Monday, March 17, 2008

Week # 18

I started the week off still in West Palm Beach, with a lot of work to do and very little time to run. I didn’t have a chance to take an ice bath on Saturday after my 20 mile long run, so my legs were incredibly sore and achy on Sunday. I tried stretching and walking around as much as possible, but it’s hard to read contracts and agreements on the move. Late Sunday night, I was lying in bed in my hotel room with screaming legs. I’d tried Advil to no avail. It was late, but I decided there was only one way to make myself feel better, so I laced up my shoes and hit the treadmill in the gym. I finished five miles close to 1:00 am. I felt better immediately.

The rest of the week was pretty uneventful. Work a lot, run a little. I had decided that I wanted to rest up to prepare myself for Saturday’s longest and final long run of training – 22 miles. Yikes! Mentally I knew if I could get beyond the 20 mile mark, I would be ready for the marathon. This would be a really tough run for me. Even though I’ve done 20 twice, I was absolutely ready to stop at the end of both those runs. I didn’t know if I would be able to work up the energy to keep going after that 20 mile point. It would definitely be my biggest challenge yet.

Friday was spent in mental preparation for the run. Ryan and I had a casual dinner with our friends Brooke, John, Megan, Robert and Michelle. I don’t know how John did it, but that was the best damn Boca burger I’ve ever had! Delicious! I went home early to hydrate and get my stuff ready. I laid out my clothes, checked the weather about a dozen times (rainy and cold), charged my iPod and Garmin, packed my Sport Beans and Gatorade, hunted for safety pins, decided on breakfast, and drank about a gallon of water. Ready.

Saturday morning I woke up the first time the alarm went off. That never happens!! I was actually wide awake, but I didn’t want to go! It was cold, dark and rainy outside. I checked the weather (again) and the forecast hadn’t changed – rainy, cloudy, cold the rest of the day. I was kicking myself for not running on Friday with sunny perfect weather. Just my luck. I would’ve given an arm to go back to bed.

I pulled up to Grant’s Trail, our TNT group training meeting place, with about 1 minute to spare. I was worried that they would send the other long distance runners out ahead of time, leaving me to run on my own. Or I was worried that there would be no one there running this distance with me and I’d have to do it by myself. With both my previous 20 milers done alone, I really wanted some company on this run. To my absolute delight, Abby was there. Yay!! Abby’s the girl I ran with a few weeks ago on my 16 miler. She’s energetic, happy, funny, and a great person to talk to over the miles. I couldn’t believe how much we had in common and we had a great time running together before. And as I signed in, I saw that she was doing 22 too. Perfect!!

So we were off. The first few miles I spent telling her all about Ryan’s proposal and our wedding plans. To me that’s the best thing in the world to talk about these days! Then we were joined by Jenny, who agreed to go the full 22 mile distance with us. And then the madness really began. We talked about nearly everything under the sun: boys, weddings, musicals, parties, books, weather, running, J-Lo’s babies, vacations, You Tube, dogs, jobs, kids, wine, friends, real estate, etc. It sprinkled on us a little bit, but luckily we didn't get the rain that was expected. It was overcast and cool, but the weather didn't bother us at all.

At mile 8, Grant’s Trail ends. Our options were to turn around and run back to the trailhead, and then tack on a 3 mile out and back (for a total of 22 miles) or run 6 miles around Kirkwood before getting back on the trail and running back. We opted for the latter. So we took off and made it all the way to Manchester, turned around, went through downtown Kirkwood, stopped at Kaldi’s for a water break and meandered our way back to the trail. It was a nice change in scenery and split up the run for the monotonous landscape of the backs houses and buildings. This also insured us that we would end up at exactly 22 miles at the end of the trail, with no out and back required. We thought this was a better approach because that last out and back would be unbelievably challenging to get through once we were so close to our cars.

We stopped for a water break around mile 17 and found it incredibly painful to start running again once we had stopped for a minute. My legs were feeling really funny, and not in a good way. But we plowed through. It got harder and hard to talk or laugh, but Abby asked us questions about our favorite movies, restaurants, books and TV shows to distract us from the pain. Our next water break was even more painful than the last one. We had previously seen the video clip of the screaming runner that week, so we thought we’d give it a shot. Any time we were feeling the pain, we’d just start screaming! It was hysterical and it worked!

Our coach Rhonda met up with us around mile 21 and ran us in. It was such an amazing feeling to be finished. I can’t even describe how proud of us I am!! I never thought I’d be able to run 22 miles – I’ve come a really long (literally) way to get here. It’s now time to taper and rest up for the big day. I’ve put in the time and miles – I’ve put my heart and soul into this challenge. I’m mentally and physically ready for this marathon!!! Bring it on!!!

Mile splits:
1 10:41
2 10:37
3 11:17
4 10:53
5 11:05
6 11:04
7 11:21
8 11:10
9 11:12
10 11:05
11 11:05
12 11:43
13 11:15
14 11:22
15 11:04
16 11:01
17 11:04
18 11:30
19 11:16
20 12:39
21 11:48
22 11:47

Weekly recap:

Sunday: 5.0 miles
Tuesday: 5.25 miles
Wednesday: 5.0 miles
Saturday: 22.0 miles

Total: 37.3 miles

Here's the video of the "Screaming Runner" - try it, it works!!

4 comments:

  1. 22...OMFG! I have one week in my tentative marathon training where I have 20-22 scheduled. We'll see...you give me hope, though! Way to HTFU, girl!

    The screaming runner...I definitely have to try that.

    ;)

    k

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  2. Wow - 22 miles is amazing!

    The marathon plan I'm using only goes up to one 20 miler. I have an 18 mile run next weekend. If I start to wimp out, I'll remember your post about running your 20 miler while not feeling well.

    You are going to have an awesome race in a few weeks. I can't wait to read the race report!!!

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  3. Your writing has turned positive. You must really feel good about your progress and actually see the light at the end of the tunnel. Keep it up. I can't believe how determined you are.

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  4. Man, Sara! You have done incredibly well these last few weeks in your training! I am so proud of you! Very, very, solid.
    You are an inspiration girl!

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