I woke up on Sunday feeling like crap...lightheaded, sick to my stomach, exhausted...UGH. I wasn't feverish or anything, but a 20 mile run just wasn't in the cards. So after essentially sleeping the entire day, I woke up on Monday feeling a million times better and ready to conquer my 20 miler...solo.
I wasn't very excited about going it alone - after how amazing my run went last week, it was just like...ahhh...3 hours running by myself...this is going to suck. I mapped out a route and was really excited about it - it was going to go through the arboretum and Franklin Park, two places I've wanted to check out but haven't been yet. I threw some Dane Cook on my ipod [hey, it's LIKE someone's talking to me!] but that lasted about 20 minutes before I realized that jokes about shitting on the coats just weren't the motivation I needed for 20 miles. So I cued up my long run mix, starting off with the version of "Don't Stop Believin'" from Glee [love, love, LOVE that show!] which immediately got me feeling better. And things were going great...until about 6 miles in when I realized...something didn't seem right. I was supposed to be near the arboretum, or so I thought, and I seemed to be running through downtown Jamaica Plain...damn. Lost...AGAIN. I swear, I am the worst at looking up a route on mapmyrun and somehow managing to screw it up. [When I got home, I figured out what I did wrong - this road called the Arborway turns into Centre Street...well I got confused when I saw a Centre Street and turned there instead...thus going back in the opposite direction...because I'm a genius].
Anyway, I eventually found my way back to the Jamaicaway, which is like a 4 mile loop around a few parks/ponds and I was like....you know what? I'm just going to run around this loop a few times, because I already messed up my route and I don't feel like getting lost again, and I know I need to run for about 3 hours, so that's what I'll do. I had stopped at a 7-11 and bought a Gatorade, which I stashed in some bushes so I could grab some on each loop - AMAZING idea, it was really motivational to be like "only 10 more minutes, then you get Gatorade! Oooh...Gatorade.." After my first loop after finding my way back to this area, I was at about 1:25 so I took my gel...Expresso Love Gu...seriously...I LOVE GU. The expresso one tasted like I was eating a frappuchino. I seriously will never go back to the Powerbar Gel...which I literally had to throw in the back of my mouth and wash down with water to even get it down. Plus, the Gu packet is really conveniently shaped and small enough to fit in my shorts pocket, which is amazing, because gel + sports bra = chafage...ouch!
On and on and on...I kept on truckin'. I really wouldn't say the run ever felt easy/good...and I discovered why later when I looked at my average pace. One side of the loop was mostly uphill while the other side was mostly downhill, so I definitely found myself picking it up on that side. As far as places to run several loops around, this was really nice -mostly shaded, running by a big pond and through some woods, lots of interesting people/dog watching...it was pleasant....well, as pleasant as life can be when you've been running for that long. I saw some swans and some turtles and got hissed at by some geese [actually at one point I had to run through a large pack of geese which was a little frightening haha]. I had a woman who was standing in the middle of the path literally SPRINT off to the side when she saw me coming which kind of made me laugh...as if I was just going to mow her down haha. Saw some speedy looking shirtless guys who, for a split second, looked like 3 WTC guys [seriously, that sort of thing always happens to me when I move to a new place!]. Watching the sights kept me entertained, my playlist kept me in good spirits...overall, things were feeling pretty good...and then came the 2:30 mark.
And suddenly, the thought that came to my mind was "I am in an abyss of pain". It was just like...waaaah all systems are shutting down! I think if I my legs and my mind could have had a conversation at that point, it would have gone something like this:
Legs: Mayday! Mayday! We canNOT do this anymore!
Mind: But...come on guys...seriously? You only have a half hour left. That is REALLY not far. That is like, a really short run. We're even done running that loop you've been running for the past 2 hours. You don't have to worry about stepping in goose poop anymore. Come on!
Legs: Yeah you do realize this has been going on for 2.5 hours, right? And that the rest of the way home is UPHILL? Are you insane?
Mind: No, seriously. I am not letting you stop. I really don't even care about how much pain you're in. You can sit down when we get home. I'll even put on Don't Stop Believin' on repeat for the rest of the way.
Legs: Ugggh, fine. Just don't blame us for how crappy you're going to feel tomorrow.
And so, with Don't Stop Believin' at full blast, I continued on. I stopped a couple of times just to stretch/regroup a little bit, but for the most part I kept going, even up the HUGE hill that leads up to my apartment. Arms pumping, legs churning, headphones screaming "DON'T STOP BELIEVIN'....HOLD ON TO THAT FEELIN'" [it's my theme song...of running, of marathon training, and of life :)]...I finally slammed my watch at 3:01:24. I was doooone!
So I figured that 3 hours would be ~20 miles, right? Uh, wrong. Try 22 miles. OK, well, THAT explains a lot. I just averaged 30 seconds per mile faster than my long run last week. This is what happens when I run by myself! I have no concept of how fast I'm going, ever. So, run stats? 22.0 miles on the dot, 30:24, 8:15 pace!! What what! It's funny because during this run, I was not feeling the confidence that things were going well at all. In retrospect however, that's pretty effing ridiculous, and I'm really pleased that I was able to knock it out, especially by myself.
For some reason I am still going to put myself through the torture of a track workout tonight. Really, I can't even explain why I would ever do this. I'm sure it's going to be terribly unpleasant and I once again won't even come close to finishing the whole workout [10 x 1000 at current 5K pace...that might be the funniest thing I've ever heard. I will be one of the "slow" runners sticking to 800s, thankyouverymuch] But whatever. After yesterday's run/this past week of running, I'm really feeling excited, as opposed to terrified, about this marathon for the first time. And with less than a month to go, I definitely think that's a good thing!