Monday, March 12, 2012

The validation of a 20-miler.

Remember on Friday how I wrote that I was incredibly excited about the 20-miler I had scheduled for Sunday? Well, I'm happy to report that the run did not disappoint.

Oh, no. Far from it.

My 20 mile run was pure awesome! And I could not possibly be happier about it.

I was excited for the run all week. Then, sometime Saturday evening when the reality of the time change (getting up at 6:30 felt like 5:30), the distance (20 miles!), and the route (two hilly loops) hit me, I started to get nervous. I knew I could do it but sometimes doubt still creeps in.

What if I hit the wall at mile 18? 
What if the hills are just too much? 
What if this little cold that I've had messes makes my breathing all wonky and I can't run? 
What if I over-sleep?
What if . . . ? 
What if . . . ?

The "what ifs" were totally unnecessary. On Sunday, I woke up, got myself together and headed out to meet Tami and Melissa at 7:30. I made a wrong turn and ended up being a little late but the two of them were, fortunately, waiting for me. We did a quick check to make sure we were ready and then we were off.

And the run started -- as if to foretell what we were in for -- on an uphill.

Now, let me tell you a little something about where we ran. First, Sunday was a beautiful day with highs in the afternoon in the 60s. At 7:10, when I left my house, my car thermometer read 39 degrees. As I drove to the meeting spot -- up on a MOUNTAIN -- the temperature dropped. And kept dropping. When I parked the car, the thermometer read 30 degrees.

But that's not all. There is no snow on the ground where I live. But on the mountain? Oh, there's snow. As I drove up and up and up, I started to notice the snow. First a little, then more and more. It's colder and snowier up there. And that is where we ran. In the cold, snowy hills.

As I said, though, Sunday was a nice day so by the end of the 20 miles, it was sunny and warm, even up there on the mountain.

Back to the run . . . 

The first 5 or so miles of the loop is pretty much all uphill (our total climb was 3839 feet). Most of it gradual, some of it steep. The three of us chatted away, though, so the hills weren't too bad. The second half of the loop is bliss: Mostly gradual downhills, with some flat areas. We ran the loop twice, to end up with 20.35 miles in 3:22 (9:56 pace).

Remarkably, with all of the hills, I felt great. I honestly could have kept going and I felt that I was still strong on the uphills in the second loop. It was a wonderful feeling! I credit my running partners, a good steady pace, and the 3 gels taken at the right time (miles 5, 10, 15).

Afterward, I was tired but not overwhelmingly so. And today my body feels absolutely fine. I admit that my hamstrings and quads are a little tired but that is it. Nothing more.

In other words: My first 20 miler rocked! It was a huge confidence booster and it really validated my training plan. I think that if my training had not been going well, and I had not been building up properly, the 20 miler would have been harder. I have two more 20s on my schedule and I'm already looking forward to them. After this hilly run, I can guarantee that at least my last 20 will be run on a flat route, though, to better prepare for the flat New Jersey marathon course.

Today is a full-on rest day. These legs deserve it!

Hope you all had a great weekend! Thanks for stopping by -- GIVEAWAY coming up tomorrow so come back then!

~ Felice


Taryn said...

Awesome job!!! Way to go!! :)

Marlene said...

Nothing like a solid 20-miler for some serious marathon confidence. Congrats!!

Bill Fine said...

Great report....and it sounds like it was a great run! Although I "only" did 17+ yesterday, the validation from successfully completing a long run is like nothing else!


Bill Fine said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Darlene said...

WooHoo! I am so excited for your marathon that I feel like I am training for it :)

Anonymous said...

Great job!!! You definitely captured the moment. :)

Michael said...

Way to go....I just love it when the long runs leave you feeling like you could have gone for more. Sounds like a real "high". Congratulations. That type of long training run will only make you that much stronger on the flat course.

Tami mommy of Ten said...

Yes, it was an awesome 20 miler and I am glad we got to run that one together!!

macnic said...

Congrats on a wonderful long run! I did my first 18 mile run yesterday and felt the same way as you did, without the snowy mountain. Here's to the next one (which for me, is next Sunday when we repeat the 18 miler).

Michelle @ said...

SOSOSO proud of you!!! You help motivate me to get there one day!!! GREAT job!!!

Bridget said...

Great job. Like I had any doubts that you would rock it! I can't wait for be over! HA! I just hope I feel as good!

melissa said...

way to go! A good 20 miler is definitely a confidence booster for sure! Hope your recovery from it is going well!

Make sure your immune system is protected, since it's likely compromised ;-)

Anonymous said...

20 sounds like waaaaay too much for me! Thanks for the info on the 5, 10, 15 gel pack intervals. I'm a little new and stuff like that helps for us rookies!

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