Hey everyone, I hope you all had a great weekend!
Me, well my weekend is still rolling so what better way to spend it than blogging a little –finally. Yup, it’s been awhile but don’t worry I’m back in action now🙂
So yesterday was a huge day in my marathon training. I ran 20 miles, that’s right….20 freaking miles! My longest training run to date and it KICKED MY ASS. I mean, I’m sure 20 miles would have kicked anyone’s ass unless they’re a well seasoned runner or ultra marathoner (which is my dream to become someday) so I’m not worried one bit about completing 26.2. It’s coming up quick though–only 3 more weeks until race day! Ahhh, it’s crazy how all this is becoming reality. All the hard work I’ve been putting in since late December is showing, and I couldn’t be more proud of myself. I went from running a low 9 minute mile to mid 7 ‘s on a good day, and low to mid 8’s as my average pace! The amount of self reward is out of this world — and it’s the best feeling knowing I’ve created that. I’m definitely capable of more than I could have ever imagined. Seriously, I just recorded my miles for April and I ran a whopping 69 miles! That’s insane. What’s more insane is that I feel like I didn’t run enough (struggles of being a crazy runner) but hell, 69 miles is far. Putting that into perspective, that’s me running to Green Bay and back with STILL having miles to spare! It’s crazy to think about, and I absolutely love it. I can’t thank my body, especially my legs and feet, enough for carrying me this far. Without a doubt I’ll be dedicating the next couple days to rest and nurture so I can power through the rest of my training. My goal is to run 26.2 in 4 hours or less and at this rate, I think I have a good chance of that!
Last weeks miles leading up to Sunday’s 20
I’ve been recovering from a nasty cold so I’ll be honest, I did skip my 10 long miles to prepare myself for yesterday’s 20 but that’s ok. It doesn’t pay to become discouraged. Running isn’t meant to be perfect. We’re all going to have good days and bad days, there’s no way around it. I mean, you could stress about it but honestly it’s not worth it — at least to me. Every day is a new day. We as runners need to live in the present, not dwell on past or future miles. If I did that then I’d really be a crazy runner — crazier than I am now!
Here’s what I ended up running last week to prepare myself for my 20 miler (as seen on Instagram) :
Tuesday I ran a super fast 4 miles. My motivation level that day was slim to none. I had to mentally prepare myself for this one. Once I got out there I ran my heart out. The plan was to run 5 miles but I took the fast 4 and called it a day.
Wednesday I ran a comfortable 5 miles. I’m so happy about my “comfortable” pace. I’m growing stronger and stronger with my running everyday and I love it. What I don’t love is that I have to wear my cold gear in spring, ughhh. That’s Wisconsin weather for you though. I’m starting to give my Launch’s another chance as well after they killed my feet during my 16 miler. Our relationship is becoming stronger as well😉
Ran these 3 music-less miles before work on Friday. I also refrained from looking at my Garmin (something I always catch myself doing) and my splits were better than I expected! I was able to regroup on this run which is something I needed. I’m going to dedicate one run a week to this from now on.
20 Miles – Recap
Running long distance is a huge commitment, especially 20 miles. Once you start, there’s no turning back — at least in my book. This is the exact reason why I was dreading this run more than anything. I was so nervous. Did I pack enough? Was I fully prepared? Will my legs give out? What if my phone dies again? These were the questions and fears I had streaming through my mind before I went out. I think any runner has their fears though. We all want to do our best, and we all want to finish. I mean, I don’t necessarily have doubts when I run say 5 miles but 20….yeah that’s a little more intimidating. However, there’s a point where you just have to put all those doubts and fears in the garbage. If you didn’t, well then 20 miles would NOT be possible. It’s all mind over matter!
Pre- run fuel
I’ll admit, I don’t normally know what to eat before runs. I figured I’d give a couple bowls a try — no complains! I also had a banana, water, and coffee.
What I packed:
Normally I run with popular running essentials such as honey stinger waffles or chews but today I wanted to try something different. When you live in a small village all those running essentials are out of reach, so I settled with some items at a local grocery store. The chews were from my last run, however the fig bars and apple sauce really did work wonders. I’ll definitely be packing both again for future runs.
