Sunday, September 30, 2012

My First 20 Mile Training Run

After how hard the last 3 or 4 miles were on my 18 miler, I was pretty nervous about bumping it up to 20. But I made all the arrangements for the kids to be taken care of, and even got a friend to run part of it with me so that helped me feel a lot better about it.

I got up at 5:30 on Friday, and my plan was to leave at 6:30 to meet my friend, Amber, at 7:00 - 3 miles away. When I got up and and my oatmeal, I woke Elle up since she was sleeping on the couch. While I was getting ready, she came in and told me she heard a mouse under the coffee table. So I went out and moved the trap to the coffee table. A few minutes later she came in and said, "I saw a mouse!" She told me it had gone behind our little blackboard that's propped up against the wall. I went out and looked behind it and there was a ton of mouse droppings there! Was it just living back there!? So, I moved the mouse trap again to that little crack then went back to getting ready.

(We did end up catching that mouse later in the day. That was our 10th mouse in the past few weeks! We caught 6 in the storage room and 4 in the kitchen, one by one with a single mouse trap. I really hope this was the last one!)

I finished getting ready about 10 minutes early so I decided to do one mile then stop back in for a bathroom break before heading out to meet Amber. This worked out really well, and I was able to see that all the kids were up and eating cereal as I passed by. Luckily George was so happy about the cereal (a rare treat around here) that he didn't even mind me leaving.

I ended up being about 5 minutes late meeting Amber, but luckily she's easy going and had just gotten a little warm-up in. I stopped at the bathroom and got a drink before we headed up Memory Grove and into City Creek. I LOVE this route because there are drinking fountains and bathrooms every 1 to 2 miles so I didn't have to carry much with me.

The other night I had a dream that I was running an ultra marathon. I had done already 30 miles and just had 20 to go, and I was winning! Not only was I winning, but I was racing against world class ultra runners, AND I had even stopped to wipe off the table mid-race. (Yeah, do you think I was a little paranoid about mice maybe? Can you blame me? 10 mice!) Anyway, I also had a little bag of Reeses Pieces in my dream so I knew that's what I'd have to take along with me for this run! I also brought a flask of hammer gel in my back pocket and some honey stinger chews, that have electrolytes and caffeine in them, with my Reeces in my iFiness belt. This fuel plan worked great!

It was so fun having Amber to run with, and we just spent an hour and a half chatting as we plugged along. She was sore from her workout the day before so she helped me take it nice and slow up that hill. We actually stopped and walked a few times too. I was totally fine with this because I knew I had a long ways to go and needed to start out slow. It was a beautiful morning and we were even a little cold when we got higher up, but it was also really beautiful up there with all the bright fall colors!

Unfortunately, my camera was acting funny so I didn't get any more pictures after this, but it was beautiful.

We went up 4 miles, then back down - putting Amber at 8 miles, and me at 12. It was a great feeling to already be more than half-way done! She headed home, and I stopped at the lovely bathroom again. Then all I had to do was run back up 2.5 miles before turning around and heading home. That didn't seem too bad at all! It was really nice to break it up like that.

I did those 5 miles up and down, and couldn't believe how great I felt when I got back down to the bottom at 17 miles! I texted Pete, "3 miles to go and I feel AWESOME!" 

I really didn't feel much different then I do on any normal run, except for the bottoms of my feet hurt a little bit more. 

I knew the last 2 miles would be harder though. They always are because that's when it flattens out which is hard to deal with after running downhill for so long, and this is exactly how it's going to be on the marathon course. It's also really mental because I just start to think about how many miles I have left, and want to be finished. I need to work on that. Pete suggested picturing the 25 mile marker and practicing staying strong. 

When I hit 19 miles, I had to stop and walk. And I walked for almost a whole block. After you've been running for that long and you stop, you really feel how tired your arms are! But then I made myself start running again. I had a friend tell me later that she saw me just before this and that I looked great. Crazy!

Anyway, I really think that last mile is totally mental because I would want to slow down, but then I'd make myself run faster, and I could do it. My legs felt so heavy, but I was able to keep going!

Then, when I got closer to my house, I realized that I was cutting it close to going over 4 hours which was kind of my goal time for this run. I picked it up a little at the end which felt really good. I really felt like I was at the end of a race! I was so exhausted, but just had to make it to the finish line! When my Garmin beeped at 20 miles I just wanted to stop, crumple up in a little ball and cry! It hit me so suddenly. But I made myself keep walking, and I took some deep breaths to avoid an all-out break down. I did probably whimper a little bit, though. I walked to the end of the block, then back to my house. By then I had calmed myself down. 

I had just gone over the 4 hour mark by 22 seconds. SO close!

My new favorite thing is to leave a water bottler filled with ice water out on the steps so I can have a drink right when I get home. Then I stand at the stairs and stretch for a little while before going inside and putting the Mom hat back on where I finish stretching.

Lucky for me, George was napping when I got home so I had a few more minutes to stretch before he woke up. Then I still had Pete there to keep him busy while I took a nice bath and got myself ready for the day. Then I picked the kids up from school and made some cream cheese filled pumpkin muffins as a reward for a morning well spent. 

I spent the rest of the day looking forward to bed time. Pete was awesome and massaged my legs, then took care of dinner by ordering pizza.

Really, it was about as perfect as a 20 mile run can be, and it has given me a lot of confidence for race day in 3 weeks! I will just try not to think about having to add 6 miles onto that! Yikes.

Let the taper begin!

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