Well, I survived my 18 and 20 miler. Both were runs that I wasn’t sure would even happen…why, you ask? Allow me to explain….
I woke up the morning of my 18-miler feeling good. I went to the kitchen to put my pop tarts in the toaster and made a pit-stop in the bathroom. TMI, I know, but as I was sitting there I started to notice what my Grandma would call a “crick” in my neck. Then, a few seconds later, the muscles in my shoulders began to tighten and the pain I felt was excruciating. Seriously, I wasn’t sure if I could get up. After a minute or two, the tightening began to subside, but my neck and shoulders were still sore. I could barely get dressed and turning my head from side to side was near impossible. But, being the busy runner mom that I am, I went ahead and met up with some friends for a 6 mile “pre-run” before meeting with Woodlands Fit for 12 more miles. I knew if I didn’t fit the run in then, I might never find another time. Somehow, someway, I made it through all 18-miles without any back or neck pain. In fact, after making it home, I told the Hubby that the run almost seemed too easy. I felt great!!! (Well, other than the neck issues.)
My 20-miler was actually supposed to be 2 weeks after the 18-miler, followed by a 12 miler and then followed by a 22-miler. But, I have some running peeps who decided to delay their 20-miler by one week and run 10 miles before running the local “10 for Texas” 10-mile race. The idea was that running the last 10 miles with the crowds, the cheering and water stops would be more fun than running 20-miles on our own. The thought of changing up my training schedule made me nervous…I really wanted a 2nd 20+mile run. If nothing else, having two 20-milers would be a good confidence builder. But, I decided to run with my friends.
Wouldn’t you know it, on the date of my originally planned 20-miler, we had amazing 58-degree temps and zero humidity. However, on the date of the 10 for Texas, the temps were in the 70s and humid as heck! Figures.
The reason this run almost didn’t happen? Tummy issues. (TMI again) Seriously, I spent more time in the bathroom before the run than I did getting dressed. I debated taking Imodium, but decided against it since I’ve never used it before a run before. Fortunately, by the time I made it to our designated meeting place and made one more stop in the Market Street bathroom, I felt better. Not 100%, but better. The 1st 10-miles felt pretty good. My stomach felt off, but it didn’t get any worse with my Bee Stingers or Gatorade. Then, we had just enough time to freshen up a bit – change shirts, cool off with icy cold wash cloths, etc. – before we headed to the start of the 10 for Texas.
The race went well, although I was definitely not racing. I have PRed two years in a row, so that did make it a little hard to not want to go faster…not that I could at that point! I’ll admit, the warm temps really got to me and at mile 16 or 16.5-ish, I really started to feel it. Instead of walking for a minute at each mile, I began to take a quick walk break every ½ mile. I did this until a little after mile 18, when I got my 2nd wind and could run more. I even charged up the bridge at mile 19. Honestly, I think I was just happy to be almost done! I finished at a pace of 11:24…not fast by any means, but actually 1 second faster than my goal pace. Given the conditions that morning, I will take it! And, the best part is that my legs felt great afterwards! I know I could have run another 6.2, but of course I didn’t want to. J
So compared to the training for my last marathon 5 years ago, I feel stronger both physically and mentally. The me 5 years ago would have been a pansy and walked the bridge at the end of the race or beaten myself up about those few extra walk breaks. This year, I feel like my recovery is faster as well. It’s a great feeling!