First of all, weather was a big contributor. It was 70 degrees when I started, and 86 degrees when I called it quits.
I think nutrition/hydration had a bit of a factor too. I was so concerned about how to handle the morning of the run and during the run that I forgot to eat extra carbs and drink extra water yesterday and the day before. I felt depleted around mile 14...way too early.
A few other contributors - my first two miles were a bit fast - 10:19 and 10:09. The Garmin also has mile 10 at 8:06...I'm pretty sure the Garmin messed up somewhere - part of this mile was in the Air Rights Tunnel in Bethesda...I would assume that Garmin would extrapolate distance when the satellites were back in range, but perhaps it didn't extrapolate so well?
Elevation was also a factor. The first 9 miles were net uphill 400 ft. This may have tired me out a bit. My route started at Dupont Circle Metro station, went towards Georgetown where I got onto the CCT trail, into Bethesda and over to Chevy Chase where I got onto the Rock Creek Trail and then to Veirs Mill Road. My car was parked on Veirs Mill Road near the Rockville Metro - about 2 miles from the trail. Of course I did not run those last two miles - I hopped on a Metro Bus and took it to my car. Here's a link to the route.
I won't go through all of the details of the run, but here are a few highlights (and lowlights):
- The time of day of this morning's run - I started at 10:25am by the time I got downtown - is almost exactly the time I'll be starting to run in NY for the marathon. I ate my pre-run fuel at 8am and this seemed to work as well. I also wore my Alzheimer's Association singlet which I'm hoping to wear for the race!
- I fueled up this morning with a cup of coffee - black with sugar - and a big piece of injera - an Ethiopian bread. I picked up the injera yesterday at a nearby Ethiopian restaurant. The idea of injera came to me yesterday afternoon. I was thinking what the elites probably fuel up with before their long runs, and I remembered that many of the elites are from East Africa, so I decided to try it out. I think this worked out well - it filled me up, digested easily and I did not have any stomach pains during my run.
- There were three times that I had to "double back" due to going the wrong way. The first time was when I needed to leave the CCT trail and get onto the Rock Creek Trail. I accidentally continued on the CCT trail because I knew the Rock Creek Trail was straight ahead - except for the fact that that part of the CCT trail was on a bridge/overpass a good 50 feet above Rock Creek and the trail. Oops!
- The other two times I had to double back was in the 18th and 19th mile. It was very frustrating. I'm not sure whether there was bad signage or if I was just to out of it to realize there was signage.
- As part of my fueling strategy during the run, I decided to bring some food to go along with my GU. I brought a Cherry Pie Larabar. I like Larabars because most of them have less than 6 ingredients - and I can recognize all of the ingredients. It seems more like "real food" than many of the engineered energy bars. The Cherry Pie Larabar's ingredients are Dates, Almonds and Unsweetened Cherries. That's all. I opened the bar at mile 15 - it was a welcome distraction for almost the entire mile....and it probably got me through miles 16 and 17.
I'm going to try to not let this failed attempt at 22 miles get me down about New York. I felt pretty good after my 20 miler - in much cooler weather. I'm hoping the temperatures in NY will be cooler than today and that will likely give me a few more miles (8 more hopefully!) to run.