20 Miles

This past week was just logging miles–no speedwork. I had easy days Tuesday and Thursday, and a 9-miler on Wednesday at 9:20 pace (where my marathon pace could potentially be.) The 9 ended up being a very hilly 10 (route-planning FAIL on Jeff’s part!) but it felt great and the pace ended up at 9:10, so bonus!

My knee started to give me grief during my slow run Thursday, and progressively got worse during the day. Fortunately I already had Friday off, so hopefully the rest did it some good. I still did my long run Saturday, because I had a friend’s bachelorette party Saturday night and wanted to be able to stay up late/eat & drink whatever without worrying about it sabotaging my run. Maybe a silly reason, but that’s what I did.

I started out at 6:30 Saturday morning with Megan, who kindly offered to run the first 10 with me. I planned an out-and-back route that started right at home, with 5 miles on residential streets, and 5 on the bike path. I think I’ll use this one again.

I did end up wearing my fuel belt (even though I HATE it) but only put two bottles in and then switched them out for full ones that I had waiting at Megan’s car when we got to her endpoint. I definitely appreciated having less weight to lug around. I did a bottle each of water and Gatorade Endurance in lemon lime (what they’re serving on the course in Philly!) and took sport beans every 2-3 miles. I actually ate real food for breakfast too (I usually just have a couple Clif Shot Bloks or something like that) and I think that definitely had a positive impact. I had (amost!) 2 pieces of toast with peanut butter–I just don’t have much of an appetite before a run I guess.

Goal pace for this one was 9:30. My personal goals included running a negative split, not having a mental breakdown, and not throwing up.

Having Megan along for part of the run really helped break it up. The first 10 miles flew by and we chatted away about everything and nothing. We managed to stay fairly steady too:

1 9:25
2 9:34
3 9:48 (not paying attention I guess?)
4 9:21
5 9:26
6 9:30
7 9:27
8 9:36
9 9:33
10 9:34

Average pace for the first 10 was 9:31. We got to Megan’s car and I switched out my bottles, flipped on my iPod, and headed back where I came from. This was actually the first time I had run alone in almost 2 weeks, and I suddenly got really giddy about it. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE having someone to run with–especially at 5 am on a weekday–but it felt really good to just do my own thing. Anyways, like I said, I got a little excited:

11 9:10
12 9:03

I just happened to look at my watch when that 9:03 split popped up and knew I needed to slow it down or I’d die before I got to 20.

13 9:29
14 9:36
15 9:36

In 14 I maybe got a little intimidated for a bit there, looking at how long I had been running and knowing I still had like an hour left. I got over it pretty quickly though, and just kept telling myself to focus on this mile. Is it Ryan Hall’s quote about running the mile you’re in? I repeat that one to myself A LOT.

At 15 I came off the bike trail and back onto the streets that I run on almost every day. I actually hadn’t run any of my usual routes this past week though since I’d been running with Jeff, so it was kind of wonderful to be on familiar ground. I decided to see if I could make 16 a little faster since my last 2 were a little slow.

16 9:29

It was nice to see that I still had control of my legs. That certainly wasn’t the case at this point in the 18-miler. Mile 17 ended up a little slower, partly because it had a fairly sucky hill in it, and partly because I just assumed it was time to start fading and let it happen.

17 9:39

I saw that split come across my Garmin and decided I didn’t want to see that number get any closer to 10. I made another snap goal here: no 10-minute miles. None. I told myself the next mile needed to be  a little faster, and BAM! It was! Still in control!

18 9:31

When I got to 18 I decided it was time to make the pace uncomfortable, but not all-out. I saw the numbers start to come down on my Garmin and I knew I was going to finish strong.

19 9:18

Huge confidence boost to see that number. When I hit 19, my knee was definitely feeling it and my feet actually started to feel kind of sore/tired too. I turned up my iPod, picked up the pace, and tried to hold on for dear life. (This last mile was uphill. Slow and gradual, but basically a mile uphill. Whoops.)

20 9:06 Hell yes!

I almost cried when I stopped I was SO happy. After the way that 18-miler was so tough mentally, and then the puking at last weekend’s race, I needed a run like this. I needed to know that running a marathon is something I can do.

Final average pace was 9:28…hello there, negative split! Goals attained!

Now that I’ve run this distance, it’s time to start thinking about the pace I’ll try to run in Philly. I really think I could go faster–especially without my knee bothering me and on a flat course. But we’ll see.

Unfortunately, my knee is visibly swollen today and clearly not happy with me, so I’m icing a lot and probably taking tomorrow off–maybe the next day too? I hate the idea of time off, but I’m not stupid. I’ll do it if I need to.

34 days until Philadelphia!

Happy running.

1 Response to “20 Miles”


  1. 1 amyreinink October 19, 2009 at 9:10 am

    What a wonderful long run! And now that you’ve got your 20 down in the training log, you KNOW you can do this marathon (or at least that’s what I tell myself post-20!)! Congrats on a well-planned, evenly paced run. Use that as a reminder that you can run the same kind of race in Philly!


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