And just like that, my second longest training run is complete. It’s so bizarre. My second longest training is 8.2 miles short of the marathon??? WHO CAME UP WITH THIS CRAP??? It definitely makes me nervous, but I’m sure people much smarter than me came up with “this crap” so I’m going to try to keep my doubts to a minimum 😉
Yesterday morning my alarm went off at the wonderful hour of 3:50am. I actually woke up surprisingly chipper. I had woken up an hour earlier thinking it was time to be up, and when I realized I had an extra hour to sleep I got so ridiculously happy that I think by the time I did have to wake up I was like “I’ve got this!!!” I got ready, got my pre run breakfast ready (uggghhh why is it always so hard to eat before a long run???) and was out the door to meet Stacey at Kiwanis Park for some extra miles before the rest of the team got there. We ran 3 loops of the lake totaling just over 2 and a half miles, and then we were right on time to meet the team and hear some words of encouragement from Coach Susan before heading off for the rest.
Our first few miles were ssssllllloooowwwww. Like the slow that leaves me questioning if I’m actually running or just walking with hutzpah. But ya know what? That seems to be what works for me. It leaves me with energy to push it at the end, and it makes me a super awesome negative splitter, so I’ll take it.
Mile 2–11:40 (weird)
Around that time Tim caught up to us and ran with us for the next couple of miles. It was nice because no matter how much you love the person you’re used to running with, it’s always nice to have someone new around to chat with. It seems to make the time go by faster. It was great to talk to Tim–he told us about some of his previous marathons and his fancy sub 4 hour PR (jealous). He also told us about when he did two marathons about 2 months apart and said it actually went pretty well which was good to hear since I am planning on doing the same thing. Around this time my body started to get warmed up and we started making our way into less turtle-like splits.
These miles were pretty uneventful. We kept trucking along down the same canal path we’ve run a million times, stopped a couple of times to fill our water bottles, and fueled after mile 5. I brought along black cherry shot blocks which I’ve had before and really liked, but this time they seemed so hard to chew! I was not a fan, and was really wishing I’d brought my watermelon gu chomps instead. I’m glad I figured it out then though and not on race day! The next few miles were more of the same…
We turned around just before mile 10 (which I discovered later was too early–lame), and that’s when I felt myself starting to get in the game. We fueled again at mile 10. More obnoxious chewing of less than desirably textured shot blocks. We also ran into Tara and Jamie several times over these few miles. They were killing it with getting in a PDR of over 15 miles! Anyway, I started to feel myself getting into the zone.
For some reason mile 12 is where it always starts to feel challenging. I know I can keep going, but it starts to feel like more work at this point. It was also starting to feel HOT. I decided to turn on my music for some extra motivation. I’ve actually been running a lot without music lately. And I am the girl that brought headphones to my first track session, so that is a BIG change. I’ve noticed it really is so much more helpful when I don’t have it on mindlessly at all times, but only turn it on when I start to feel like I need it. Then I actually listen to it, and it pumps me up! I actually had a blast the next few miles singing loudly on the canal with Stacey who seemed surprisingly not embarrassed by me as I sang Call Me Maybe at the top of my lungs to other runners and cyclists passing by. They seemed entertained by me too. I like to think acting a fool is more entertaining than annoying to the rest of the world 😉
And here’s where I messed up my stupid splits by accidentally hitting the lap button in the middle of mile 14. Lame.
Mile 14.26-15 (I fixed it and set it back up on even miles)–9:44
This is where I started to feel really tired during my last long run. I remember miles 15-17 seeming impossible, but today I felt STRONG. Yes, it was starting to feel harder and harder, but I knew I still had the energy to make it happen, and I felt so incredibly happy. I kept repeating the things that Susan tells us about running form in my head, and I repeated a lot of mantras, and had many the emotional moment about how far I’ve come (for a change). I continued singing along really loudly to my bad music that only I like.
The last half a mile was the hardest. I was ready to be done, and I was hot and tired, but I just kept pushing.
18 miles, 3:08:19, 10:27 average pace.
I still don’t know how I did it, but I did it. And at the end, instead of wanting to die, I felt only happy. The long runs have always been my favorite (no matter how much I really do love the track). There is nothing like tackling a new distance, and pushing so far beyond the point where you want to stop. Every week in this training, I continue to surprise myself. I always get nervous that I won’t be able to do it, and that I will never live up to my previous good runs, and that some day I will just finally realize that I can’t do it, but I continue to go above and beyond my own expectations, and it is an amazing feeling.
People ask me why I want to run a marathon. I ask you: why would you ever want to stop yourself from fulfilling your capabilities? That doesn’t mean everyone has to run a marathon, but it is a theory we can all apply to our lives as a whole. Why stop yourself? Why not push to your limits? I think we’d all be amazed at what we can do.
What’s something you’ve done recently that surprised you?? Share your happiness!!!!