Sunday, September 19, 2010

Make 20 Your ____

I knocked out my second 20 miler yesterday!!! YEAH!! AND....I shaved 14 MINUTES off from my last 20 mile time!! But still...20 miles ain't no joke.

I've always thought of myself as a person that has had to work hard for everything...nothing ever comes easy. That was certainly the case yesterday as I pounded out my final 20 mile run before the marathon. I shoved off at around 0830...less than 10 minutes after I started I had to make a quick pit stop (I apologize to any passer-byers). But, then I was good to go for another 8 miles or so when I had to make my second pit stop. I used the same route that I had ran a couple of weeks ago...basically, route 9 all the way to my parents' house. But, this time I did things a bit different. I carb'd up on Thursday and some on Friday, and I drank an endurance shake about 2 hours before I started the run. The changes clearly made quite a difference. My legs hurt like crazy, but my stomach and endurance felt pretty good. I had energy throughout the entire run. AND, my hydration team met me at mile 12 for some ice cold drink!!!!! It was a beautiful thing.

Now, back to the whole working hard for everything bit. Even though I felt fairly decent, as already noted, my legs were a'hurtin. My knees were a'hurtin....and my dogs were a'barkin (feet). But, I knew that at around mile 15 or 16 I was going to get some extra motivation, so I pressed on. And so did the rain. Right at mile 15 God decided that the first 2+ hours of my run were too easy, so He opened the clouds and dumped His holy rain on me. Just after mile 16, my motivation the form of high speed, motivated Air Force combat bro! When I saw him, I knew that the rain wouldn't phase me. I knew that it was time to make it happen. So we did it together. We finished the run, soaking wet. We made 20 our b*tch.

And then we celebrated.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Getting the Lead Out

Yesterday's run was off the chain!! I had a great 14 miler in some beautiful felt out-friggin-standing. Okay, so maybe not exactly 'off the chain' material, but it certainly felt like I was getting the lead out. I finished at an 8:47 pace with fuel still left in the tank. It was a great confidence-building run as I'm about to head into my next 20 miler this coming weekend.

There seems to be a point in some of my runs where I can actually feel my feet and legs pushing off of the pavement. Sometimes running just feels like you are dragging your legs along...but this run was different. I could feel a spring in my feet and I could feel my muscles moving me forward. I've missed that feeling!!

Next weekend's run will be interesting. I'll be doing my last super long run before I start to taper down for Chicago. I've decided to run the same (dangerous) route that I did for my last 20 miler. I'm going to run from my house to my parental unit's house, all on Route 9. BUT, my younger bro is in town on leave and he's going to meet me at the 15 mile mark and we are going to finish the run together!!! YEAH!!!!

I've also decided that I'm not eating enough before my long runs. The balance of consuming enough fuel without over-eating is still a challenge for me. But, I certainly consumed some fuel (read: overeating) for a few meals on Friday and Saturday, which may have helped with my run. I'll have to keep this in mind for the upcoming 20 miler and for race day.

Monday, September 6, 2010

20 Something...

That's right. 20 miles. DONE. 20 long, slow, and painful miles. DONE. Check it off, cross it out, chew it up and spit it's finished. I don't want to see it again....well, at least for another 2 weeks when I tackle my next 20 miler.

As of Friday night, I still wasn't sure about my route. But, I finally landed on a destination, the place of dwelling for my parental units. I didn't want to do an out and back, or a 10 mile circle (2xs)....and I figured that running to an actual destination might be a little more motivating. I was right...and I certainly needed some extra motivation.

By mile 10, as I passed through my old hometown, my quads and calves were already a'burnin. But, I remember thinking that a few years ago I never would have thought of 10 miles as being a fairly easy half-way point...crazy. In order to help with the hydration problems I ran into last weekend, I ended up buying a new water bottle with a hand strap. It worked out really well...and it even has a pouch for a Gu! I downed my first Gu at around mile 6. Unfortunately, by about mile 15 I knew I was going to run out of water/Gatorade. I was cool with it though because I thought my hydration team was planning to leave the hydration headquarters a little early to meet me along the route with some fresh hydration. However....there was a slight communication breakdown and the hydration team had no plans of meeting me. But....I kept telling myself that any minute they would pull up along side of me and give me a VERY cold bottle of Gatorade. Just the thought kept me moving...a little. :)

I had another Gu at around the 15 mile mark as I was trying to ration my drink. By mile 18 I was fresh out of the drink and I was hurtin....BAD. The thought of stopping crossed my mind...then I picked up that thought, looked at its ugly face, and spit on it. 2 miles. 2 MILES. Nothing was stopping me. NOTHING.

Before I knew it, I had made it to the parental headquarters. I crawled inside, they made me an ice bath and poured me some chocolate milk. I was good to go.

It was an amazing, and VERY painful run. Those last 2 miles were quite an experience. I'm convinced that you have to be comfortable with reaching a point in your mental and physical state in which you aren't thinking, you aren't seeing, and you aren't are just moving. You have no idea how you are moving, but you are. Somehow, your feet continue to pick themselves up as you reach closer to the finish line. Your brain is no longer in control....something else takes over. I don't know what it is and I don't really know how to explain it. It's an odd experience, yet one that I can't wait to feel again at the next finish line.

20 miles ain't no joke. I come.