Yesterday marked 20 days till our marathon! Ahhh! Speaking of 20, this past weekend Kayla and I ran our longest mileage run ever! We both ran 20 miles! Did you know Zwanzig is German for twenty?!
The 20 mile mark in our marathon training was a major milestone. This was our final test before the race. This is where we see if we could actually make it, if our bodies can actually run 20 miles or more.
I thought of the 20 mile long run as the closet comparison to the actual race day. I was nervous. Not only was I nervous to run 20 miles but I decided to run my long run differently this time. Breakaway Running is an amazing supporter of the St. Jude Marathon. They have a training plan you can follow as well as weekly group runs. So I decided last minute that I was going to run with the Breakaway running group. I had no idea what to expect. I knew they would have water stations set up along the route and I looked at the course but I didn’t really study it because I thought that there would be enough people that I could just follow. Also the course was set up for 11 miles. People training for the half marathon would run the course once and people training for the full marathon would run the course twice. So I would actually have to run 22 miles! 22 miles!! Ahhh! Crazy right!?! The run was also at 6 am and the temperature was going to be 34 degrees. Two more running conditions that I was not use to.
So on the day of the long run I arrived at the Breakaway store only about 10 minutes before the run. I stretched a little but not that much. I was so overwhelmed with all the people and trying to figure out what was going on that I didn’t pay attention much to what the speaker was saying about the course. There had to be over 100 people there. It felt like race day. It was super cold and my fingers were freezing but I knew I would warm up once I started running.
Once we started, I was in the middle of the group. I was trying to pace myself based on how they were running. Everything was going great. As I came up on the 11 mile mark, everyone that was around me stopped and turned into Breakaway. I was totally confused. I knew that I had to run the course twice so I kept going forward. There were literally only a few people in front of me that kept going but they were pretty far ahead. I was scared that I was going to lose them and get lost on the course. The course was actual streets going through downtown Memphis, so we were running on busy roads and under overpasses. I was nervous to be running alone. I kept running ahead and after a while I noticed that there several people in front and behind me which made me feel better. At around the 12 mile mark, my tummy was really upset and I had to stop at a gas station and use the restroom. When I got out, I continued to run and noticed that there were only a few people behind me now. At mile 13, my legs were starting to hurt. By mile 16 my feet and legs were becoming so painful. I was almost in tears because I was in so much pain. I had to keep running though. I didn’t quite know where I was and I didn’t want to lose the few people that were in front of me. There were a few times that I was the very last person with no one behind me. That was scary. I didn’t think I was going to make it. I was running so slow that I was almost walking. Everything hurt. Then I hit 20 miles! I knew I couldn’t stop now. Only 2 more miles left to go. I kept pushing, kept going till I finally made it! 22 miles!! I had tears in my eyes because I was so proud, also because I was in so much pain. I did it. Only 4 more miles after that and that would be a marathon. At that moment, I finally knew that I would be able to run a full marathon. I was scared and nervous before, but now there was no doubt in my mind that I would be able to complete 26 miles! I was ready!
Now for the country girl’s tale of running in the middle of nowhere! Much like Sarah, I was pretty nervous to tackle 20 miles. The Friday before the run, I had visited a doctor so that I could get a physical therapy order. They ended up doing a bunch of X-rays on my hip because it has been hurting for a month or so now. The doctor thinks I have abductor tendonitis, which pretty much means overuse of the muscles there. Of course! Then the doctor asks me, “How important is it for you to do this marathon?”
Like 100 percent important doctor!! Anyways, he totally understood and gave me some anti-inflammatory and ordered for me to start physical therapy. So with this knowledge, I knew that going into this marathon, my only goal was to finish without completely injuring myself.
Which is the same goal for the remainder of my training. Thankfully, my hip doesn’t completely stop me from running. I made sure to keep my 20 mile run at a steady pace averaging at 12:52 a mile. Which is really slow and I really wish I could run faster but I have to accept that I physically cannot. So that will most likely be my pace for the marathon.
My run was pretty uneventful. I did see some puppies and piggies! I didn’t experience too much pain throughout the run. Toward the end I think my mind wanted to give up but not my body. I just kept telling myself just keep running till the next mile. If you keep running, you’ll be done soon. And sure enough, I was done soon! Jk this shit took 4 plus hours!
Being able to finish a 20 mile run though is something I never thought I would do. Once you are done, you know that you can finish a marathon. We have been training since July and now here we are less than a month away from the start line!
During this time, I have learned that I am capable of achieving hard goals. I have a lot going on in my life but somehow I still managed to stick to my training and not give up when the miles seemed too much. I don’t even know what I am going to do with myself after the race. Like I get my Saturdays back!!
As the race approaches, we are going to be doing some fun countdown stuff over on our Facebook page. So make sure you go like us and follow us to Memphis where we will run for the children of St. Jude! (And for the food and beer!)