Week 15, Round two

Saturday was a big day for me.  I knew that day would arrive quicker than anticipated and I knew it’d be somewhat of a determining factor–especially for my confidence going into the race.
Training for a marathon takes time and dedication.  And good running shoes.  But mostly, just time and dedication. Most training programs are 18-week programs, and two days ago was the end of my 15th week for the second time in my life.  Meaning, race day is less than three weeks away…..!
A couple posts ago I talked about how everything inside of me did not want to go for a run that day.  In the end, I ended up running the needed distance and was incredibly grateful I did.  One reason that particular run was so important was because whether I completed it or not would determine my ability to complete the long run on Saturday.  I was also sick and unable to run the week prior so I knew time to ‘get my runs in’ before race day was quickly diminishing–especially if I wanted to decrease my risk of injury from training too hard, too fast.

Saturday morning came.  I woke up, ate a bagel with cream cheese, and got my ‘gear’ ready for my run while waiting for my food to settle.  I was preparing myself to run 20 miles, which was expected to take me 3 hours and 10 minutes, roughly.  For the run, I needed to wear a fuel belt.  The picture to the right is me and one of my friends running a half-marathon.  Looking back, we probably didn’t need to wear our belts for that race…oh well.  If you can see, there is a small pouch in the center and two containers on either side.  For my Saturday run, one container was filled with water, the other with gatorade.  The tiny pouch was beyond ‘stuffed to the brim’ with my phone {in case of emergency}, PowerBar energy blasts,  and one Gu gel packet {the other 3 Gu gel packs were stuffed in my sportsbra}.

I was so nervous, but excited.  To minimize insecurity and doubt for my upcoming marathon, I needed to finish this run, and preferably well.
I wasn’t in the mood to run ‘out and back’ this day–I needed some sort of loop.  So I found the loop of the half-marathon {pictured above} online and added an extra loop at the end to come up with the needed miles.
My ipod was in my armband and I headed out.  I decided to not start off running to music, I needed to have a controlled, even pace and I wanted to soak up my surroundings–I was about to run through the back country of Eastern Idaho and I wanted to enjoy it.
It’s an incredible thing to focus on your breathing, the sound of your shoes hitting the pavement, the wind, the occasional diesel truck or farm equipment drive by, cows mooing, and dogs barking.  I was so caught up in my surroundings and how my body felt, I didn’t end up ever listening to my ipod the entire run.
I ate my energy blasts and Gu gels on schedule: at mile 5, 10, and 16.  If I ever strongly believed in Gu gels, it was after this run.  I took the gels just before my body and muscles craved them and was glad I did.
I only take my phone on long runs when I wear my fuel belt, but I’d never taken pictures.  This time it was so pretty I couldn’t help it, and it only took a few seconds anyway.
When I realized I was only a few miles from home, I couldn’t believe it.  I was elated, and not necessarily for the reasons you would think.  Of course I was ecstatic because I was about to finish my 20-mile run and be able to eat, but more-so because I felt so good!  To my surprise, I didn’t feel dead and utterly exhausted.  On the contrary, I felt like I could keep running.  I was on the biggest runner’s high and I didn’t want it to end.  Then for the first time in my training these last few weeks, I felt ready for March 3rd to grace me with it’s presence.  The icing on the cake was when I looked at my watch and saw that I had run not 20 miles, but 21.
The only thing that could have made the experience that much better would have been to come home to my husband saying “I’m so proud of you!  I knew you could do it!” while giving me a big hug, despite the fact that I had dried, salty sweat all over my face and wreaked of someone who’d been sweating for over 3 hours straight.  But, since he was still in Reno, my dog sufficed.  And she was probably just as excited as he would’ve been because she got to lick my sweaty arms and legs while I stretched {what is it with dogs loving sweat?!}.  Gross.
Besides feeling hungry and sweaty when I got home, the only real pain I had was from the blisters I felt forming and rubbing in my shoes during my run.  I learned by about mile 11 that it was definitely time for new shoes, and quick.
If you haven’t believed in yourself and in your ability to do more than you thought possible, start believing.  I know we can accomplish anything we’re willing to put the time and effort into.  Sure it’ll be hard, but man alive will it be worth it.  So give it a shot and test it out.  You got this.

4 thoughts on “Week 15, Round two

  1. Aw-now you make me wanna run again… even if I live in the ugliest city in the entire world and there is nowhere worth running to! Congrats on such a good run!I love gu's! I know a girl who refuses to eat/drink during a marathon because she thinks it will slow her down. Ihope her organs forgive her later for what she puts them through when starving them! ah!

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