I did it!! 20 long miles! Man, am I glad to have that done! Here's how it went:
First of all, yesterday I stuck with my plan to not eat too much and to eat mild foods, in an attempt to minimize the possibility for GI distress. I ended my day with a small bowl of Special K cereal around 8 pm, and I also made sure I was sipping on water, all day long. I woke up around 6:30 this morning, hoping to get out the door around 7 when it starts to get light. I ate 1/2 a banana and had a few sips of water, then started getting my stuff ready. I ended up leaving the house around 7:15, and it was still a little dark then, but not for too long. This run was much better than last week's. I was thinking that part of my stomach problems were from getting dehydrated on my long runs, because I usually don't start drinking until after around mile 7 or 8. So today, I decided to start taking sips of water earlier in my run, starting around mile 4 -5. Just one or two sips, I didn't want to have to pee too soon! The route I took today also had me going 10 miles one way into the nearest big town. That way, I would pass a gas station at my half-way point, in case I needed to make a pit-stop. The first 10 miles went really well, though. No cramps, feeling strong, running the whole time - I felt really good. At the point my Garmin beeped at me that I had reached my 10 mile turn around point, I slowed to a walk, ate some GU, drank some more of my water (my water concoction, I should say = 22 oz. of water mixed with 1 packet of Crystal Light Fitness H20, and a few squirts of EFS liquid carb./gel fuel), then I started running again. I ran another mile or so, then I passed a park that had a port-a-potty, so I decided I'd better at least go pee while I had the quick and easy opportunity. After the pit-stop, I walked for just a minute, then picked up my pace and started running again. By miles 12-13, my leg muscles were definitely feeling tired and a bit achy, but I just kept going, happy that I wasn't having any stomach issues. Things continued on well, until mile 15 when - bam, stomach cramps! I was so irritated. I slowed to a walk, and was mentally working my way through the pain, determined to finish these last 5 miles. I did a walk/run thing for the next 2.5 miles, running when my stomach pain eased up, walking again as the pain would hit. Finally, at mile 17.5, I succumbed to the literal gut wrenching, pulled out my cell phone, and called my handy dandy husband. I kept walking until he got there to pick me up. How frustrating: only 2.5 miles to go. :( Anyway, after another "pit stop" at home, I headed back out to finish up those remaining miles at the park (where there is a restroom!), and after 1 lap, my husband and kids arrived there to join me, the kids on their bikes, my husband ready to keep me company while I finished out my run. I did more of the run/walk thing, since my stomach was still twisted into knots. But I finished the 20 miles, and I was content with how it went, though I do need to work on figuring out what's going on with my body. When I stopped my Garmin at 20 miles, it said 4 hours and 16 minutes. I didn't know how that would translate, as far as how I did on my running portions vs. the walking portions. I was very pleased to see that, even with the walk/run stuff for the last 5 miles, my average pace was 12:50 min/mile. I checked my splits, and during that first 15 miles, I mostly stayed around 10:30-11 min/mile, which is really good for me. So I'm counting this run as successful, though my quest to solve my stomach issues continues. Let's just say my mind is put to ease knowing that there are going to be pit-stops every couple of miles on race day!