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

Monday, November 14, 2011

Roaring Twenties

Last year at this time I'd done exactly two runs longer than 19 miles. My very first 20 miler and the Chicago Marathon.

As of yesterday, this year I've already done double that amount.

Yesterday I met Kim at the Half Day Forest Preserve about 40 minutes north of my house. We did almost all our long runs prior to Milwaukee on some part of this trail and I knew it would be a good place to do my last 20 miler before Las Vegas.

Considering Kim just ran the New York Marathon last Sunday she definitely wasn't running 20 miles with me. But she was sweet enough to ride her bike alongside while I ran. She warned me she might be out of it since she'd just flown home from New York the afternoon before but if there's anyone out of it on a 20 mile run it's definitely the runner.

I mean, ugh, look at my form!

Anyway, the first 10 miles went by pretty quickly. The only bummer was that they'd turned off the water fountains along the trail and I knew I wasn't carrying enough water and Gatorade to last me 20 miles. The weather was warm and the wind was at our back for the first half. Although the forecast threatened rain it never appeared.

Around mile 7 or so another runner with a cycling buddy passed us. The runner looked REALLY familiar and I think he must have thought the same thing about me. But even though we passed each other again later I never figured out where I knew him from. Probably from one of the almost 30 races I've run so far this year.

I decided to try and walk every 3 miles or so. Due to a flooded section of trail, though, there was a point near mile 3 and near mile 17 that required waiting to cross a pretty major highway. I stopped my watch for those pieces and counted them as walking breaks.

Actually, I remember thinking that mile 13 and 14 seemed REALLY long but that mile 15 and 16 went by in flash. Also, the mile where I almost stepped on a snake went by really quickly, too. Man, I hate snakes. Kim laughs at me. I don't care. They are creepy as hell.

Toward the end of the run I was really starting to struggle. Running out of water and Gatorade was not helping. Kim gave me some off her fuel belt but I could feel the salt drying on my face and I knew I needed more liquids. My stomach was starting to slosh, too, which, paradoxically, means I needed to drink more (at least according to the speaker we had at our October running club meeting). Also, strangely, my bladder felt full which NEVER happens to me on runs.

So, I tried to pick up the pace for the last few miles just to get this run over with. My legs didn't hurt, my knee didn't hurt, but I was just done. I was quite happy when my Garmin beeped 20.

After our run we went to get lunch. "Do you want something to drink?" the cashier asked me.

"Yes." I replied. He stared at me for a moment.

"Uh...what would you like?"

Oops. My brain wasn't quite fully functioning yet.

I am SO thankful that Kim was able to join me for my last crazy long run of the season before Las Vegas. I really don't know what I would do without her.

20 miles w/Kim on bike by snmnstrz21 at Garmin Connect - Details