Running 20 Miles:
Ok, let’s get this straight. Running 20 miles is not easy. It’s hard. Probably the hardest thing I’ve ever thought about doing and accomplished in my life. Actually, I take that back. IT WAS THE HARDEST THING I’VE EVER DONE IN MY ENTIRE LIFE. They were ugly miles, but they were also raw. The experience alone was incredible. Just knowing that my body could carry me that far was and still is mind boggling to me.
When I first started running I paced myself at a lower to mid 8 minute range. This didn’t scare or concern me one bit considering that’s becoming my overall average pace. I started out running from my house, out of the town I live in, against traffic on the hwy, through a small village before Manitowoc County, down another hwy against traffic, through a round about, and down a few more miles until I came to the Manitowoc water tower. At this point I was a little winded–literally. The wind SUCKED. I was mainly running with the wind for those first 9 miles, but depending where I was I could feel it somewhat against me.
These were my first 9 mile splits before I turned around: 8:25, 8:08, 8:16, 8:22, 8:17, 8:21, 8:23, 8:21, 8:27
As soon as I turned around I knew I was in trouble. THE WIND WAS HORRIBLE. I thought it was bad on the way there but oh no, was I wrong. This wind only got worse. I felt like I was running in place half the time. To make matters even worse, I was wearing short sleeves and shorts because it was 54 degrees outside (that’s warm for Wisconsin). So I was running against the wind, freezing, chaffing, and soon to become water-less. Yup, that happened. I was without water when I reached mile 11. When I stopped my watched and reached for my phone to call my boyfriend I realized it had died (go figure) so I was screwed. Luckily I was only a few miles from my mom’s so I had to make a slight detour. The detour actually worked out perfectly because I was short a few miles in order to reach 20 by the time I got to my house.
So as I’m running to my mom’s the wind just kept increasing. I’ve never wanted to quit running, but I was very tempted that day. The resistance made it exhausting, and with no water I was somewhat panicking. I only had 2 miles to go before I reached her house. Those 2 miles felt like they took FOREVER.
As soon as I got there my mom said to me “are you sure you don’t want a ride home?”. Seriously, I was sooo tempted. It hurt to say no, BUT I didn’t want to give up. Giving up on my 20 would mean that I could give up that easy on my marathon — and I refuse to take the easy way out. I hurried up and filled my pack, got a cliff bar and long sleeve shirt from my awesome brother, put some baby powder on my chaffing arms, and was on my way.
I never used to be a fan of stopping while I run, but I’ve realized that it’s impossible not to at some point. However, I now know why I didn’t like doing it….my legs were like bricks! Getting back into the groove was extremely difficult but I somehow managed. The wind at this point was stronger than ever. There were a couple times I screamed out loud at it. Mentally I was drained. Physically I was drained. I remember being at mile 17 and feeling like I couldn’t go anymore. Running crazy miles like this really messes with your mind. One moment I’m happy that it’s almost over, the next I’m pissed because it sucks, then I’m almost in tears because it hurts, and then I’m back to being motivated, my music starts to become annoying, and yet some how my legs keep trucking through. Stopping at this point was not an option- I wouldn’t allow it. I mean, I really didn’t have a choice considering my phone was dead so I couldn’t call for a ride, but that’s besides the point. When I hit mile 19 I was practically limping. I tried running faster but my legs wouldn’t move the way my mind wanted them to. I swear, I was about 2 steps away from hitting my wall. But…..somehow I did it, and I’m still in disbelief. I RAN 20 FREAKING MILES – like seriously, who does that!?
Even though the wind was kicking my ass I still somehow pumped out some fast times on the last 11 miles : 8:57, 8:56, 8:38, 8:36, 8:55, 8;37, 9:01, 8:58, 9:36, 9:09, 9:18
I took this picture before my run so it’s a little deceiving. Figured it would be a little more pleasant to look at vs. my face after my run😉
These 20 miles were a real eye opener. Bittersweet for sure. I’m seriously so proud of myself BUT I know it will only get harder from here. All I can do is crush my next 3 weeks of training and keep that motivation level high. I know I can do this. 26.2 – BRING IT!
Thanks for reading my bittersweet 20 mile recap. Have a great Monday, and continue crushing those goals!