There is no way to describe the feeling you get after completing an 18-mile run by 10:30 am. What a way to start the day! 18 MILES! I still cannot believe it.
I was actually kind of concerned because I wasn’t feeling great the night before (allergies) and my stomach was gurgling all night, even when I woke up in the morning. The mornings have been pretty crisp in DC lately so I really wasn’t sure what to wear. I’m terrible at dressing for the weather when I run. I usually over-dress…have to work on that. But this time, I went with my usual tank top, shorts and ZENSAH calf sleeves, hoping I wouldn’t be too chilly. It was a little chilly out but actually perfect for running. Mike and I started running up to the Capitol, up a HILL! This used to be my usual 6-mile Mall route but since I first got injured, I’ve avoided the hill and taken a different route to the Mall. It felt so nice to run up to Capitol Hill for the first time since early July!
It had been a busy week with work and school so I’d been looking forward to the long run and being able to zone out and just listen to music and just think. It was perfect. I downloaded three new songs for my shuffle: Counting Stars by OneRepublic, Everything Has Changed by Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran and Hall of Fame by The Script and will.i.am – excellent new additions. At the end of the Mall, we ran around the Lincoln Memorial, across Memorial Bridge and then tried a new route to get down to the Mount Vernon Trail along the Potomac River. We ran across the Key Bridge from Rosslyn into Georgetown and hooked up with the C&O Canal Trail. It was like a bike superhighway on a Friday morning; so many bike commuters coming from MD to DC! I took my first Accel gel Vanilla flavor at mile 6 and refilled water and used the bathroom at Fletcher’s Boathouse.
I kept imaging how it’ll feel running in the Richmond Marathon. I think it will actually go by quickly, when we are in it. Usually in races, I feel like time and miles fly by. Especially with Richmond and all the buildup, I bet I’ll look at my watch and think “it’s already been 6 miles?!”. It’ll be strange to pass the half marathon halfway point and realize I’m already halfway done! I can’t wait to actually be in the race but in the meantime I’m really enjoying the training and hitting new milestones almost weekly.
On the way back, I realized I forgot a nuun tablet again. Last week I was saved because Pacers running store had set up a refueling booth by the Key Bridge. I told myself we were on the way back, I’d be fine and wouldn’t forget it next time. But I was craving nuun and craving salt. Mike took his second gel at mile 11 but it was the last thing I wanted so I decided to hold off. My stomach started growling and cramping. I needed fuel but the thought of Accel vanilla gel was making me sick. I wanted pretzels, something salty. At mile 13, I got it down. It was rough. I did feel more energized but not satisfied.
We were almost at the end of the mall by the Capitol when I started feeling light-headed and needed to stop to get my bearings. I needed my nuun! Mike was a little ahead of me at that point so came back to check on me, making me promise not to push myself to 18 miles if I didn’t feel up to it. We had set up the route to bring us back to our home at 17 miles but Mike was going to tack on another at the end. I felt better after stopping at the Mall so ran a little slower home, felt fine and kept going for another mile to make… 18!
I felt pretty good! Better even than last week’s 15.5 miles. I had a lot of fun as crazy as that sounds! I’ve completely switched over from being worried about running and re-injuring myself to looking forward to running again!
I didn’t check my pace once on my watch. Mike’s my pacer! But we did great with an average pace of 9:00! Faster than last week! It is so hard to believe that we only have 2 more miles to add on to reach our final 20-mile training run. And then Richmond marathon in 1 ½ months! I’m so looking forward to it! I can’t imagine how exciting it will be with the ground support and the feeling of checking the miles off.
At home, I immediately had a glass of water with a nuun lemonade tablet in it and felt instantly better. It was exactly what I needed. I’m not a huge fan of Gatorade. Nuun has the perfect not-too-sweet flavor.
Then I took my chocolate milk box in the tub for my first ICE BATH! It was more of a cold water bath with some ice cubes but still VERY COLD. I sat in it for about 10 minutes. It helped significantly with the soreness the next day especially in my quads and hamstrings. Adding this to my post long-run routine.
I was still craving salt so got a sandwich with prosciutto, honey mustard, arugula and figs and french fries for lunch. There was a lot of prosciutto (and very thickly sliced too…) which was unexpected so I took most of it off and focused on eating my fries. I actually didn’t feel that hungry, more just craving salt.
But of course a few hours later, I was hungry again and found one of my new favorite snacks to satisfy every craving:
Overall, a great run! Next weekend it’s down to 13 then up the following week to 19. 26.2 miles doesn’t seem as scary anymore. I’m not sure what I’ll do as far as hydration for the marathon since I realized that I need nuun and that’s not given out on the course. Maybe I’ll have my parents hand me a water bottle with nuun in it when I run by one of the cheer stations. TBD.