Monday, September 03, 2007

Anyone can run 20 miles...

It's 6 am on Saturday and we pull up to Prairie Path junction just west of downtown Wheaton. There were few cars around, but already we noticed several runners up and down each of the three branches. It was a comfortable morning, crisp air and not too hot. A great day to get in 20 miles.

We loaded up our Fuel Belts, had one last bite of bread and sip of coffee before weighing ourselves. If we weighed before and after the run, and kept track of how much we drank, we could approximate our sweat-rate. Additionally, we could see if we were drinking enough (or too much) during the run. Losing more than 2-3% of your body weight can affect performance. Dehydration is considered a loss of 3-5%. A loss of 5% or more would send most people to the hospital.,7120,s6-242-302--10084-0,00.html

We headed east from mile "0" out towards Elmhurst; 10 miles out and 10 miles back. It was nice to soak in some new scenery, after countless laps at Waterfall Glen this summer.

One major difference the the sheer number of people on this trail. We passed _thousands_ of people during our 20 mile trek. Many of them in groups of 5 up to 30 in a pack.

We started asking other groups, as we passed them, how far they were running today. Most groups were running 18-20 miles.

Many running clubs and stores set up water and Gatorade tables along the coarse. Some groups kept a "closed" table, only handing out drinks to club members. Most were open and even invited all runners to fuel up.

We hit the 10 mile marker and turned around.

The miles flew by as we continued to pass hundreds of runners. I can never remember a time we were more than 100 yards from another group.

With 3 miles to go the mental game kicked in and the benefit of staying together as group made turned the game in our favor.

Around the Glen Ellyn train station we passed the Farmers Markets and soaked in the smells. Many groups were stopping here and were going through their post-run routine; stretching, eating, etc. There was a juice bar nearby with numerous runners walking through the drive through.

From here to the mile 0 junction the number of runners dropped of significantly and we finished with little fanfare.

I had bagels, bananas and more drinks in the car which I brought out for everyone to enjoy.

At our post-run weigh-in I dropped 4 lbs for a 2% weight-loss. Far from critical, but it shows I still need to drink more.

We loaded up and stopped at McDonalds for the short trip home. We were all starved and proud of our run. Certainly our morning workout would more than make up for any bagel-egg-sausage sandwich.

Karin noted her heart-rate-monitor shows she burned 1400 calories on this morning's run. I glanced at my HRM which showed a whopping 3400 calories burned. I guess that's the difference between a 120 lbs female and a 200 lbs male.

A huge thanks to Kitty, Kathy, and Karin for keeping me company on this jog. Can't wait for our last long run before the marathon.

"Anyone can run 20 miles. It's the next six that count."
--Barry Magee, Bronze Medallist in 1960 Olympic marathon

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