Running my first 20 miler, a daunting and exhilarating task. I had planned a route from my house to my parents in another town…20 miles….20 freakin’ miles!
I woke up at 6am, ate my plain bagel, drank some Gatorade and then laid back down. I didn’t want to stay awake because I knew I was just going to get in my own head. I would ruin this for me. At 7 I was back up, nervously trying to decide what I should wear. I took a salt pill and slowly started getting ready to leave. My plan was to head out anywhere between 8 and 9. By 7:40 I was dressed, fueled, had my Orange Mud hydration quiver (I will have to review this for you guys) full and nothing left to do but run. Yet, I waited. I waited until almost 8:30. I wasted time, finding anything to do but leave. I kept thinking about failure…what if I couldn’t make it? What if I just didn’t have it in me? What if I just had to stop in the middle of nowhere and admit defeat?
|My new Orange Mud hydration! I call it my jet pack!
Finally, I put my big girl panties on and headed out the door. I noticed the cringe it gave me as my Garmin connected a little too fast for my liking. I stood at the edge of the road took a couple of deep breaths then ran.
I headed down the road knowing that I was doing something big. Most people can’t just run 20 miles but I was going to. I started slow, and I mean slow. My LSD (long slow distance) pace should be 10:00-10:30 per mile. I honestly didn’t know if I would be able to do that so I kept my pace a little slower and planned to keep it that way. I am going to walk through the aid stations at my marathon so I train doing this also. The first couple of miles ticked by and my goal was to just make it to mile 5 and I did….easily.
Mile 1: 10:45
Mile 2: 10:55
Mile 3: 10:54
Mile 4: 10:57
Mile 5: 10:51
My new goal was to make it to 10 miles….that’s halfway right? So at that point I can start counting down and know I am going to do it. I had chosen a hilly route as I know that Nashville is hilly and I like to train in the same conditions as I am going to race. My legs still felt good and my head was getting better, I was feeling more at ease. I had my first GU, continued to walk through the “aid” stations and then I hit the wind! At around mile 8 or 9 I turned a corner and BOOM wind!! Lots of wind!! I knew that I had a long section to run on this road and hoped it calmed down before long. It did slightly but I could tell it was getting to me. On top of this I could feel my bladder filling up! Damn, what else could go wrong? Mile 10 passed.
Mile 6: 10:32
Mile 7: 10:40
Mile 8: 10:37
Mile 9: 10:26
Mile 10: 10:28
I knew I had a chance to stop at a plaza to empty my bladder in a couple miles. This was relieving to know. My new goal was to just make it there. There is a pretty long drive to get back to the building so it would add some mileage and I didn’t like the idea of stopping. I also knew that I would rather stop than pee myself. 🙂 I was still fighting with the wind and soon I could see the plaza and my legs were feeling pretty good. I had let my pace steady out a little to where I felt comfortable and reached the plaza feeling good. When I got inside the building I did get a couple of weird looks! I guess they don’t see many runners in there! I headed back out and when I got near the road I saw my husband drive by….I got out my phone and called him while I ran. He said he had just wanted to check on me and was going to meet me when I was done running.
Mile 11: 10:35
Mile 12: 10:21
Mile 13: 10:39
Mile 14: 10:26
Mile 15: 10:18
I still felt good and let my hubs know that I thought I wasn’t going to make it all the way to my parents before hitting the 20 miles. He agreed to drive out and meet me wherever the 20 stopped! Yay!! I didn’t have to do anymore than I needed! I was at about mile 16 when it hit me that I was going to finish. It seriously got to me. I was going to run the 20 and I was going to finish. It wasn’t going to beat me!! I had an emotional 30 seconds before having to get my shit together so I could keep going at a good pace. I knew the last few miles were going to be the hardest. This wasn’t just because I was at the end of 20 but due to the hills. I had purposely picked a very very hilly road to run when entering my parents town. I needed to be able to run hills when tired and this would do it for me.
I pushed the last few miles to keep my pace, I struggled with the hills and dealt with drivers that didn’t move over AT ALL. I felt good, I was almost done, I was conquering the hills and I was ready to see 20.00 hit my Garmin for the first time. I also felt like I was barely moving. My legs were heavy, my calves were tight, my breathing beginning to get a little labored.
The hubs was pulled over on the side of the road waiting for me then it happened. My Garmin beeped one last time for that run. I did it! When I stopped my Garmin I threw up my hands and D came running up to me, gave me five then walked me to the car.
Mile 16: 10:40
Mile 17: 10:00
Mile 18: 10:31
Mile 19: 11:07
Mile 20: 10:30
I reached the car feel a little wobbly, my legs didn’t know what to do. I stretched and took off my Orange Mud before flopping into the seat. We headed to my parents where I knew there was some chocolate milk waiting for me!! I felt like I had just run 20 miles but it still felt good. I accomplished something during this run, more than just knowing that my body was capable of running that far. I faced the fear head on and I won!