This weekend I hit a personal distance record – a little over 14 miles! Although I’ve run two half-marathons and completed many other 10-12mile runs, this was a huge mental/physical win for me.
Until a few weeks ago when I decided to register for the Paris 2012 Marathon, I’ve never trained for any distance beyond 13.1 miles and therefor, I had never felt the desire to push past that distance marker. I was extremely proud of myself when I accomplished my first half-marathon and at the point I really did not think I’d ever be training for a marathon, or that I would ever run more than 13.1miles. 13 miles is a far distance for me, a person that hated running with a passion until the beginning of just this year. Now instead of hating running with a passion, I run with a passion.
After my first half-marathon I suffered an injury, so at that point the idea of running longer distances wasn’t even a thought. My 2nd half marathon just 4 months after my first and still recovering from my injury, I PR’d by 4mins, but ran myself into exhaustion. After that race I was sick for the next day or so and then my legs were sore and my injury pain was coming back so I took my mileage easy. Anyways, this is all the long version of me saying I never thought I’d run OVER a 1/2 marathon and hit 14miles!
I didn’t totally planned to reach a PDR this past weekend, but I guess you could say I got caught up in the moment (moment = 2 hours of running). It went something like this…
I had planned to run that morning with Katie. We’d been trying to meet up the whole week so I could show her the East River running path (she’s a west sider). Since we both had long runs planned, we had planned on meeting on the West Side Highway around midtown and looping south around the island over to the East Side; this would have been about 10miles for me. Shannon has mentioned to me the night before that she was doing her long run on the same day, but she was planning on starting at 6am so I figured we’d miss each other (I had an 8am wakeup planned).
Well, things didn’t work out as planned. Unfortunately Katie had to work really late, so wasn’t up for an early morning run (totally understand that one!). On the opposite side, I woke up earlier than planned (7am). I was bummed about the lack of company, but I already mentally committed to completing my long run that day so I figured I’d just bang out 8 – 14miles alone — I still somewhat lack confidence that my legs will continue moving, so I rarely commit myself to a scary distance, hence the 8 OR 14. I had a lot on my mind last week and just downloaded a new CD (Tim McGraw) so I figured running alone wouldn’t be so bad. On the other hand, a little company is always helpful on a long run so I texted Shannon on my way out on the off chance that we’d be able to meet up along the way. I decided to run the opposite of my planned route and go East to West, so this way I’d have more of a likely hood of running into Shannon (she told her me route previously).
Around 7:30am, fueled with some bread/peanut butter/banana, fuel belt on, and decked out in hats/gloves because I’m always cold… I headed out. I ran the first part without music and it was nice to just soak in the morning air, even if it was a bit brisk for my taste. I was actually getting warm in the sun despite the 48 degree temps, but the shade was chilly. About 5miles in I turned on my ipod and zoned out to country tunes of Tim McGraw.
At about mile 7 I was feeling a bit tired and as luck has it, that’s when I got a text from Shannon that she was on 23rd and the West Side Highway – I was around 10th street on the West Side Highway! I was pumped that I’d soon have a running buddy so I kept going. I ran into Shannon shortly after and I popped in two GU blocks as we caught up. I really needed the energy and blocks really helped. In retrospect I should have had more.
We headed North along the Hudson river, dodging some bikes here and there. I’m not sure when, but I think it was at about mile 9 I started to feel good and strong again and that’s when I decided I was going to hit the 14mile mark today! I’d been having a pretty sh*tty week and I felt the need to accomplish something.
We ran up to about 72nd street and turned back south. At about 65th street and the Hudson river there were people giving out Zico flavored Coconut Water. I was at about mile 11 and my energy levels were slowly depleting and I’m pretty sure my breakfast and 2 GU blocks were well worn out of my by then. I wanted to hug and kiss the people give out the water and tell them I loved them — instead I just took it, said thank you and kept on running (probably the best choice?).
So only 3 miles to go, “I can totally do this!” I told myself. I luckily had Shannon with me almost all the way to the end. We parted ways at 40th street (she had completed her 18miles) and I only had 1.5 miles to go! Out of the scheme of things 1.5miles seemed easy. I took it slow, although running alone I was tempted to speed up a bit and just get the darn 14miles over with. I finally ended my run at 7th Avenue and 28th Street (ironically enough at my old college, FIT). My Garmin clocked a little over 14miles!!!! I finished in at 2:31:33, with an average pace of 10:41min/mile.
I was elated….and sore…and feeling physically depleted/dizzy. I hoped in a cab, because after 14miles I felt like I deserved a cab even if it was only a 1.5mile walk home. I immediately opened my mango coconut water and down it. I really don’t like coconut water, but flavored versions I can stand. Ahhhh it felt so good though. I instantly felt more alive and felt the energy crawling back into my body. Thank you again Zico people, I love you!
I got back to my apartment and did a little song and dance to myself that I like to call the “I ran 14 miles” dance. It was great, if only my middle school dance teachers could see me now. I’m going to have to say there was probably more arm movement in my dance than legs movements because, well, my legs couldn’t really move much at that point.
I learned some important things about fueling, though, from this run:
- I need a lot of water. Other people may be able to run with little to no water, but that’s just not me. I only filled up 2 bottles on my fuel belt, but needed all 4.
- Energy in = energy out. I need to eat more on longer runs. Again, other people may be able to go distances on little to no food, but my body needs fuel. My body process food pretty quickly so I’m going to need to find the balance of not eating so much that I feel sluggish, but not eating so little that I feel tired.
- …and ice bath may not be a bad idea…maybe next time…
My 14 mile run was such a milestone because I realized I can run long distances and I can run a marathon and I WILL run a marathon in April 2012.
I realized something else though too, I don’t want to just “run” a marathon – I want to finish strong. I have 6 months to train and I’m going to do it right. I’m not going to be limping over the finish line, I’m going to end blazing with arms in the air.
QUESTIONS: Tell me about your run this weekend! For all those marathon trainers or runners out there, at what point did you realize you could run a marathon??
Have a wonderful week 🙂