my pace to slow down my thirst and still felt okay.

Mile 13-14 The side stitches of pain came on.  It’s okay, just walk it out, only a little over 2 miles from home on a down hill.

Made it home, refilled my water bottle, legs felt great so I thought I was good to go for the other 6 miles, maybe even at a sub 9 mile average pace even with my short detour?  I had hopes, I had dreams!

Mile 15: nope this is not good, can’t move as the pain in my side is killing me and now my tummy hurts, so I round out back to my house for another 10 minute break.

Mile 16: let’s try this again on a flatter path… okay not so bad… wait a minute I have a Y membership until the end of the month.  Why am I still suffering in the heat?  Make a turn and jog to the Y.

Mile 17-19:– Ahhh much better!  Getting tired, but the AC feels devine.  Did 2.5 miles in an 8:30 pace.  And left my last half mile for the job back home.

Mile 20: this sucks, does it count as 20 if I walk the last mile?  Come on run walk run walk, 13 minutes a mile pace?  Ouch! But it’s done.  I’m home… I’m done!!!

So now that I’m done with the second longest (time-wise) run of my life (first being Boston Marathon this year) I have some time to consult Dr. Google about what went wrong.

Anyways, DR. Google or How Stuff Works told me a few things I think I did wrong.

1. Weak Core – It’s true, I’ve been lazying, getting up at 7:11 instead of 7:00 AM when I did my 6 minutes of planking exercises.  I need to be better!  11 extra minutes of sleep are not worth the pain I felt on this run.

2. Shallow breathing – I was trying to conserve energy due to lack of water and probably didn’t breath as deep as I usually do in my panting manner.

“According to America’s Council of Exercise, a stitch is likely caused by the jarring and stretching of ligaments at the point where the diaphragm meets the stomach. Once a stitch develops, there is little you can do to stop it until you have had some time to rest”

Does this basically means that once it starts I’m screwed and should just give up then?

What I’m reading is no… I should have tried taking deeper breaths to ease the pressure on my diaphragm.     Either way, whatever I did, was wrong because it still hurts today!

Have you ever dealt with side cramps? What worked for you?

6 thoughts on “Breaking the 20 Miler in the Summer Heat Barrier”

  1. Great post, I like the writing style in regards to the miles :). My 20 mile training run is in 2 weeks, I hope to be as successful as you were. I conclude that running longer distances never gets easier, you just become more immune to the fatigue and pains. Let’s all pray for some cold weather soon!

    1. Good luck! I think you’ll do great. But you’re right, each 20 miler is its own beast! I don’t think I can say o yea I ran 20 miles and it was easy any time soon.

  2. I think it was the heat that made your run tougher than usual. It doesn’t matter how long it took you or how many breaks you had or if you had to walk. It’s still 20 miles and you didn’t give up! Awesome job!

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