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!

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12 thoughts on “My First 20 Miler

  1. I got chills reading this. I felt that same elation when I finished my 20 mile run a couple of weeks ago. Same mile too: mile 16! Right then you realize you're gonna crush this b*tch and that's just SO overwhelming! Nobody told me running would be so emotional!!

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  2. Congratulations!!! That is so awesome that you could do a point-to-point run. I remember my first 20-miler was a bunch of different loops and paths, but luckily my roommate came out and handed me water and fuel every once in a while. Finishing that run was the best feeling ever!

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  3. CONGRATS!!!!! Just reading your post I started getting all choked up remember when I ran 20 for the first time. I got all emotional around mile 17 when realized I had run longer than I had ever done before and that it was really going to happen. It's the best feeling in the world!

    You did amazing! Those splits look great!!!!

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  4. Woohoo!!!! Great job! I got choked up on mile 17 of my first 20 when I realized I'd definitely finish, too. Nothing beats that feeling of KNOWING. And now you KNOW you can conquer the full!!! Congrats!

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  5. Congrats on achieving this training milestone! I still remember my first one, how I felt and where I was as I looked down at my watch and saw it go from 19.85…19.9…19.99…so exhilarating! It is a huge mental hurdle to overcome and afterward I felt so much more confident about running a marathon. The other great thing is that I don't know if you're running any more 20 milers this cycle but if you do, it will feel so much easier!

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