Saturday, August 28, 2010

My First 20 miler

A milestone in marathon training, the 20 miler. When I began my training it seemed really daunting.... and now that i've completed the first of two that I will do over the course of training, I can't say the second one is any less daunting. I downloaded "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" onto my ipod last night. I think I probably missed some important points of the book as my mind started to wander throughout the run, but I was super excited to start listening to the book, which helped motivate me to get out the door. I woke up early to hit the road while temperatures were still cool. I tried some new margarita flavored cliff shot blocks with some added salt since i've been having some muscle cramping on my 15 mile and 16 mile runs. Who gets to say they had a margarita while they were running? I joke. They weren't quite as good as the real thing, but I didn't have any leg cramps, so I do think the added salt helped. Somehow I managed to get lost despite the fact that I was doing an out and back run. Doh! I think I took a wrong turn off of a roundabout at about mile 12. After about a mile I realized that things weren't really looking familiar. A biker that I flagged down was kind enough to point me in the right direction to get me back on course. A big thanks to him!
On my 16 mile run I drank nearly all of the water from my fuel belt, so I was concerned that I would run out on this 20 miler. I realized that there is a library on my route, so I stopped there at about mile 14 and refilled my bottles. Getting lost actually helped miles 12-15 go by fairly quickly, as I was focusing on finding my way back to my planned route than on how much I still had to run.
Looking back to the beginning of training, one of the reasons I chose the intermediate training program was that it had two 20 milers in it and so many of my marathon running friends have said that their first 20 miler was awful, so it was nice to have a second for the mental confidence boost. I don't want to jinx myself too much by saying this, but, the first one wasn't bad. It was long, it was hard, I am really sore now, but was I surprised at how well it went. I almost can't believe that I went that far! I also can't believe that I have to do it again in a few weeks.... and then of course do the marathon itself! I will be very glad when the marathon is over, so that I can have some weekends that are purely relaxing rather than built around my long run schedule, but finishing out this training is feeling a lot less overwhelming than it was a few weeks ago.

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