A story of going from being a non-runner to planning for a marathon in three years...

Monday, August 22, 2011

Three and Twenty

When I looked at my total mileage for last week I realized that if I wanted to keep going with the 10% increase thing I was going to either need to add in another day of running or run 20 miles on Saturday.

Since my schedule was such that squeezing in another short run during the week was probably not going to happen, I decided I'd try for my first 20 miler of the season on Saturday.

Thankfully I had company!

Kim, Claudia (from the Oak Park Runners Club) and I were doing a triathlon relay on Sunday so we had to go up to Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin on Saturday to pick up our packets. We all had to do long runs, too, so we figured we'd do it together on Saturday. Kim directed us to the trail head of the Des Plaines River Trail. At first we weren't sure we were going to be able to run. Rain and thunderstorms followed us most of the morning. And having run my first 20 miler in less-than-stellar weather I wasn't looking forward to doing it again.

Thankfully the storms cleared up right as we stepped onto the trail. We also counted ourselves lucky that the air temperature was cooperating. Starting a long run at 11:00 AM in August is dicey but we tempted fate. Overcast and upper 60s/low 70s? Fine by me.

Claudia and Kim only planned to do 16 miles so we did an out-and-back on the trail. We took 1 minute walk breaks every 2 miles and I was feeling pretty good. Shortly before mile 8 I was running along, minding my own business, when Kim said, "Oooh, look! A snake!"

Cue my screaming.

I hate snakes. Even 12 inch long garter snakes.

I tiptoed around the snake and practically sprinted to the 8 mile marker. I was REALLY apprehensive about going back the way I just came but thankfully the snake had moved on to wherever it is that snakes go when they're not laying in the middle of trails.

Between miles 11 and 12 we took a short detour to a gas station to refill our water bottles. I took a caffeinated strawberry Clif Shot Energy Gel to supplement the non-caffeinated Clif Shot Bloks I'd been taking every two miles. It was surprisingly tasty! Unfortunately, I don't think my tummy liked it so much since I started having some GI issues toward the end of the run. Good to know.

Other than having to make a restroom pit stop when we finished the 16 miles, I felt pretty strong. I knew I had it in me to do another 4 miles. So while I used the facilities Kim and Claudia hopped on bikes so they could keep me company on the last bit of my run.

I finished my 20 feeling strong but tired. I was really glad Claudia and Kim were there and that Kim was entertaining us by using her phone to play upbeat music. Amazingly, nothing hurt post-run. My knees felt okay. My hip felt fine. My quads were tired but not painful. My GI tract was still mad at it me but it wasn't anything one more trip to the bathroom and some Immodium couldn't fix.

I plan to do another 20 miler in a few weeks but I'm thrilled to have already done this one. It's such a confidence booster to have a good 20 mile run and I'm thrilled I was able to share it with my friends.

20 Miles with Kim & Claudia by snmnstrz21 at Garmin Connect - Details