Monday, October 26, 2009

James: "We just ran 20 miles." Man at park: "Oh, only?"

So yeah. There it is.

20 miles.

Still can't believe we actually friggin' did it. And boy oh boy. 20 miles is that much harder than 18.5 miles.

But man, we ran 20 effing miles! Boo-ya!

As always, the run in bullet points:
  • Friday night: Force James to eat a ginormous plate of pasta.
  • Wake up Sat morning. It is already frigging HOT outside. Like 85 degrees hot. Eat a huge breakfast.
  • Drive to mile 26 of the marathon, at Shoreline Park.
  • Drive to starting point, (mile 6 of marathon) right by UCSB. Drop off two "runner's bags" filled with water, gummy bears, GU gels, other food items in two locations.
  • Start the 20 miles!
The one memorable thing about this run was that it was HOT outside. Like, seriously, damagingly hot. WTF? It's October! It's supposed to be cool! At several points it was so hot and so bright I felt nauseous. I was deadly afraid of dehydration. So I ate way too many shot blocks and drank way too much Gatorade. Because of this, I was puking up little pieces of gummies and Gatorade for more than half the run. Ick. Having stomach issues for 20 miles not bueno.

Also, I was tired even before I began the ran. As soon as I took my first step of the run, I knew it was going to be a struggle. My legs felt sooooo tired, and heavy as logs. My survival strategy for the run was to NOT think about it, and concentrate on talking with James.

But by mile ten, I was seriously ready to call it quits. I was hot, I was tired, my legs were beat, and my tummy hurt. But I kept this all to myself. I didn't want my negative energy to affect James at all. And I knew that as long as he kept going, I would keep going as well.

My strategy at this point was to just NOT think about the run. I begged James to keep telling me stories. He told me all about sleep cycles, Kafka's short stories, some Ben Stiller movie, theories on relationships.... anything to keep my mind off the run. I am so thankful he was there, because I know without a doubt I would've quit somewhere around mile 15.

At around mile 16, my right calf muscle started to get really tight and knotty. It got so bad that it yanked at my achilles tendon. At one point, I yelped in pain and had to stop to stretch it out for a bit. That seemed to do the trick though, and though I needed to stop one other time, my calf was fine.

Miles 17.9 - 18.35 was a KILLER uphill. Staring up at the top from the bottom, the hill looked so massive and so daunting. Oh, did I mention it was 85 degrees out?

But for some miraculously odd reason, I was able to Kill the Hill, (rhyming unintentional) and it honestly did not feel bad at all. Maybe the thought of having a challenge was motivating? And the fantastic thing was, from Mile 18.5 to 20 was basically all downhill. The downhill hurt my joints after a while, but it was more than welcome after more than 3 hours of running!

And then Dannnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnng. My Garmin finally let out the most beautiful sound I have ever heard.

Beep beep beep!

and there you have it. 20 miles. Donezo. Phew!

I literally collapsed onto the grass at Shoreline Park. But James reminded me to "walk it off." I was waddling and moaning and groaning in pain. People definitely were looking at me funny, but I just wanted to gloat at them and shout "I just ran 20 effing miles! boo-ya!" :)

As we were stretching at a bench, this guy came up and we struck up a conversation.

Guy: "did you guys just finish a run?"
James: "Yeah, we're training for a marathon. We just did a 20 mile run."
Guy: "Oh, only?"
James and Julia : "............?"

Obviously, the guy was being sarcastic, and was beyond amazed we ran that far, but at that moment, we were both so tired and so out of it we didn't quite get his sense of humor. But I did manage to talk his ear off about marathons and training. We made him promise to come out and cheer on M-Day!

All in all, I am still amazed we ran 20 miles. It was way slower than I would have liked, and it hurt a LOT more than I thought it would. I was soooooooooo tired all of Sunday. My usual spunk was gone. My legs felt tattered. My knees were super tender. I took a nap. I was only able to do one hour of yoga on Sunday. I was hoping for a swim too, but had NO energy and NO motivation. WTF? I really didn't think it would be that much worse than a 18.5 miler, but it was. 20 hurt.

But I conquered it!

I am so glad I only have to run 13 this weekend! I am sooooo excited for the Healdsburg wine country HM this weekend! yay yeah!


  1. Great job pushing through girlie! My first 20 was a killer in the heat like yours too! If it weren't for Lazy Runner talking me through I'd have never made it either! Brownie points to James for keeping you going!!

    Congrats!!! You've reached the 20's! Only 6.2 more to go... :)

  2. You did it!! Sounds like one tough run. Way to hang in there and get it done!

  3. Sooooooo Impressed! You guys are awesome! Way to fight through the lead legs and upset tummy!! You rock!!

  4. Yay for you girlie! 20 miles! Only 6.2 more to go and you can do it. I'm so glad that you fought through the touch spots.

  5. Great job!!! Now you can TOTALLY run 26.2! 20 was my longest training run. I missed 22 because of the flu, and ended up being totally fine! Congratulations! Doesn't it feel amazing to say, "I ran 20 miles!?!?"

  6. Congrats on popping your 20 mile cherry. Yeah, I totally went there. ;)

    Way to gut it out. 85 degrees sucks! Maybe get up earlier for your next long run if it's going to be that hot.

  7. WHOOOOHOOO on the 20 miler!!!! 85 sounds like a heat wave to me right now.

  8. That is great! I don't like shot blocks...too gummy and never just go down smooth. I prefer gels. I am also a big fan of water planting, but I try to have every 3 miles minimum. When its real hot out, I will wear a Spibelt and carry one of those tiny 8 ounce waters with me at all times.

    But you did it!

  9. WOW!!!! You seriously toughed it out!! Congrats :D

  10. Way to puuuush it! Always good to have those running-buddies by your side, stomach and leg issues combined are definitely enough to bring the motivation down Quickly....

    20 miles!! Just keep repeating that. YOU RAN 20 miles :) haha, AWESOME!!

  11. Nice RUN girl! I knew you could do it! I'm so proud of you! Your going to ROCK the marathon!!!:)



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