This morning I ran a 38km run to Rehovot.
I started, as usual, before the group because of my slower speed. I was nervous about running it this time because I had been a bit under the weather for a couple days earlier this week and, while I was feeling better, I did not know if I had all my strength for such a long run. For a variety of reason and technical details that all fell into place, I ended up deciding to run it today.
I started my run at 5:15 AM, and man was it freezing cold! Much colder than I expected. I normally warm up after 3 or 4 kilometers, but I was freezing for a long time - until about 6:30 or so, after Presidents Forest.
I ran, as usual, in my Vibram Five Finger Bikila barefoot, or minimalist, running "shoes". Even after running for many months already in the Vibram's, the other guys in the group are still surprised when they see me running the long runs in them, and they always ask me how it feels, etc. Many times other people also notice and ask questions. Like today, at the end of the run, I was getting a drink and someone asked me about them. He is a runner training for the marathon, and has seen the Vibram's before but never saw anybody actually run long runs in them. They definitely draw a lot of interest.
Anyway, the run was great. I was running solid, at a good pace. I even took the hills well. The first two water stops did not exist. This run was supposed to be a non-stop run, meaning no stopping at the gas stations for breaks - just stopping for a few seconds at the side of the road to sip some water before continuing on. As the marathon gets closer, we are starting to simulate the marathon runs, as closely as we can. That means wearing the same clothes that the runner plans on running with in the marathon, using the same energy gels, salt tablets, drinks or whatever you prefer, as you plan to use in the marathon.
So, the first two water stops didnt exist. There was no water where it was supposed to be. That meant I was looking at hitting about 21km before drinking water, as the third stop would be at about the 21km mark for me. And even if there would not be water there either, there was a gas station there so I could buy water. Thankfully, the water was there, though I still felt very strong at that point.
Continuing on, I felt strong through the next water stops, and plowed through Mazkeret Batya, 30km mark, which is always a problematic spot for me. After Mazkeret Batya I always seem to struggle. The run after MB is less pleasant, the conditions are harsher, and the MB stop always kills me. Not stopping at Mazkeret Batya was great for my run. I just plowed right through, stopping momentarily at Kiryat Eqron for a sip of water and iced tea, and then continuing on to Rehovot.
Even the Rehovot section of the run was pretty good. I felt strong through most of Rehovot, starting to weaken only in the last 1.5 kilometers.
My final average pace was 6 minutes per kilometer. We were supposed to run today about 15 seconds slower than marathon pace - most of my running was in the 5:45 per km zone, and the early hills are what slowed me down more to an average of 6. So that is a pretty good pace, whether I run 6 at the marathon or slightly better..