Tuesday, August 30, 2011

20 miles, done and DONE!

Irene (fortunately) did not wreck havoc for us. I think this is because we live in a high-rise building, our power lines are underground, and my car was safe in the garage. Bottom line: any damage around our apartment is the management’s  problem. Oh how I love renting!

While the storm initially caused havoc on my weekend plans, everything turned out ok. I was still able to travel up to Baltimore on Friday night and help Val find her wedding dress Saturday morning AND I got home in time for some unexpected down time in the apartment with the roommates and my friend Courtney. We watched the entire first season of Weeds!



Sunday afternoon, Jay and I managed to get in our 20 mile run outside. Only one event was cancelled this weekend and easily rescheduled for next weekend. No biggie! So really, Irene did not put a damper on our plans.

With the winds still wailing at 15 to 20 mph, Jay and I set off on our 20 mile run on the W & OD Trail. We would have preferred to run a few other trails, like the Capital Crescent or the Mt. Vernon, but considering their proximity to the water, we opted for the trail that cut across Arlington. This trail follows along a creek, and some areas on it are pretty low-lying, so we were mildly concerned about a few areas being flooded. Surprisingly we did not encounter any flooding, there weren’t even puddles!!


The only negative to this trail was how much of it is in the sun. The last time we ran it was so early that direct sun was not an issue. The W & OD Trail follows the path of rail road tracks, so the trail is wide without much tree cover. At 2 in the afternoon, this meant it was hot! I easily drank over 50 oz. of water over the course of 20 miles and still felt dehydrated.

A friend recommended running out and back 10 miles. I am glad I took her advice as it made the long run much more pleasant. The first 10 miles out were fine. No major hurdles once our body's warmed up. We leisurely had Gu at 6 miles and continued on our way stopping occasionally to refill our water bottles. The second 10 were a lot harder. Both Jay and I could tell once we hit 16+ mileage. Our bodies started to feel very tried. All I could do to keep going was to tell myself "I think I can, I think I can" and "I know I can, I know I can". I felt like the little engine that could!  It also  helped knowing that there was no other way to get home except by the trail we were on.

Little hills that were "no big deal" on the way out became mountains! I have to admit that I power walked up any hill that we encountered in the last two miles! When all was said and done, I was very proud of our run. My body hated me last night and a little this morning, but at least I have the confidence that we CAN do it.


As with all of our long runs, I feel like I come away with several tokens of knowledge. As Jay and I cooled down, we both agreed that we are so glad we worked two 20 mile runs and one 22 mile run into our schedule, as opposed to one 20 miler right before the race.  I think both of us would have been discouraged to have to run the marathon after this run, as it took us forever to run 20 miles, it was hot, and we stopped more than we should. We are both hoping we feel more comfortable with the distance as we tackle our last longer runs.

The other thing I learned is that shade makes a world of difference. You better believe our next 20 and 22 milers will be on a more shaded path. We have been very good about running routes with water fountains and bathrooms, but even after 13 weeks of training we still haven't mastered shaded routes.

I do think we have mastered food! An hour and a half before our run we had a small plate of Spaghetti with 4 mini-meatballs each. Since we had already woken-up, had breakfast and then lunch our stomachs did not mind the run at all. When we got home we split a protein shake, showered and ate dinner. I have never had a better Sweet Potato with Beans, Broccoli, Celery and Mozzarella Cheese. It is amazing how great food tastes after a long run.


Tomorrow marks the 2 month mark until the marathon!


Marathon Runners: How many 20+ mile runs do you recommend completing prior to race day?


Have you ever considered training for a marathon?