I couldn't leave you all hanging and not report back to you about my LAST (yeeeeeeeeeee haw) long run for marathon training. Sunday called for 20 miles and nothing about 20 seemed appealing that day. I met Bianca at 6:30 and she was to run the first 15 with me (her marathon is a week before mine). We decided to meet at a new location and then run to the trail. This helped add on 4 miles to the out and back course and also helped to break up the monotony of running the SAME EXACT route every damn time.
My calves were STILL sore from my hill repeat workout that I did on Tuesday. Yes you read that correctly-- Tuesday. I wanted to take things nice and slow and told myself that time didn't matter. This was a training run and it was supposed to be slow. It was so dark during the beginning of the run I couldn't see my Garmin even if I wanted to. By the time the sun rose I realized I still had my Garmin in bike mode and I couldn't really decipher my pace at that point either. So I told Bianca to give it to me straight... how
bad slow was my pace. She then reported our pace was 11:41 average. I knew I had been going slow, but I never imagined it would be that slow. I decided to blame it on the darkness. Who runs fast in the dark when you can't even see one foot in front of the other? What? That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
At around the 5 mile mark we saw Julie up ahead looking good. Julie also had 20 miles on her training plan on Sunday and was running alone doing a walk/run combo. She looked very official in her new compression sleeves. Actually, both my girls make those things look GOOD!!!!
After a few laughs (I'm not allowed to tell you why) and some words of encouragement, Julie sent us on our way. It seemed odd to be running away from Julie, but I know her walk/run program works for her and it's how she needs to train right now.
At this point it seemed to me like we had been running forever, but we were only to our normal turn around point (just about 6.5 miles). We decided to take an untimed stop and have a Gu. I complained to Bianca that I didn't really feel like running today. She shot me a disapproving look and I explained I just didn't feel like running twenty miles today. 6.5 seemed just perfect. She wouldn't let me quit (damn you Bianca) so we trudged on.
Miles 7 through 13 are pretty much a blur. I think I started to feel a little better mentally and knew that if I kept telling myself I didn't feel like running it was only going to be worse. So I sucked it up and managed to make it through the next 6 miles relatively easily. I mile 12 I decided to eat my Honey Stinger shot blocks. That will be the LAST time I eat those. I love the way they taste and I love the consistency, but I do NOT love the belly ache they always give me afterwards. I've tried them on several occasions and realize they just don't agree with me. By mile 13, I felt nauseous and by mile 14, I thought puking was imminent.
From miles 14 to 15 I thought about Bianca leaving me as we headed back to her car. I thought of a million excuses of why I couldn't continue and why I should just quit. When we finally arrived at the point where it was time for Bianca to leave, I realized my belly was feeling a WHOLE LOT better. I said my goodbyes to Bianca and started changing my mindset (AGAIN) to tell myself all the reasons I COULD do this and not all the reasons I couldn't.
I told myself that I could go as slowly as I wanted, no one was there to mind. It was just me, myself and I. I may have pumped up the iPod and blasted Katy Perry Teenage Dream and sang at the top of lungs. I may have, but no one will ever know for sure because it was just me and my shadow out there pounding the pavement.
I finally convinced myself around the 16.5 mile mark that I had no choice other than to do the FULL 20 miles I had scheduled. I was almost out of water and the only place I could get water was along the trail. I had about 1 mile to the water station and I knew I could make it there, fill my water bottles and then have plenty of water to make it back to my car. Water never looked so good!
I also spotted Julie out on the trail as I pulled up to the water stop. She looked strong to me, but she told me she was beginning to struggle. I wanted nothing more than to be able to run with her and support and encourage her, but I had one mission and that was to get this run D.O.N.E. done and Julie still had over 5 miles to go (I had just 2.5 left). Once again we said our well wishes and we both set off in different directions.
The last few miles I was hurting physically, but I was into this run. It was an absolutely gorgeous day and I wasn't going to let a few miles spoil everything for me. My hamstrings and hips felt a little achey and my feet were generally tired, but overall my body was holding up and that made me happy.
Clearly the best self portrait ever! Hello hair.... what are you doing?
I was definitely happy when the Garmin (I was wearing Bianca's) let me know I had reached 20 miles. It might have been slow (for me) but my last long run for Rock n Roll San Antonio was complete!
Here is the breakdown of the run. Because my Garmin was on bike mode for the first 6.75 miles the run is broken down into 2 sections. I realize the total mileage doesn't add up, but that's because I forgot to start my Garmin after waiting to cross traffic one time. I wore Bianca's Garmin after she left and it read 20.01!
I can't tell you how good it feels to have completed my 24th week of marathon training. Thanks for following along through all my adventures in marathon training. The last 2 weeks are taper weeks and something I'm really looking forward to. I intend to fully savor the taper!