Another week. Another mile increase. 18 miles doesn't seem so hard when you've already done 17 the week before. After I finished my run the week before I threw some ice bags together and stuffed them under my sports pants and on my knees. A few weeks earlier I had gone to the doctor for a physical and had her give me a prescription for some anti-inflams and had decided only to use them after my long runs. And for extra precaution I also ran with my knee brace ont he left knee (which is the one I had problems with last year) for the extra support.
I made sure during the week to hydrate extra well, I even used the electrolyte tabs (Nuun brand, you can find them at Fleet Feet), dropped them in my first water bottle on the way to work and watched it fizz away. Consistency is also a huge part of training. I decided to take a more proactive approach to my diet, which up until now had been a lot of thrown-together meals at odd hours of the day. With my training notebook I started writing down what I was eating, when I was eating it and how many calories I was taking in. This helped A LOT! And actually I am continuing to see more results in my figure and my health. It has allowed me to also find a regiment since I found that for my body if I took in 100-200 calories every 2 hours I would be comfortable enough that I wasn't full but I wasn't hungry either. But some days were just different and I would be more hungry than usual. Pay attention to this. If you're hungry eat, but don't over-indulge and be sure it's not just a hydration issue.
With all of these factors coming into play I was sure that my 18 miler would be great. It wasn't. Not gonna lie, it hurt a lot more than the week before. I started off strong with a 2 mile run south on LSD and 2 miles back up to where I started. I did this to break up my path so it wouldn't be the same as the week before. The 7 mile run up north went well. I always say that if I have a good run going in I will most likely have problems coming back. I started to cramp at mile 14 and hit the wall by 15. I did have to stop a few times to stretch and one time, probably with about 5 miles left I sat down and stretch. Gotta make it home. I purposely didn't take my phone and I was at a point on the path where I would have to go back up north to catch a bus. I had no choice. Suck it up, pick yourself up, and move on.
I eventually made it back to the start and it felt AMAZING to have completed 18 miles. But I didn't stop, I made a B-line off the path and onto my apartment. When I got home I attended to my knees and took in protein, etc. I laid on my floor thinking about the run. Yeah it sucked but I overcame it, I had climbed over the wall. And it just goes to show, even though I did all of this great prep during the week I still need to take into account that this doesn't prevent me from still having a rough run.