Sunday, March 23, 2014

Pittsburgh Marathon Training Long Run: 20 Miles

I owe you a post on the CrossFit Open WOD 14.4, but I was waiting for the pics to be posted and so now you have to wait until tomorrow.  Today, you get to hear about my long run because when do you not want to hear about my long runs?  Never!  Exactly!  

So first let's talk about my illness.  Last Thursday (as in over 10 days ago) I was diagnosed with a sinus infection and put on antibiotics.  Well 8 days into antibiotics I still wasn't feeling better (worse actually as everything had moved to my chest).  So, I called my doctor and now I'm on an inhaler and steroids.  

Heading into today's 20 miler, I really had no idea if it would be something I would be able to accomplish.  But, as you probably know by now, I'm determined and I decided to move forward with the run (not without giving it some serious side eye). 

I met Tracey at 7:30 and we were going to tackle the first 5 mile loop and my friend Kim was coming for the second 5.  

I told Tracey that I thought this run would be slow.  I hoped to maintain about an 11:00 pace for the whole thing.  As you all know, Tracey is MUCH faster than I so I felt badly asking her to run so slowly, but it's really all I thought I could do today.  Slow and steady.  

She luckily obliged me and we had a really good first 5 miles.  

Mile 1: 11:01
Mile 2: 11:06
Mile 3:  10:37 (can you guess where the flat parts of this loop are?) 
Mile 4:  11:06
Mile 5:  10:30  (another flat portion)

We got back to the boathouse and Kim was there waiting for us.  When I saw Kim, she wasn't her normal happy, smiling, cheerful self.  I asked her if there was something wrong and she said she was just tired.  I was bummed that Kim was feeling less than herself this morning.  

Kim is a BRAND NEW runner, she just finished her first 5k and she kicked ass at it too.  She's gone from total non-runner to now training for the Pittsburgh Marathon Relay in less than a few months.  I'm so proud of her.   

Mile 6:  11:10
Mile 7:  10:51----> Gu 
Mile 8:  11:05
Mile 9:  11:10
Mile 10:  11:19 

When we finished Kim thought we had run 4.5 miles due to the way we ran the loop, but when I mentioned 5 miles she realized she had just run her VERY FIRST 5 mile run without stopping.  I saw tears well up in her eyes when she realized and then I saw the big smile and the cheerful, happy Kim!  I loved being a part of that moment.  Priceless!  

We said farewell to Kim and headed out for our third loop.  I think this was my best loop mentally.  I was feeling pretty good.  Despite a few coughs here and there, my lungs weren't giving me a fit and I was feeling pretty decent physically.  

We got to about the 14 mile mark and Tracey asked me how I felt.  I told her I didn't want to jinx anything, but I felt pretty darn good.  I mentioned that my hamstrings were getting tight, but that I felt good.  Hmmm will it last? 

Mile 11: 10:35
Mile 12: 10:40
Mile 13:  10:14
Mile 14: 10:31
Mile 15:  10:42 -----> Honey Stinger Waffle 

Well my "good feeling" didn't last too long.  Right at about mile 16 my legs really started cramping up. My hamstrings felt very tight and I looked down and my left shoe was full of blood.  At first I thought it was my normal blister spots, but no-- my two toes had been rubbing together and my toenail cut the other toe, but it bled and A LOT.  It wasn't as painful, but my blisters were really hurting.   My hips and calves were hurting too, but not as badly as my hamstrings.  I HAD to slow down and Tracey was still going strong.  

After a bunch of convincing, I sent Tracey on her way to finish alone at the 18 mile mark.  

Mile 16:  11:09
Mile 17:  11:08
Mile 18:  11:28
Mile 19:  11:48

I was really, really struggling by the 19 mile mark and I started thinking about pushing through the pain and how I WILL have to push through on marathon day.  I thought so much about people who can't run due to reason too many to name and I thought about my friend Lissa.  

Lissa is a friend of mine from high school who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer.  She is the absolutely the most positive person I have ever met.  Her spirit is so uplifting and she has not let cancer, losing her hair (she shaved it when it started to fall out) or anything else get in the way of her living her life.  In addition to having cancer, Lissa also has MS.  I mean seriously, who wouldn't think why me or feel a little down.  NOT LISSA!  She continues to run THROUGH her chemotherapy treatments.  Yes I mean run, as in several times per week and in races.  Lissa is a huge inspiration to me (whether she knows it or not).  

I decided to dedicate my last mile to Lissa and decided if she can run while having cancer and going through Chemo, all while having MS too, then what battle did I really have?  None.  At one point during this mile, I felt like I was soaring and I know Lissa's positive attitude and uplifting spirt where with me!

Mile 20:  11:53 (ok it might not have been the fastest, but it was the most meaningful)

Total: 3:40:15
Average: 11:00

After running 20 miles one is quite hungry and I turned to Panera and the Official Training Menu to help fuel my hungry body.  I chose the U pick 2 Asian Sesame Chicken Salad and Broccoli Cheddar Soup (not on the training menu) and added the Low Fat B Green Smoothie too.  Adding the smoothies to my meals have been key to helping to keep me full after expending a large number of calories working out.  I really liked the Green Smoothie too.  I was so surprised because I expected not to like it (health food… what?) and I did.  It felt like a treat despite being packed full of nutrition.  This will DEFINITELY be had again and I highly recommend you try it.

Thanks to Panera Bread and The Pittsburgh Marathon for sponsoring me in training and fueling for this awesome race.  Today, I'm one step closer to getting to that finish line.


Shaun Byrne said...

Way to push through the pain!!! Your friend sounds like an inspiration to all!

Melissa said...

You're really fast on your long runs! I did the half last year with an average of 10.40 but this year I'm closer to 12-13. I'm going to train to be faster for our run. I hope you're feeling better!

pghrunner said...

Congrats on getting it done! Those 20 milers are the worst! Congrats to your friend Kim, and her distance PR.

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