Well I can finally say I tackled the 26 mile run!!!
I woke up at 445 am this morning to muster out of bed and get going with my pre long run am routine. It involves getting geared up, stretching, eating and drinking. I tried to keep things simple and had a Luna protein bar and some water. I also had a hammer gel just before heading out the door. This routine seemed to work well and I was not hungry for a long time.
Heading out this morning into the darkness was tough. It was chilly but I had to wear shorts and a tech t shirt because the weather was calling for heat and I knew in about 30 minutes I would be hot from running anyways. So I sucked it up and froze for the first 2 miles.
About those first few miles. They sucked. Like I had to embrace the suck as many say, and I embraced it and I forced it to be done. I do not know why it was so hard to get into my groove, maybe it was the darkness, maybe it was my body not into a natural running rhythm... I think the biggest problem is the mental road block. When you start out looking at a run that is going to carry you into the late morning, and 26 miles it is daunting. So starting out I let it get the best of me, I let my mind win and for those first 3 miles I began doubting myself and this run. I started to consider going home. I Started to think I did not deserve to be out there...
I took out my latte Hammer gel (I needed caffeine) and took it with some water after finishing up mile 3. I told myself that I did not spend the last 4 months working hard for nothing. I reminded myself that I was here for a purpose. That more than anything I deserved to run a marathon and have my day of glory. And even though I was out there alone and feeling like I was climbing a never ending mountain, that people were counting on me to get this done and be successful. I thought about my daughter tucked at home sleeping and hoping she would be proud of me. I thought about my niece who would be running around when I made my pit stop at my sister's house to refuel at 10.5 miles.
I had to keep going, I had to suck it up and get over this hurdle. And I cranked up my music and kept going. By mile 4 I was feeling better and the sky was turning pink. I realized how lucky I was, I got to see the sunrise thanks to running. Before I started running I do not think I ever stopped and took the time to appreciate the sun rising. Now I get to see it happen all the time and it never ceases to amaze me. I kept going and around mile 6 I took a few shot blocks and nuun. I kept going. I was starting to feel good. Those first few miles were roughest and slowest. I am guessing about 11-12 minutes per mile. I felt like I was crawling hehe but I kept reminding myself that the training plan I was following called for EASY 26 miler. I do not know what is easy about 26 miles but that is what it says hehe
By mile 8 I was settled into a groove. I moved up my pace to my steady favorite training of 10ish minutes per mile. At that pace I feel happy, and running is not work it is fun. I got to my sisters house in under 2 hours and felt great. She was awake and my niece was waking up too. It felt good to give her a big hug and have them there filling my bottles and worried about me :) Her boyfriend came in and said wow you do not even look tired... hehe I really wasn't at that point! I thought about it and was feeling great.
I headed out to do 4 more miles around her house. I figured I could relax a bit and not carry all my fuel, then pee one more time and head home for the final 11.5 miles. It proved to be a great plan accept for one thing. My sister lives in the hilliest town ever haha. But it was a beautiful run. I ran around Sharon State park and snapped a few pictures!
I also snapped a pic of myself. This was half way through the run :)
No judging please haha!!
I kept going and feeling ok. I got back to my sister's house in 38 minutes. A pretty quick pace considering I tackled some of the toughest hills I have seen ever! I wish I could figure out the elevations of this run because those hills sucked. i peed one more time and filled all my bottles up, got my good luck hugs from my niece and headed home! It was cute she was looking for my car ;)
I was feeling good, in fact the further I went the better I felt. It was almost like once I got through the first half of the run things went well. I kept going and every 3 miles I took some shot blocks. You know meeting Meredith Kessler was one of the greatest things that could have happened to me earlier in the week! She gave me some great advice and I utilized it all on this run. I took in more fuel and I felt strong through my run.
I stopped at Dunkin Donuts at mile 20 and peed one more time. By now it was blazing hot outside so I refilled my water bottles with some water and headed back out. I felt good physically and mentally. It began to hit me that I was going to finish this beast of a run strong and faster than I had hoped. I held onto a steady 9 min/mile pace because it just felt great.
People may have looked at me funny but at mile 23 I was singing at the top of my lungs. I could not help it at that point I just felt amazing and like I was accomplished. I knew I was almost home and almost done with my second to last long run before my marathon :) I started to feel tingly around mile 24 so I took my last 2 shot block chews and continued going. It helped and the feeling went away and I kept up my steady pace all the way home!
And that was it!!!! I made it home in 4 hours and 29 minutes! :) I felt great I was grinning from ear to ear and I walked around for the next 15 minutes. I did not feel like I was going to pass out, I did not feel like I was going to die hehe Nope in fact I felt good. Finally victory was mine!
I stetched out and then soaked in a cool epsom salt bath for about 40 minutes. Then of course I wrapped my legs in Arctic Ease! Nothing helps me recover better than that!
I feel amazing, I hope to carry this runners high with me for the next few weeks until the end of the month when I do my final long run before my marathon! Just 42 days to go!!!
How was your weekend?