Training Run: 20 miles!

Holy hell!  I ran 20 freaking miles this past Saturday!!

Screen shot 2013-11-14 at 10.42.54 AM

The days leading up to this long run were nerve racking.  I was so afraid that I would not make it through, I wasn’t sure if I was adequately prepared.  My previous long run was two weeks prior and it was supposed to have been for 17 miles.

I never did the 17 miles though—I competed in the Empire State Half Marathon instead, but didn’t have energy left at the end to tack on the extra 4 miles.  I could only hope that the level of exertion I put forth was enough to cover the missed mileage.

Well, I guess it worked!  I was able to run the full 20 miles without a walking break.  There were many times that I wanted to stop and walk, but I kept reminding myself that runs with walk breaks are more stressful for me and that I wouldn’t have the same stamina.

The major difference for this long run was that it was much colder outside–I wasn’t facing 88 degree heat like I had for my 15 miler in October (seriously 88 degrees in October WTH!?).  I woke up at the crack of dawn stomached my first gel and was out the door by 5:30am.

It was dark and cold (in the 40’s), but I made sure to wear bright and warm clothing.  I also decided against the camel pack this time around–I wasn’t impressed with it during my last long run because it was quite cumbersome.  I wore my new large water bottle fuel belt (packed with 3 Clif Energy Gels) and it was sufficient enough to sustain me through the run.  I decided to take a gel every 5 miles and to take water as needed.

I definitely noticed a difference in performance soon after each shot and despite them being super thick and ridiculously sweet they were instrumental to my performance.  I def plan on purchasing more for my next long runs.

The hardest part of my run was mile 17, I really slowed at this point and felt that I needed a walk break.  It took every ounce of mental strength to keep pushing forward.  I needed to remind myself that I only had 3 miles left and that 3 miles was nothing.  If I gave up then it would have been ridiculous and I would have been mad at myself for getting so close.  I kept repeating the mantra “this is when the real workout starts..”

Soon enough I hit mile 18, then 19 and I used every last bit of energy to “sprint” through that last mile.  I was so excited to hear the 20 mile prompt and had such a great feeling of elation.  The downside was that I was spent, I didn’t want to move.  My feet ached and my legs felt like jelly and I was still a mile from home.  I walked it out for a quarter-mile and called my husband for a ride, but he was occupied with toddler bath time.  I was forced to either wait or walk–it was freezing out so I chose to walk it off.

In retrospect, I’m glad I was able to walk it off–I think it definitely helped get rid of any lactic acid build up.  My legs didn’t hurt that bad and I actually felt pretty great and much better than I would have expected.  What I didn’t anticipate was waking up the next morning to severe pain in my left ankle/foot.  It hurt to walk and it look rather swollen.  I was confused and frustrated.  I hadn’t rolled my ankle and it felt fine during my run.  What the heck was happening?

Doctor Google says that I have peroneal tendonitis.  I am all too familiar with overuse injuries and am 99.9% certain that this is what’s going on.  It fits all the criteria: no recollection of trauma, improper footwear (my sneakers were at 300 miles and lost most of the support–new ones hadn’t arrived yet), and increased mileage.

It’s been 5 days since my 20 miles and I still haven’t gone for a run.  I feel SO lazy!  However, I would rather give it some recovery time because I know that pushing myself would be the wrong answer.  Today, I can walk without a limp, but there is still a dull ache so I am not running.  I will aim to run on Saturday or maybe tomorrow, but for now RICE and cross-training with biking or rowing will have to do.

Getting Started: The How

In March of 2013 I was at my wit’s end.  I had finally reached the “I’m ready to make a change” phase and was tired of the talk.  It was time to do the walk so I signed up for an 8-week weight loss challenge through my employer and used it as something to hold me accountable.

The first weeks I started out by watching my diet and by going to the gym on my lunch breaks.  In the first week I was happy to have lost 4 lbs!! I couldn’t believe that my body was actually responding to my efforts.  I then decided to amp things up and double up my efforts by doing P90X in the evenings.  I could feel myself getting stronger with each workout and loved the fire that had been lit inside of me.

I lost a total of 18lbs during those 8 weeks, but still had a way to go to meet my goals. I felt like I could do anything and at the end of the challenge I didn’t want to stop.   I continued on with the P90X program and soon decided to incorporate running.  I was hoping to sign-up for a few fun summer 5k races to keep me on track.

Screen shot 2013-10-25 at 4.26.44 PMResults from the early phases of running/p90x

I’ve never been a runner, but I have always had it in my mind that one day I would complete a full marathon.  It’s something that I had long dismissed and placed at the bottom of a very long bucket list, but something happened that reminded me of my goal.  My best friend decided that she would be signing up for the Walt Disney World Marathon in January of 2014 and that she would begin training for it soon.

I’d already been “running” for a couple of months and realized that I had no reason not to sign up.  In June of 2013, I bit the bullet and registered myself for my first ever marathon.  I was thrilled and nervous all at the same time, but mostly I was proud of myself for committing to accomplish such an incredible task.

Training wise, I continued on with P90X and began the 28 week training plan (provided by Disney via Jeff Galloway) in July.  Since the start of my training, I’ve logged close to 300 miles, completed one half marathon, lost nearly 30 lbs, and run distances I never knew were possible.

Screen shot 2013-10-25 at 4.22.19 PMResults from P90X/Marathon Training

I’m still training with P90X and 3 runs/week, but I’m more mindful of what I’m doing to my body.  I’m really trying to avoid any injuries and exhaustion and do take breaks when I need them,  BUT I always make sure to complete my runs for the week.  The P90X workouts get put on the back burner if I begin to feel burnt out or overworked.

It’s been a long journey and I still have many miles to go, but firmly believe that “you can do anything you put your mind to””.

Screen shot 2013-10-25 at 4.43.54 PMleft January 2013, right October 2013 after finishing my first half marathon