So today back in Madison was IM WI, which I was sad to not be volunteering at/watching this year. But here in Boston, I was experiencing my own personal challenge: an 18, possibly 20 mile run. I won't leave you in suspense...I did it!! Actually, 21.2 miles, to be exact...happiness! Joy! Fabulousness! And to be honest...it was absolutely awesome.
I was honestly really, really nervous about this run - maybe because my last 18 miler was so crappy, or because that was like 3 weeks ago...but I kept waking up hours before my alarm this morning like I was freaking out about racing or something. I finally just got up at 7:30 before my alarm and had a Special K bar with some peanut butter and a Hammer Gel...because that was literally the only running-acceptable food in my apartment [yeah, I miiight need to go grocery shopping] and met up with my running buddy at 8:30. And...we were off! We took off at a nice easy pace which I think made all the difference, and being with someone just took my mind off the distance I still had to go and made me just focus on getting there. We looped around by Boston College, went downtown, then crossed the bridge into Cambridge where we ran into some sort of charity walk...going in the opposite direction, obviously. After a little over an hour, we stopped for some Gatorade and Gu [Chocolate Gu tastes like frosting...wow. Best gel I have come across so far, by far] and then...just kept going! Really there isn't much exciting to say about the majority of the run...running...talking...eventually the sun came out and burned off some humidity which was nice...and there really wasn't any point in the first couple hours where I ever really felt tired. Weirdly, I even kind of felt myself picking up the pace a bit around mile 13 or 14. After about 16 miles, we stopped at a Dunkin' Donuts where we asked the guy behind the counter for some water...he never actually said yes, just walked away and returned with 2 big cups of not just water, but ICE water...amazing!
So then...we just kept going! By the time we got back to my house, ~17 miles, I had put a pretty good distance on my running buddy, and so we just kind of went our separate ways at that point. At the time, I thought I had to run 4 more miles to make it 20, and it was just kind of like...huh...why not...feelin' pretty good....let's do this! Of course, the last half hour of the run was like...HARD. As in, I definitely started regretting my decision to pound out the extra 4 miles, especially when I realized that after I turned around, my last mile was going to be up a giant hill...rockin'. But I just kept going. And eventually, there I was at the top of the hill. I had been running for a little over 3 hours. And there it was - I did it! I ran over 20 miles.
I hurt. I bought a Slurpee and ate some leftover gumbo, which was possibly the most delicious thing I've ever eaten. I've been totally ravenous the rest of the day [though I guess that's not much of a change from ordinary me haha] But I still kind of couldn't believe it when I mapped the distance and it was not 20+ miles, but 21+ miles! All along I kind of thought that was what it might end up as, based on my estimate of the pace...but still. Only 5 more miles, and that's a MARATHON! And it's like suddenly, my entire outlook on everything has changed.
The reason I don't have a super long-winded summary of this run is because...well...honestly, it wasn't that thrilling! I really never was particularly tired, besides the last 15 minutes. Legs, lungs, everything felt good throughout, but I think the most important thing I found is that despite getting psyched out before starting the run, once I was out there I didn't even give a second thought to how long/far I was running...I just...went. And now it's like...wow, I CAN do this. And I can do it reasonably well. I averaged 8:45 pace, which in my eyes is damn good if my super-crazy-insane-unlikely-best case scenario race pace is only 20 sec/mile slower. While the run didn't seem that mind blowing while I was in it, the aftermath is that now I really feel confident, 5 weeks out from this marathon, that when I start to doubt myself and the question bubbles up in my mind of "Can really I do this?" the answer should undoubtably be yes, yes, and yes.
And, related to the longest run of my life...I HIT 60 MILES THIS WEEK!! Did I ever think this would happen, like, in my life? Not at all. Then again, I guess until pretty recently running a marathon wasn't under consideration so...yeah. But I guess Boston is having a positive effect on me, since I've run more in my first week here than in any other week of my life...rock on.
Monday: off [planned]
Tuesday: 10.9 easy [7:53 pace]
Wednesday: 7.85 easy [7:43 pace]
Thursday: 6.5 easy [7:31 pace]
Friday: 9.75 w/ 4.75 fartlek - 5 minutes 10K pace/5 minutes easy [forgot my watch, because I fail]
Saturday: 4.2 easy [7:40 pace]
Sunday: 21.2 long [8:45 pace]
Total miles: 60.4 [ding ding ding ding!!! we have a winner!!]
Days off: 1
I don't even know...I'm so pumped about this week. I'm also very, very, VERY pumped for my planned day off tomorrow. :)