Running with the “Elites”

This is what it must feel like to run with the elites… Actually, let me rephrase – I should say instead of “with”, to run “behind” the elites.  For the past two weekend runs, I’ve ran with the Chicago marathon training group which is composed of mostly fast-paced runners of the San Diego track club.  I figured, there would be at least one person who would run my pace.  Boy, was I wrong 🙁

Last Saturday, I finished 18 miles while the rest ran 22.  I felt great the entire time and even managed to stay in pace with the group for the first mile (ha!).  It would have been stubborn of me to try to keep up but I reminded myself that I was not in a race and needed to run smartly.  We started early around 0630 to try to avoid the heat, but even at that time, I already felt the warm heavy air.  Fortunately, a slight breeze during most of the run helped and plenty of fluids.  2 hours and 43 min later, my body was grateful as I dipped my legs and feet in the cool waters of the bay.

Two Saturdays ago was a different story.  It was a 16-mi run but halfway through my energy quickly dissipated.  I actually had company during the first 8 miles, running what I thought was a relaxed pace as we were able to converse the entire time (average 9/mi pace).  It must have been either the heat or fueling issue (Had a PB and banana sandwich instead of oatmeal for breakfast) or most likely both, as my pace started to slow down that I could no longer keep up with my running buddy.  I stopped a few times to walk, hydrate and drench myself with water to cool down.  Feeling a little discouraged after a challenging run, I took notes on what I could change to have a more comfortable and satisfying run the following week.

Well, fast forward to this past Saturday to what I’ve already mentioned was a fantastic overall run.  I made sure to hydrate when I woke in the middle of the night after a bout of nursing and more fluids during breakfast.  I also had oatmeal in the morning which has been my go-to breakfast for my long runs (not sure why I decided to change it for the 16mi run).  During the run, I hydrated every 20 min and had a gel at mile 10.  I ran alone for 18 miles but not once did I feel discouraged for being the slowest of the group.  In fact, being with a group of talented runners inspired me more to train smartly and get stronger so one day in the near future, I will no longer be running behind them, but WITH them.