September 24, 2013

Training Tuesday: 20. Freakin. Miles. BOOM.

*Hey guys!  Don't forget to check out my 31 bags fundraiser for Autism Speaks!   Thank you to Megan C., Karen B., Kiley M., and Karen G. for donating and entering!  I hope you will consider donating $5 to Autism Speaks, giving you a great chance of winning an awesome 31 bag! 

Well, I did it--I ran dragged myself through 20 whole miles Sunday morning, officially finishing the longest run of both my marathon training and my entire life.  It wasn't pretty, folks.  In fact, it was probably the toughest run of my entire life.  Buuuut, I did it!  And that's what matters, right? :)  Let me start at the beginning...

Sunday morning I had to be up at...wait for it...3:15am.  Yup.  Basically the middle of the night.  My running group was participating in the CARA Ready to Run 20-miler in Chicago with all of the other Chicago-land running groups.  The run was an organized training run with pace groups, aid stations, but no chip times.  Our buses left my training site at 4:30am in order to get into the city with plenty of time to spare before the 6:30am start time.  It was early, dark, cold, and we were tired.  The perfect mix of things to make sure NONE of us were super pumped up about the run...
I would NEVER have made it through the run without these ladies!!!

The course was a point to point from the north side of the city all the way downtown and through to the Museum of Science and Industry on the south side.
In other words, really freakin far.  I'm not a huge fan of point to point races; I think it just made it seem FAR.  I love running on the lakefront path in Chicago--the views are stunning, and there is always a nice cool breeze off of the lake.  

Sorry for the blur, but you get the idea.  Lovely!

We even ran past a little plan that had made an emergency landing on Lakeshore Drive in the wee hours of the morning!  Have you ever heard of such a thing?  Luckily I think everyone was okay.  (My pace group leader had to stop and take a picture!  I took a much needed stretch break...)

Like I said, the views were beautiful, but after 20 miles I was bored out of my mind.  Not to mention in pain!!!  So. much. pain.  I felt really good during my 18-miler two weeks ago up until the last few miles, but Sunday I was hurting WAY earlier in the run.  My left ITB/knee were bugging me early on; so was my right hip.  Later those loosened up but my arches and hip flexors started hurting something fierce.  By the end, every step was just agony.   We looked forward to our 1-minute walk breaks like a kid looking forward to Christmas, and moaned and groaned every time the walk breaks ended.

Finally, finally, FINALLY we made it.  I managed to kick it up the tiniest bit for a fast run to the finish line, knowing that the sooner I crossed it, the sooner I could lay down and take off my shoes.  It's the little things, right?!  I crossed the finish relieved and smiling in 4:07.

Hurting, but so happy to have set a new distance record and have conquered 20 mean miles!
(I loved running in my new Swirlgear Cap Sleeve--
check back later this week for a review and discount code!)

Immediately after the run I was more nauseous than hungry, but by the time I made it home I was STARVING.  And exhausted.  20mi + no sleep = naptime.  I curled up in bed (post-shower obv) with Jimmy Johns and New Girl--have you watched that show?  So cute.  Yesterday I got an AMAZING deep tissue massage--holy crazy, that therapist was amazing.  I didn't realize I even had some of the knots that she worked out!  But man, the pain...
A few weeks ago in my training, I thought that after the 20-miler I would feel super confident and ready for the marathon.  Now, I think I just realize how flippin' far 26.2 miles is.  (News flash: It's far.)  After the run, I found myself thinking, "I literally could not have run another single step, much less 6.2 more MILES."  I know, I know, the marathon will be different.  I will be running on rested legs on an awesome course with amazing crowd support.  I just hope it hurts a little less on race day!!  

I still can't believe I ran 20 miles.  God, I remember how proud I was after my first 5K--never in my life would I have dreamed I could have run this far!  Even though it made me more nervous than ever about the marathon distance, after Sunday I am just so excited about the marathon.  I can't wait to run through the streets of my awesome city with so many sponsorships for a cause I believe in and with my family and friends supporting me.  It's going to be the hardest thing I've ever done, but I'm going to make sure it's an absolute blast!!

Please, please, please give me some reassurance that I can get through my marathon.  Sorry to be needy, but actually I'm not sorry!! :)


  1. I posted my response to your Sunshine Award nomination! Enjoy. :-)

  2. 20 miles is hard. No way around it. And you CAN do the marathon. I did 5 marathons and I never ran farther than 20 miles for training. The race day excitement brings you through it. YOU CAN DO IT!

  3. Wow! I'm super impressed. And of course you're going to make it through your marathon. You made it through recovery, and you made it through that first year teaching.... it's a no-brainer. You can run a marathon.

    Also: you are hugely inspirational. For life, and for running. Whenever I'm about to die at the end of my runs (which are a measly 5K, but do have an absolutely insane hill), I remind myself that you're running a marathon. And then I keep going.

    I'm also impressed that you waited till after showering to collapse in bed. Seriously, I'd have just wound up on my sofa in a big sweaty mess.

  4. You will be AWESOME!!! I couldn't be prouder of you!! Love you :-)

  5. You can do it!! You'll be amazing!!! Can't wait to hear about it!

  6. Amazing!!! Someone else I know was there, too. She runs w/ Three Run Two if you've heard of them! It was her first 20-miler as well. You are so inspiring for doing this! I can't wait to hear all about your marathon. It WILL be great, and if you have to walk the last 6 miles, big deal! (but I'm sure you won't).

  7. You can do it! 20 miles is hard! But on the day of the race there will be so much excitement and cheering and that will help carry you on those last 6.2 miles!
    And the 20 miler usually comes at the end of a big week so you are already tired going in! Tapering before the big day will help!


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