My First 20 Miler

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
DONE!
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!

Winter Blast Half Marathon Recap!

Saturday was supposed to be prep day, making sure I had all my stuff packed, eating properly, hydrating and just staying relaxed for the race Sunday morning.  So I spent all day not getting my stuff around and drinking water!  I couldn’t decide what I wanted to wear at the race so I just didn’t get stuff around.  <–new level of laziness right there! 
At 6, my friends and I had a dinner to have our last bit of carbs put into our system and enjoy ourselves before the race.  We had pasta, pie, salad, pierogies and bread!  The evening was a typical one with all of us together lots of laughs and entertaining conversations. 
The hubs and I got home around 9:30 or 10 and I had to still figure out what I was going to wear, so I checked the weather grabbed everything I thought I might want and went to bed.

RACE DAY!!
I got up at 4am, had some peanut butter on a spoon, Gatorade and got dressed.  I double checked my bag and made sure I had enough warm stuff since it was 10° out.  Shortly after 5 I was out the door to head to Kari’s.  I got to her house, ate a bagel talked for a few and when Jade and her family got there we picked up our last two runners Amy and Alaina before heading out of town.
We arrived at the race just after 7 and race time was 8 so it worked out perfect for us.  We had enough time to go in, get our packets, use the restroom, put all of our stuff away and be done before race time.  Pics are limited, my phone shut off numerous times due to the cold temps.  I had to try to warm it up before turning it on again for pics. 
Kari, Amy, Alaina, me and Jade!
The race started just outside a high school so they kept all the runners inside before the race so that everyone stayed warm, at race start I think I was around 15°.  We headed toward the starting line and crossed about a minute after the official start.  Only a few hundred runners but it still was a slow pace starting out.  The girls had told me they wanted to finish in under 2:30, so I told them to not worry and I would watch our pace so they could enjoy everything about their first half!
Heading to the start!
Miles 1-3:
These wound through neighborhoods where people were watching from their driveways and some from inside their homes (we even had a lady make her dog wave to us).  Pace was great, we were laughing and having a good time.  The roads were mostly clear with very little bits of snow and ice of them so we all had pretty good footing too which was a big relief!!
1-10:53
2-10:39
3-10:24
At about mile 1
Miles 4-6: 
Somewhere in here Amy and Alaina started dropping back a little as Amy wasn’t feeling good and had woken up with the crud!  She was a tough cookie for even running!!!  It was also at this point we started to see the 2:20 pacer ahead of us.  This was enough motivation for Jade, Kari and I too push on and start the head hunt!!  Also we started running most of our miles on a paved bike path at this point.  It twisted through wooded areas and then we moved onto the roads again for a short time.  Jades family also had found a spot on the course to stop and cheer for us!  It was a great boost to have them cheering for us as we went by.
4-10:32
5-10:10
6-10:20
6 mile selfie
Miles 7-10:
This is where we paced the 2:20 group.  We were doing a great job at keeping pace and holding it steady.  This was also the most hilly part of the course.  It had some small rolling hills in the early miles, now they were a little bigger but nothing too extreme.  The path was winding through woods and very very pretty at this point too.  The trees were covered in snow and it would occasionally blow off the limbs and land on us and other runners.  I took my Gu here as well and felt strong.  I was trying to be careful to not let the pace get too fast as the last few miles are the hardest, especially when it is your first half.   
7-10:23
8-10:02
9-9:52
10-10:06
Miles 11-13.1:
The last couple of miles were quiet, and I kind of expected that.  We were pushing a good pace to hold steady to finish close to 2:15 and soaking up the scenery.  We also passed Jades family again as they cheered for us in a second location which was just what we needed to keep pushing!  In the last mile I started letting them know every .25 miles how much further so they could push the pace if they wanted too.  We all stayed together and made it count.  At mile 13, Amy and Alaina’s family was gathered and just after that was Jades again.  They were cheering and ringing the cow bells!!  We held hands and crossed the line at 2:16:19….not too shabby for a half!! 
11-10:13
12-10:10
13-10:10 
.27-2:26 (I came out just a little long) 
Avg. pace 10:16/mi.
We did it!  Me, Amy, Alaina, Kari and Jade
The medals are cute too
Overall this was a great race, they had a great atmosphere with great aid stations.  They were actually having a contest for best aid station so I think that helped keep them involved and entertaining.  At mile 11 they gave away gummy bears too so they won my heart with that!  <–I voted for them primarily due to this as well!  I mean who doesn't love gummy bears?? 
As soon as we were done we talked and then left so I am not sure what they had as far as post race food but I am sure it was great.  I had seen some Moe’s being brought in before the race which is pretty yummy.  This race was fun and enjoyable in all the ways races should be.  I would definitely participate in it again.  Plus, it was nice to do a longer run with friends, I have been doing so many alone this was a breath of fresh air.