I planned to run 20 miles yesterday, but I had to stop and walk after about 18. I chose to run a challenging out and back course through Umstead Park. It was a warm and humid day, but I held back and sipped water more frequently than usual. I felt fine up until around 16 miles, when I started to feel slightly lightheaded and dry. By that point, I was out of water and had half a bottle of Gatorade left. About two miles from home, my right calf started to cramp. I stopped, massaged the calf, and walked a bit. Each time I tried to run again, the calf cramped.
It was a long walk home.
I'm following a more rigorous marathon training schedule than I had for previous marathons. My speedwork earlier in the week had gone very well, and an easy run the next day felt great. But my experience yesterday shows me again how important it is to hydrate the day before and during a long run. It reminds me that heat and humidity continue to be my running nemesis.
Luckily, it's early in my training schedule. I have time to adjust, and three more 20 milers on the calendar. I can drink more and hope for cooler weather.