On the heels of my (our) first 20 mile paved trail run I decided it was a good time to make an introduction, as a soon to be occasional contributor to this blog. Having accompanied Trex (my Running Husband, not to be confused with my Dear Husband) on a good number of the runs documented on this blog I suppose it is only fitting that you hear the other side of the story, or at least another perspective.
First and foremost I am a #runner. I am very much an athlete, having run, swam, and even played Roller Derby; but I find I have returned most often to running, probably for the practicality of it. This past year I have once again fallen in love with running as an outlet and inlet for my mind and body. Yes yes I am one of those people.
I, unlike Trex, actually enjoy running (while running). Yes, physically it is very hard, and my brain and body offer up the normal responses to tell me ‘This sucks! You really really should just give up right now’; but I find enjoyment in the physical mental process to conquer my own version(s) of the Blerch or LAD – whom I haven’t yet named, so stay tuned.
I struggle, like every other human on the planet, with motivation and discipline issues, and what I have found, repeatedly now, is that finding a running partner (like Trex) has been exceptionally beneficial to overcoming my personal tendency to stray from the (running) path. While I do occasionally enjoy solo running and the benefits of this, over the course of my life I have always had companions to run with and just feel it is way more fun if it is a shared experience. Yes I did in fact call running fun, a fundamental difference between myself and the Trex–we generally don’t much agree on much, and certainly don’t agree on the definition of what we find to be fun. But nonetheless I appreciate the company so I don’t complain–much.
Now about our first 20 mile run….
I am not going to lie, it was hard. I mean really effing hard. The kind of hard that, for me personally, I would rank up there with child birth in terms of the mental fortitude required to keep moving once my body had hit it’s physical limits. And to toot my own horn, I have had two children at home without the assistance of drugs to numb the pain, so I have earned the right to make that comparison.
Since the 20-mile run is an achievement milestone on the journey to a marathon, as it is for most runners on that path, I fully expected it to be it’s own challenge. Being the longest distance we will run before the Full, it was a good test to see how we would hold up at our planned marathon pace. In short I feel we passed the test, but not easily, and not without sweat and (for me) tears (at the end, when Trex wasn’t there to see).
Since Trex handled the technicalities, having already crunched the numbers and tallied our distances and times and projected how we can make our planned times at LR, that leaves the feels to me…. As I already said this was effing hard, but it was also a lot of fun….right up until that last couple of miles, and even then I enjoyed being done. We managed to keep our spirits high and the energy positive, and I am super proud of this run and what we accomplished.
- The weather held, not too unbearably cold.
- Mentally I think I (we) was (were) in a good place for this run having completed the 30K the weekend before.
- I feel I (we) gained extremely valuable insight into pushing through walls.
- We stuck to the workout schedule we built with some flexibility and managed to maintain a good run/walk pace.
- Good Carb/caffeine fuel intake during run keep energy and mental strengths in the green.
- Escalante’s first long run performed well, no dead toenails or blisters. Super comfy on my feet.
- Overcame the physical wall between mile 18-20 to finish on pace target.
- Too much food at rest stop.
- Not sure if Escalantes will be cushion enough for my joints through 26.2 miles. Leaves me to debate on what to wear.
- Encountered pre-cramping at mile 18-20. Made it difficult to stay positive.
- Physically felt spent at mile 19-20, did NOT feel I could have run even one more tenth of a mile past 20. This has left room for doubt about how the hell I will manage to run 6 more miles.
Lessons learned: (The hard way)
- Check your watches the day before to make sure you remembered to sync your workouts
- Don’t overeat or drink too much at the break stops… molasses cookies, and fig newtons are a weakness.
- Charge/check HR belts
- Don’t linger too long at stops.. It causes muscles to lock up and you eat too much.
- Don’t over tighten laces and or use straight laces. After the fact I have Extensor Tendinitis in my right foot thanks to my pulling the laces too tight when my shoe came untied. This injury is still bothering me 5 days later and probably needs another day or so to be completely healed.
All in all, as I said, I feel like we achieved this milestone with flying colors, but there is a niggling feeling of doubt planted in my brain that I am going to have to wiggle loose and dislodge in order to be mentally ready for 6.2 more miles. But I am fully prepared to give it my all and try like hell to finish the next milestone on this journey for the sheer fact that I am stubborn and strong willed and hate to lose (even to myself). Type A all the way