This morning, I was ready. I was ready to conquer what I thought to be impossible. I have had visions of the 20 mile marker before, but never believed I could accomplish it. This morning was different.
I ran 21.34 miles this morning and honestly loved it! I was prepared, ready to run smart and willing to stop if need be. I did not feel compelled to finish or complete some time goal. I was ready to try, so that’s what I did.
The preparation began the night before. I got a race hydration pack from the running store and my new Garmin Forerunner 225 had come in. I think that was the final sign as I had been waiting for my Garmin for about 2 weeks. It was in, work was not as crazy as it had been and so my legs felt recovered. Something was telling me to go for it.
I packed my bag with two water bottles, one with water and one with Tailwind Nutrition. I loaded my pack with a Clifshot, a Huma Gel and a Clif real food energy squeeze (pizza margarita flavor!). I charged my Garmin and learned how to use it. I felt ready.
The day began at 6AM. Luckily I was able to “go” before I started running, but had places I could stop if I needed to. I strapped on my pack, put on my hat and started listening to the Rich Roll podcast. It had begun.
I decided to bridge together two of my running routes so the 20 miles would seem familiar. The first 13 has a couple big climbs and descents and rolling hills. I went up Gunhill and the Slope and through Cornell campus. It was really quiet and beautiful at that time. Usually students aren’t up by then and since it’s move-in weekend, my runs will include moving around more people. I focused on going slow, drinking and breathing, but also let myself listen to the soothing voice of Rich and his wife Julie. What a great podcast for easy running!
I made it out of Cornell and moved out to Ellis Hollow. There are more rolling hills and no sidewalks. It was still early so I didn’t pass too many cars. The sky was gorgeous! The clouds were opening and there was a fog over the trees that cover Turkey Hill. It reminded me of a Civil War movie or The Patriot. Very beautiful and serene. I turned up Genung Rd by Ellis Hollow Community Center to get back to Cornell. A steep downhill on Seneca (by my apartment and CTB) and I was onto the second leg of my journey and the last 8 miles around Stewart and Cass park.
By then, there were more cars and people and my legs were getting heavy. With Rich still in my ears, I took my first Gel (vanilla like frosting!). I didn’t feel hungry, but remembered from training with gels over the winter that they made my legs feel better. At this point, I relaxed my shoulders and tried to maintain my pace. I purposely did this section second because it is flat, breezy and beautiful. I could not argue with the weather this morning. It was cooler than it has been so I was sweating, but not melting.
I made it through Stewart and crossed Meadow street to Cass park. I finished the rest of my gel and felt really…content. I was tired, but I saw possibilities opening up. I had not looked at my watch for the run because I want to see how I felt I was going versus what I actually was at the end and go from there. I knew I was getting to twenty. I asked myself if I could do more.
Yes. I think I could.
I made my way around the Children’s Garden and turned to go back home. I made it. I survived. I was still upright. My hip was not hurting. I was not famished. I felt…like I had run, but might have more to give.
I finished in 3 hours and 3 minutes A pace of 8:27 per mile.
What I learned:
1.) I thought I was going a lot slower, so I will have to work on that. I want long runs to be at a slower pace
2.) I only ate one gel and drank half a bottle of water and tailwind. Should I have drank more? I’m going to ask Lisa when I see her later.
3.) I can do a marathon. It is possible.
4.) Some days, even if they aren’t planned, can be long days or hard efforts if you’re feeling it.
I think most times we think about “unplanned rest days” which are great. However, I don’t often see “unplanned fast days” or “unplanned long mileage days” even if you wake up feeling like this could be the day for it.
What is my next move?
I want to get my car fixed 😛 and then see what is around in the next few months. I have a relay at the end of September so I want to be ready for that.
I am a FLRTC Ambassador.
Tell me about your first long run!