It Happened

This past Sunday I hit a pivotal milestone in my marathon training: my 20 miler!  When my alarm went off on that rainy Sunday morning at 5:45a.m., I rolled over, looked at hubs and said, “I can’t do this.”  Translation? “I don’t want to do this.”  Not the best mindset to be in when you have that long of a distance looming over your head.  He responded with, “You gave birth to our daughter without pain meds.  You can do anything.”  And with that reminder, I got out of bed and got ready to take on 20 miles in the rain.  I debated on skipping out, maybe waiting until the rain stopped but I knew that if I did that, 20 miles would never happen.  Besides, if it’s raining on race day, I will have no other option but to run so I looked at the rain not as an obstacle, but a training tool to better prep me for the marathon.

I headed out the door to the lakefront with coffee in hand and doubts subsided.  When I arrived at the group run, the rain had turned into a light mist, the skies were cloudy and the air was cool.  Absolutely perfect.  {Sidenote: I keep praying every night that the weather is exactly that on October 13th.}

The group director talked a little bit about upcoming fun runs and races, the need for volunteers etc, etc.  After that, he explained to us the route and off we went.  I wasn’t really sure about how this run was going to go.  I didn’t have the highest of expectations to tell you the truth.  The weekend prior, we had drill and instead of doing 12 miles on Saturday (like scheduled), I ran 5 on Friday (something’s better than nothing, right?).  The last long run I had done before this one was 2 weeks prior and that was 17 miles.  After which I thought I was going to die.  I started off feeling really good.  My yurbuds were staying in place, my shorts felt good and I wasn’t too hot in the windbreaker that I was wearing.  I kept this up probably until mile 15, which was when I stopped to walk and stretch a little bit.

I treated this run like I would’ve the marathon.  I chased 3 Endurolytes capsules every hour with some fluids.  The first 1/2 of the training I hydrated with water and the second 1/2 I hydrated with Gatorade.  When I felt a side “stitch” coming on, instead of stopping to walk, I’d adjust my breathing to work the “stitch” out.  Changing my breathing to more abdominal breathing rather than chest breathing really helped with that.  It’s kind of hard to explain how I did it, but it’s a trick I picked up in Runner’s World magazine that really helped.  Between my Spotify playlist and my thoughts, I had a lot to keep my mind occupied on this 20 miler.

I finished the run in 3:45 and my legs.  Oh my legs.  I didn’t get to stretch as much as I wanted to because by the time I was done running, the rain was pouring down and everyone was huddled under the 1 of three tents that were set up.  After I chowed down on Gatorade and watermelon, I made, what was meant to be, a mad dash for my car and headed home.  Shivering in cold wet clothes, I kept thinking about what was waiting for me when I got home.  I was so excited and proud of myself that my 20 miler was behind me.  “Now it’s time to taper and buy some much needed new shoes!!” I thought to myself.  But I knew the worst was still to come.  At a stop light, I texted hubs what I had been dreading: “I’m done running and on my way home…Can you pick me up two bags of ice?”  Ice baths are bad enough on their own.  I did one after my 17 mile run and it wasn’t awful only because it was so hot.  But there is NOTHING worse than running in the cold rain, freezing your ass off in cold, wet clothes for 45 minutes only to hop into a bath full of ice water.  I think I must have lost my damn mind somewhere on that lakefront.  All I could think about was how much I wanted a warm shower and my sweatpants.  When I got home, I went into the bathroom only to be greeted by two big bags of ice.  I put my swimsuit bottoms on, along with a hooded sweatshirt, sipped on some hot green tea and stared at the bathtub.  For the second time in a day I said, “I can’t do this.”  Plain English, no translation.  To which hubs responded with, “You have to.” And I knew he was right {I hate it when that happens}.  If I wanted to be able to walk the next day, I was going to have to sit myself in that cold, cold ice bath.  And so I did.

ice ice baby

It hurt for a few minutes, and in past ice bath experiences, the burning usually goes away and I get used to it.  NOT the case this time around.  I thought my toes were going to fall off.  I sat in there for about 10-15 minutes and right from there, turned the shower as hot as it would go and hopped right in!  Now that felt heavenly!  The verdict, as far as science goes, is still out on whether or not ice baths are effective but you can read more about them {here}.  I feel that they are effective (why else would I put myself through that kind of torture?) but to each their own.

So, 20 miles under my belt with very little pain.  I felt it in my heels on Tuesday morning so I know for sure that it’s definitely time for some new shoes.  I reordered the same ones I’ve been running in and they should be here by next week!  Time to TAPER!  A little less than a month to go 🙂

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