Thoughts On My First 20 Mile Run

Hello from one sore girl! Thankfully, I can say that besides the normal soreness associated with a long run, I haven’t experienced any new pains that would concern me for the upcoming race. Thank goodness!

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I signed up for the Rock ‘N’ Roll Seattle the day after it was ran last year, June 2015. I signed up with two of my good running friends. Me and Megan had new little babies at the time, and Christine’s little girl had just turned one. We decided this would be a great way to get our bodies back after babies and find a solid fitness routine coming out of pregnancy.

Sadly I learned a month ago that Megan had to bow out. Life got crazy and she didn’t find the time to train like she had hoped. Actually she just told me yesterday that she will be doing the half marathon! She’s been running again the last few weeks and feels confident enough to tackle 13.1 miles. Which is exciting! But still, she will not be running by my side.

My other sweet friend Christine who has been training with me on long runs, had to sadly let me know a few days ago that she too wasn’t going to be able to run the race. This poor girl has been plagued with injuries and has done tons of physical therapy and tried so hard to get better in time to train and run. Just as she was seeing the light at the end of the tunnel she got a new injury and understandably had to come to the conclusion that running the race wasn’t an option anymore. This one breaks me the most, because she wanted it so bad, and her body fought her the whole way. I have faith that she’s heal and be out there for a different 26.2 miles! This girl has drive and I know she’ll get better and finish what she started, even if it’s not in Seattle.

I was disappointed when I got Christine’s text the other day that our trio was down to me. I’m not blaming anyone. I know these girls wanted to be there and life got in the way, but I can still be sad that I’m solo now. I 100% still want to do this and am excitedly looking forward to 15 days from now, but it’s just a bit different, you know?

Anyhow, originally my 20 miler was scheduled for Sunday, but I wasn’t able to fit it in that day, so I moved it to Thursday and set my alarm for 4:30am and mentally started my pep-talk as my head hit the pillow Wednesday night. “I can totally do this, it’s as easy as two 10 milers, which I can almost do in my sleep now, so no big deal.”

The night before long runs I set out my running gear in the kitchen so I can dress in the light and not wake up Travis or the kids.

I dressed, ate my traditional sour dough bread toast and drank my Beachbody Performance Line Energize, filled up the water bottle and hit the road. Actually I should mention that I taped my left knee this time before heading out. It’s had a slight pain when I run, not anything that would prevent me from getting out there or that would cause a limp, but to not make matters worse I gave it a bit more support yesterday, which worked well!

As I was eating and prepping I downloaded three podcasts. Two from The Chalene Johnson Show and one from Trust and Believe with Shaun T. They are both excellent stations and I highly recommend them! I had purchased Beyoncé’s newest album last week after much inward struggle and it was totally worth it. My plan, which worked well, was to listen to the podcasts first and then sing Beyoncé from the rooftops as I tackled the last miles.

Long Run Itinerary:

Make a big circle of about 14 miles, hit the house, use the restroom, refill my water bottle with Gatorade ( I always switch from water to Gatorade on my long run pit stops) down some sports beans and hit the road again for the last miles. (My pit-stop is usually about 4-5 minutes long. Any longer than that and I don’t want to start again.)  Keep running until I hit 20 miles, have Travis and the kids come pick me up from wherever that is.

I took off at 5:11am. It was overcast and a little windy, but it actually felt really good. I turned on a podcast and fell into my groove.

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Really there isn’t much to say about those first 14 miles. This was the first time listening to podcasts while running and it was a hit! I’ll be doing it a lot more in the future. Maybe it’s just me, but constant music in my ears for almost four hours had me afraid I’d be so done with it after a couple hours in. Plus I play mental games. Like: Well, each song averages about 3-4 minutes long, so it will take me an about 3.5 songs per mile, so I have two more songs in this mile. Yeah, I totally get in my head. I can’t stress enough running is all a mental game.

I didn’t know how long each podcast was, and honestly they were so good I got sucked in and didn’t even know what mile I was at when they finished! I think they lasted about two hours because I remember turning on Beyoncé a few miles from my house pit-stop.

When I walked in I told Travis I was feeling actually really good and it had been going well so far. He said, “Good, drink your water and get back on the road, nobody likes a quitter!” slapped me on my ass and smiled. Okay then, off I went!

I had been averaging about 10:40’s up to low 11 minute miles, (besides one time I had to take a call and walked about a tenth of a mile, and also my dreaded steep hill I haven’t been able to conquer yet and walked up about another tenth of a mile) but that changed pretty quickly after I went back out.

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I had been able to keep the mental games to a minimum for the first 14 miles but really started to get to myself after that. When I hit mile 17 I remember wondering if I was going to be able to make it those last three miles. I told Travis after that the last five miles felt like a whole day. I was running trails I had ran only hours earlier and it was hard! My quads were killing me and my right foot hurt from my laces. I tried to fix it several times but nothing helped.

I remember walking at mile 18 so I could drink, because at this point I couldn’t do two things at once. Running and drinking wasn’t an option, so I walked while I downed the rest of my Gatorade and it took everything in me to make myself run again after that. I started feeling cold, but also hot at the same time, and I had to watch my foot placement because I was becoming a bit unsteady and worried I would fall. Looking back I realize I should have taken more GU’s. They just don’t sound appetizing when I run and are so hard to get down. I ran a total of 3 hours and 53 minutes and only took one pack of Shot Blocks an hour in and Sports Beans at my house stop. I should have been taking one every 45 minutes, but couldn’t make myself. Oh well, live and learn.

You guys, I want you to know I have some amazing family and friends. I started getting texts and FB messages about 10 miles in and even though I didn’t respond to them all right away, I read each and every one and it fueled me to finish. All these people believed in me and I couldn’t let them down!

