But I'm looking on the bright side, I ran 20 flippin miles, all by myself, never stopped to walk one time, and I did it faster than I could have ever run in the past. 20 miles is the farthest I have ever run without stopping. In my first marathon I had to start walk/running at around mile 16ish I think (it was 10 years ago, gimme a break, I can't remember for sure). So aside from my legs protesting, my GI system hating me, and my poor feet aching, I'm quite pleased with my first 20 miler in preparation for my upcoming marathon. I have another 20+ miler planned for March 30th, thankfully this time I'll have my awesome hubby and sis riding along on road bikes to keep me company as we utilize a local bike/running path to get the job done.
For those of you interested in the misery that comes along with a 20 miler, or those of you who can easily relate, let me break it down for you.
I ran all over my home town and the neighboring town, ran more hills than I would prefer and had to repeat loops over and over to get it done because the area we live in is rather small as far as safe running roads go. Look at those hills! Especially between miles 2-4 and again right after the 8 mile mark. Whew. My legs hated me! Quite thankful that in our planning we chose a flat course! Our marathon will have two real hills per the course elevation, yay!
Now onto the mile splits and the complaining...
Mile 1: Feeling great, this is going to be a good run, 8:07, that's way too fast for 20 miles. I have 19 more to go! Slow it down a little, come on, don't burn yourself out in the first mile
Mile 2: 8:36, that's better, try to keep it right around there.
Mile 3: Oh shit, here comes that horrible hill. Well just try to maintain effort and don't worry about pace. 8:44, not too bad for conquering that hill. Keep it up, the hills not done yet!
Mile 4: Ugh, will this hill ever end?! It's getting hot, gotta take these arm warmers off, stuff them in my waist band. Can't wait for mile 6 for refueling, must conserve Gu and water. 8:41, not bad, keep it up.
Mile 5: This is miserable. I'm only 1/4 of the way done, seriously? I hate this, why did I do a long run today. It's too hot. 8:45.
Mile 6: Okay I guess I'm not going to die. Finish this mile and I can take my first Gu and drink some water finally. 8:43, I'll take that.
Mile 7: The people in cars are staring at me like I'm nuts, I am nuts. Why am I out here in this heat? It's 70 degrees by now, my body is used to 20-30 degree long runs. I may very well collapse from heat exhaustion, not even half way done. Off with the shirt, please stare some more people. Yes I'm running in a sports bra and shorts mid-March, it's like a sauna out here! 9:09, crap!
Mile 8: Can't let that happen again, no more 9 minute miles, keep it under 9. You can do this Jessy. You have to do this. 8:40, okay that's better. You rock. Don't give up.
Mile 9: I was wrong, I don't rock. I suck. my legs are rebelling, no more hills please. I can't believe I have 11 more miles to go. 9:12, suck suck suck.
Mile 10: On with the down hill. Try to make up some time. Gosh my legs hurt. It's harder going down hill than uphill on these tired legs! Ow ow ow. 8:24, okay I'll take that. That makes up for the last mile that sucked. Half way done, woohoo!
Mile 11: More crap. I feel like crap, my legs are crap, my time is crap. Thank goodness I'm atleast half way done with this crap. 9:15.
Mile 12: More of the same, my mind is now on auto-pilot. This run sucks, I just have to accept these awful mile splits and get used to 9 minute pace. Why did I think I could qualify for Boston? All I want to do is finish, screw 3:35! 9:13, I hate you Garmin.
Mile 13: As much as I hate this, I feel a little better all of a sudden. Another Gu taken, one water bottle empty, working on drinking bottle #2. 8:38. Okay maybe I can keep this up. 7 miles to go.
Mile 14: Nope, nope, nope. What was I thinking, all I can do is survive the rest of this run. Picking up the pace isn't an option. 9:26, ugh.
Mile 15: 3/4 of the way done, Hallelujah! I can do this, the end is near. I can survive 5 more miles. 9:09.
Mile 16: My water is all gone and I have 4 more miles to go. I'm going to sweat to death. Dripping in sweat, no water and 30+ more minutes of this hell. Must refill water bottles! I'll run home and fill up at the garden hose. Oh no, huge hill to get to my house, legs don't fail me now. 10:12, I don't even care, please just give me water!
Mile 17: Okay Jessy, pick it up. 4 miles. You do this all the time. Quit being such a wimp. Quit complaining so much. You chose this, you are tough. You can do this. 8:26, holy cow, that was awesome.
Mile 18: Approaching my previous longest long run finish line, but I have to keep going. I said I was doing 20, I'm not quitting. 8:44, I'll take it.
Mile 19: It's so hot! Water bottle #1 is already empty again from drinking and dumping it over my head. Little girl and her momma stand at the end of their driveway jumping up and down and cheer for me to keep going. What a boost that was. I smile and say thank you, shocked that my face still knows how to smile at this point. I will keep going, thank you! :) My legs don't want to move but I make them. I think of Josee and convince myself to keep going. Josee Hope, Josee Hope, Josee Hope. My new mantra with every step. 8:31, I rock.
Mile 20: Last mile, suck it up and run. Don't wimp out. I'm about to finish the longest run of my life. I can't wait to be done! Legs are on fire, feet are aching in exhaustion, dripping in sweat, water is gone again, no one around to cheer me on now, must finish. Josee Hope, Josee Hope, Josee Hope. My watch beeps for the 20th time: 8:08! Whew!
I can't believe I survived 20 miles. A year ago I was running a couple miles at a time trying to revive my previous passion for running. Now I'm out running for 2 hours, 56 minutes and 51 seconds, all for "fun". :)
Afterwards I took an ice bath to help my legs recover, and wore compression socks and compression shorts for 24 hours. My legs felt totally fine the next day! 3 days of rest afterwards because I needed it for sure! Prior to that I had run 18.35 miles, 4 miles, 13 miles, 4 miles and then 20 miles, all in the last 6 days, my legs needed rest. Today I'll get back at it. I'm already prepping for my 20 miler next week. What can I say, I'm a runner, you already knew I was crazy. :)