I guess they have Nike "sponsor" the runs, so they let you try out different Nike running shoes during these runs if you want. I didn't, but maybe some other time. Propel water is there, and there were 2 aid stations, one at mile 4, and another at mile 8. This morning it was a 20 mile run, 10 miles out and back, though you could run less depending on what your training plan was. The idea was that this was an "up to 20 mile run."
The run began shortly after 6:40am. I was the only new runner, so I introduced myself before they did a quick overview of the course map.
People just took off whenever, no official start or anything. I watched several pairs of runners and picked who to tag along with so I didn't get lost. The course was marked with flour. 3 or 4 spots of it at intersections/confusing spots/forks in the trail.
The guys I ran with were only going for 16 miles, so they turned around at the 8 mile aid station. I went on to the 10 miles turn around and got back to the 8 to drink a bunch of water.
I'm by myself now, and of course I go for 20 minutes past the aid station without seeing any chalk. I decide to turn around (for a while I thought I might just find a different way back and sneak back into my car without anyone noticing that I came from the completely wrong direction). I asked one runner if he was with the BRC group, but he wasn't. He was chatty though, so by the time I got away from him, he knew how long I was running and what I was training for and I knew the same about him.
I'm now at 36 minutes of running "off the course." So, 12 miles plus the 36min, I put it at 16.5 miles, and I see this older lady that I recognize from the BRC parking lot at 6:30 that morning. she gives me vague directions, and I turn back around, thinking that if I find the turn off, great, if not, then oh well, I'll just wait and follow her to it.
Luckily I found the chalk, and the hidden turn off, and got back on the path. Things were looking familiar. More chalk. I was relieved.
I drank a ton more, once I got to the 4 mile aid station again. And ate a cliff bar.
I knew I was over 20 miles by this point, but it didn't matter any more.
By the time I made one more small detour, my math said that could walk the last half mile of the path in order to make it an even number of miles.
So I finished, pretty tired and beat up cause of all the pavement and concrete, 24 miles. 3:08:00
I definitely slowed down for the second half of the run. When I was running the first half on course and mostly with the group, we were at 7:30 pace.
Don't know if I really thought I would get in a 24 mile long run before the marathon, but I did accidentally. I'm sure this kind of thing happens to a lot of people. It's just easier when it happens on a 10 mile run, so maybe you add 3 or 5 miles extra. But when it's a 20 miler, there is no place for getting off course like that and ending up going that far.
What I learned:
-turn around sooner
-I have no idea what pace I'll be able to run for the race. I was tired after this. The longer you go, the more you realize that it gets exponentially more difficult to maintain your race pace.
-Ultra marathon running?? I'm a long ways from running like those guys. How much training do you have to get it in order for your legs to hold up under that beating for so many hours (7-20 hours, or more!) I was weak after this. Ankle and knee soreness. Muscle soreness. Everything.
At least this tied the week up in a nice, neat, little 50mile package. Hopefully 2 more weeks of 50+, and then the taper. Today marks 4 weeks til race day...