At mile 19 Travis texted me, seriously right as I hit mile 19, “How you doing honey?” And I called him while running and trying not to cry in the phone told him I had one mile to go, and could be please rinse off the strawberries that were in the fridge and bring them to me, along with the leftover Gatorade when they came to pick me up. All I could think about was how much I wanted a gallon of strawberries in my mouth right that second.

As I hung up I had a mini panic attack. Don’t ask me why. You run 20 miles and see how you do, okay?! Haha! And of course from my panic and trying not to cry my breathing starting messing with me so I literally had to tell myself to calm down, breath, I’m almost done, just stay calm. And just when I hit mile 19.5 (I told you those last miles seemed to go on forever!) I got a message from Christine:

(The answer you see there I wrote her after I finished)

But seriously I started crying again when I read that and had to go through the whole calming myself down bit. But it meant so much to me that she cared and I knew everything in her wanted to be there running with me.

Anyhow I rounded the river and just as I hit mile 19.8 my newest favorite song came on: Freedom by Beyoncé (feat. Kendrick Lamar), and in the song she shouts from the top of her lungs,

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And that was my jam, it was like God new I needed that little extra push, and so I picked up my tired legs and ran hard until I hit 20 miles!

The end!

Not really, I ended up behind the Spokane Convention center and sat on the steps leading to the water and just started crying. I couldn’t help it. Honestly I’m still surprised at how emotional I was about the whole thing. I didn’t expect it in the least. Not to cry, let alone ball my eyes out in a public place while two guys in suites a couple yards away looked at me like I had lost my mind.

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And that’s pretty much the end. Travis and the kids came and got me, and brought me my strawberries, which I ate like my life depended on it.

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And I honestly didn’t do much the rest of the day. I took a couple naps, and huddled under blankets because I don’t care how hot is it outside, I’m always cold after a long run.

I was telling everyone who would listen, seriously I was, that I think those 20 miles are going to end up being harder than the marathon itself. I’ll know for sure soon. But to run the same course you always run, however pretty it is, is still the same course, and to run solo that far is hard. The marathon is going to have so much going on, not to mention race day is just way more exciting in general. Plus the fact that I wanted my first half marathon in 2013 to be Seattle, but is wasn’t in the cards, so I’ve been waiting for this opportunity for two years now! I just think (and hope) it will be easier!

And now off I go to foam roll! Happy Friday!!!!

Getting Out Of A Running Funk

Today we’re talking about digging your way out of a running funk.

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If you’ve been running long then you’ve likely experienced a running funk. Getting motivated to run can be hard sometimes. Even when you love running. Which is weird, but it happens. It’s totally a thing. I checked.

I experienced it most recently while training for my first marathon, and it took a while to get my groove back. I was injured and thought when given the green light I would be all over hitting the pavement. But the first few times back out I wasn’t feeling it. At all. I remember going out for a six miler and couldn’t even get past mile one without walking. I was so disappointed. In myself and the fact that I couldn’t get out of my own head.

Looking back now, I should have quit beating myself up and instead changed things up. We went on vacation and running in a new spot was just the key to getting my grove back. It also got me thinking of other things that I enjoy that would have helped if I had stopped playing pity party and instead looked for a solution.

Here are my top tips for getting out of a running funk.

Get Out Of Your Running Funk

1. Run in a new place

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Sure running on a vacation is fun. You’re in an entirely different area. But, changing it up in your hometown can be just as nice. Google top running places in your city or pick a road or trail you think is beautiful and just go! A change of scenery does the runners heart good.

2. Leave your pace tracker at home.

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Maybe it’s an app on your phone, or your nice Garmin watch, but leave it home and head out solo. Sometimes we can get so caught-up on what our pace is and beating our old self or setting a PR that it breaks us a little each time we don’t make it. But hello, you still ran!!!!! Quit beating yourself up and be glad you hit the road, regardless of how fast you were.

3. Change up your playlist or run without

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I listen to the Running Station on Pandora and sometimes it doesn’t cut it. The music is just blah. My sister loves Spotify, and I know there are other stations and apps out there. Also check out Pinterest. There are plenty of running playlists ideas to glean from. You could give Podcasts or Audible a try if you need to catch up on some reading. I really want to try that! Or, you could not listen to anything at all. I just know when I need to run in the quite. If life gets super stressful or crazy busy it’s nice to just think it all through in my head with no musical interruptions.

4. Get Some New Running Gear

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Sometimes you just need to go shopping. Because shopping usually makes everything a little better. Grab a new shirt, some capris or whatever you’ve been eyeing. Something fun that makes you feel fly while hitting the roads. Because let’s face it, we do most everything better when we look the part.

5. Run with a friend or group

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Have a friend that runs? Call them up! Sometimes it’s easier to push through a run when you know there’s someone beside you who you don’t want to disappoint. Most cities also have running groups that meet a few times a month or even every week. Find one and get involved. Running can be a solo sport, but I think it’s even more fun when you run with others from time to time. It’s inspiring to hear their running stories and they have such good tips and tricks.

6. Take a break

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Sometimes it’s okay to take a week, or a month off. But don’t stop working out entirely. Take a hot yoga class or give spin a try. You could also sign up for one of my month long FB challenge groups. I’ll get you hooked up with a workout program that works well with your lifestyle. (Such as PiYo, which is excellent for runners. And The 21 Day Fix is great too!)

7. Sign up for a race

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It could be a fun 5k, or maybe you want to attempt a half or even full marathon. Having a date in mind for training can make running more of a priority and strengthen your reserve to get out there.

What are your tried and true tip for getting out of a funk?