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Monday, April 8, 2013

18 miler

Happy Monday friends!
Yes you read that right- HAPPY Monday!  

Why is my Monday so happy?  Because I had a great weekend at a horse show, packed a little, cleaned a bit, and ran a lot.  I hope you all had a great weekend as well!

This weekend marked the big 18 on the calendar.  I was so intimidated by this number and this run, and I was excited/dreading the run all week.  If I've learned anything from this training experience, it's that running is mostly mental. 

 I have to find ways to convince my mind to do things because I know my body can.  I used my "break it up" strategy to accomplish my 18.  If I broke my run into three six mile runs, it seemed manageable compared to an 18 mile run.   Three six mile runs or one 18 mile run?  It's amazing what a little math can do ;) 

I decided to start my morning with a piece of toast with peanut butter and bananas, two eggs, coffee, and a glass of water with a NUUN tab.  Filling and satisfying fuel for an 18 mile run.  I am starting to learn that coffee is a double edged sword.  While I like the jump start to my system, it makes me have to pee constantly during my run.  I have never sprinted into a burger king so fast.   

I was really lucky that the weather was so beautiful.  I started at about 9:15 Sunday morning and went out  dressed in my Moving Comfort capris, Green Pro Compression socks, long sleeve shirt, and my Lulu jacket.  I ended up ditching the jacket at mile one (I ALWAYS over dress).  The wind picked up a little but the sun was shining and the temperature was perfect.  Glad I slathered on the sun screen before I left.    

I filled up my camel back with half orange gatorade (not my choice, it was gifted, and who says no to free anything?) and half water.  I threw two GUs in the little pocket in the bottom of the bag, and threw a pair of gloves, chap stick, and head phones in my jacket pocket.  I slapped on my half charged Garmin and quickly ran out the door before I let my mind take over. 

The plan was to run 5.5 miles to my friend Jill's house in downtown Old Saybrook, run 6.5 miles with Jill by the water, have Olive dropped off, and run the 5.5 miles home with my pup (lots of planning involved in running).  I broke my route up into three pieces- the first part of my run I NEVER feel good so I did that at my own pace.  The second part I had some company to motivate me, and the third part I had Olive to help me keep a steady pace and keep me going for the last part of my run.  


The first 3 miles were absolutely brutal.  My shins were so tight and felt like they were on fire.  I was thinking to myself  "there is no way I can run more than five miles if this doesn't let up".  I kept my spirits up, stopped to stretch every mile, until finally relief came around mile four.  Around mile 4.5 I was warmed up, feeling great, and 18 was starting to seem doable.  Amazing how quickly a run can change from bad to good- anyone else notice this?

I got to Jill's house and used the bathroom (again, damn coffee), stole a packet of shot blocks, and right back out for a 6.5 mile loop on the water with Jill.  It felt great to ditch my IPOD and have some company for a third of my run.   When we got back I refilled my camel bak, stole a pack of Gu Chomps (my new favorite run fuel), and headed home with Olive for the last 5.5 mile leg of the run.  I loved the caffeine in the chomps and loved that the bite size pieces were perfect for snacking on during my run.  I had a chomp every half mile- something to break up my run and look forward to.  It's the little things... really....

Seeing this sign 2 miles from home always reminds me I am in the home stretch and that the end is near.  Miles 12 + felt great and I was comfortably running 9:20 minute miles (averaging about 10:00 until this point).  Proper Hydrating with the camel bak and Gu/Blocks at miles 6, 9, 13, and 15 seemed to be a really great combo for me.  My muscles felt great and fatigue was minimal.  Everything was going pretty perfect until I felt a sharp shooting pain behind my left knee around mile 15.  I slowed my pace down to 10:00+ minute miles which seemed to help the pain a little.   The pain came back in short bursts but I pushed through it and made it home 18 miles and 2 hours and 59 minutes later.  (This was purely running time, I paused it during each stretch break and my break at Jills).  

I was happy to be done, but a little nervous about the possible start of a new injury.  I put my new gel ice packs to good use- two on the shins and one behind my left knee.  I was considering taking an ice bath until I realized there was no ice.  This seemed like the next best thing.  Of course with a beer in my hand and one compression sleeve (I will find the other one day).   

I couldn't believe I just spent three hours running, covered 18 miles, and actually enjoyed it.  Besides the first three miles and that funky pain toward the end of my run- I felt great.  For the first time I finished saying  "I think I could have ran a marathon today... I think I could have kept going..."   One more milestone down and another mile closer to 26.2.

A beer, a lunch of grilled steak and roasted veggies, some ice cream, and some quality time with my pup wrapped up my Sunday Runday. 

 If I can get through those first three miles- I can get through any distance I set my mind to.  

Happy Recovering,

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