I intended to run 20 miles, but here's my final Garmin stats:
22.2 miles! Only four miles short of a whole marathon!
When we got to Charm City (the running store we have been starting at all winter) this morning at 7:30, my friend Lily and I could not believe we were about to run 20 miles. Eric always gets confused when I say stuff like this, and always tells me "But you've done it before! And you've run a whole marathon!" Well, I know some crazy super elite runners like SkinnyRunner and HungryRunnerGirl might run this distance and have it be NBD (no big deal), but for me, 20 miles is HARD. I don't care how many times I run it, (for the record, this was my third time, not including the marathon) I predict it was always be a huge physical and mental challenge, even though other distances that used to scare me, like 10 miles, now don't seem so difficult. Warming up and thinking "Holy crap I am about to run 20 miles" will forever be frightening to me.
But, after running in snow, through snow and ice, in single digit temperatures, in rain, and up crazy hills in 40mph winds, I was loving running in this.
It's about time, mother nature. You owe me.
I set out with Lily, Jill, and Jackie, three awesome runners who I could not have done this run without. I was a little worried about motivation. For my two 20 mile runs in my Baltimore Marathon training, one was a race, and one was a race - sponsored 20 miler on the race course, that felt like a race with water stops, food, and even some fans that thought it was the actual marathon. So, basically, they were huge fun events with hundreds of people and lots of motivation, while all this run had to offer was a free bagel at the end. But, I really can't believe how much fun running with these girls is, and I felt strong the whole time.
Since we are just running around residential neighborhoods, we take these annoying little route sheets that we have to hold and stare at the whole time, and its quite the opposite of scenic. We decided to do a 12 mile loop, followed by an 8 mile loop. The 12 miler flew by, even though we were chatting the whole time we kept up a good pace, around 9:45. And this was the same neighborhood we did our hill repeats in last Tuesday, so that's saying something.
I was still feeling good after a quick bathroom break when we headed back out for the 8 mile loop. As always, the talking was dying down a bit but we were all still holding on. All the sudden, right before mile 17, we got hit with killer winds. Of course I couldn't get off scott free with the beautiful sunny sky and above freezing temperatures. Still, better at mile 17 than at mile 1.
Our last water stop was right before mile 18, and we split up. I was feeling good, so I went ahead. While I LOVE LOVE LOVE running with friends, you still have to remember that it's your training, and your body. So sometimes that might mean running ahead of friends, and other times it might mean you are behind them. I really want to improve my overall pace, so I had to take advantage of the burst of energy while I could.
Mile 19 was pretty rough, as I was going into the wind. I got to mile 20 and I wasn't back at the store yet, so I figured, well, I might as well make it an even 21 (that's the great thing about the Garmin, always wanting to make it "even" makes me do more miles). I hit a little downhill and started feeling great again, so I figured, well, might as well go for an "evener" 22 - it just seemed like a good number. I had secretly wanted to get in one 20+ mile run during this training, and this was my best shot.
I got back to the store and walked about a half mile to cool down, during which time a lightbulb went off in my head. "Holy %$#@, we still have more cheesecake!!". Ya, running that far requires a lot of mental cursing, sorry, but you do what you gotta do to get through. I froze the rest on Sunday and somehow forgot about it until then! It was almost as exciting as getting it the first time!
All the other runners were long gone (except my faithful friends!) so there was what amounted to about 2/3 of a bagel, composed of various torn off parts, left at the bottom of the bag. I happily devoured it.
To avoid severe pain later, I did this stuff.
Stretch and foam roll.
My legs are pretty sore but I don't have to hold onto the bathroom sink and cry to pull myself off the toilet so I know I'm nowhere near marathon soreness level.
My favorite ever running fuel is Powerbar Gel in Double Latte flavor, but Lily has been swearing to me that Gu brand Espresso Love is better, so I did a taste test on this run.
The verdict?? Espresso love by a nose!
3 hours, 35 minutes, 50 seconds
Average pace 9:43
With some awesome negative splits.
Now if I can write as much about philosophies of learning as I can about running, I should be able to finish my paper in no time and be ready to celebrate. I really want to try my first self serve frozen yogurt experience, but that will be determined by how I feel about stairs in a few hours.