September 28, 2012

My last 20-miler!

The last thing I wanted to do today was run 20 miles, but I kept reminding myself that after today, I would be tapering for the marathon. And after the marathon, I don't ever have to run more than 13.1 miles again :)

It was 48 degrees outside, so I chose to wear a long-sleeved shirt. It was very breathable fabric, and a looser fit, so I figured I could just push up the sleeves if it was too hot. But my upper arms have been chafing badly on my long runs when I wear a t-shirt. They don't chafe with a tank top, or a long-sleeved shirt, but they chafe badly with a t-shirt.

I packed my GU and Gatorade, uploaded a couple new podcasts for my iPod, and, after much procrastinating, left the house. I parked at a high school to pick up the bike path that I love to run on. I picked a bad time to park there, because there were a billion teenagers pulling into the lot for school.

My plan was to do two out-and-back routes from my car. The first was a little under 12 miles, and the second was a little over 8 miles. The first few miles went by pretty quickly, and I didn't even look at my Garmin until mile five or so. I ate my first GU at mile eight, and was still feeling good.

At mile 10, the half-way point, I stopped for a second to stretch and send a text to Lealah. Lealah is a runner on my Ragnar team, and she was running her scheduled 20-miler at the same time I was. Since she lives in Oklahoma, we agreed to run together "in spirit"--via text message ;) I also snapped a quick picture since my phone was handy, and the scenery was pretty. As a bonus, there was nobody around to think about how vain I was, taking photos of myself.
Mile 10
At that point, I was running a 10:17/mi average pace--which is too fast for a 20-miler. Typically, my long runs during this training have been about 10:30/mi. This is where the whole run went downhill--not literally, because that would have made it easier! But the way I was feeling went downhill.

There wasn't a single cloud in the sky, so the sun was full-force. It was only 60ish degrees, but it felt hot with the sun and my long sleeves. I wished I'd worn a tank top. I pushed up the sleeves, and kept moving. When I reached my car, I refilled my water bottle with more Gatorade, stretched for a second, and then kept going. The last 8 miles was mostly through the Metropark, which is my favorite part of the run.

I was drinking a LOT of Gatorade through the run, but was still feeling thirsty. At 14.5 miles, I stopped for a bathroom break and to top off my Gatorade with water from the fountain. I ate my second GU. It was at this point that I started questioning whether I could actually do 20 miles. My body felt exhausted! My pace slowed drastically, and I took a short walk break.

At 16.6, I just felt like I was done. I had nothing left in me. My heart rate was up really high, and I was feeling short of breath. This only happened to me a couple of times before, the most memorable was when I hit the wall when running with Jessica. I sent Lealah another text:
I stopped for a minute, considering my options. I called Renee, to tell her that I might not be able to meet her for lunch, because I didn't know how long was going to take me to finish. I almost called Rik to whine about the run, but decided to take a true break instead. I decided to sit on the grass for 5-10 minutes, hoping that the break would give me fresh legs to finish it out.
Okay, I laid in the grass
I talked myself into finishing, because I had less than 3.5 miles left, and this was my last chance to get in 20 miles before the marathon. I started running again, at a pretty slow pace to keep my heart rate down. When my legs felt like lead, I stopped to stretch for a second. I took a few walk breaks the last 3 miles.

Those last miles took forever. Once I left the Metropark, I had just a half mile to go until I got to my car. I gave it everything I had, which wasn't much at all. I was so relieved when I heard the beep from my Garmin signaling the 20-mile mark!
The time and pace don't reflect the times I stopped moving. My walk breaks are figured in, but not my stretch breaks (or lying in the grass!).

I had just enough time to get home and shower before heading out to meet Renee and Jessica at Panera. We had to cancel plans to go to La Pita (it's far away and Jessica had a dentist appointment), but hopefully we'll be able to go there next week. I had a delicious lunch--tomato and mozzarella panini and chicken noodle soup with bread, for 17 PointsPlus.

The newspaper story about my Ragnar team was in today's paper (on the front page). But I will save that for tomorrow! This post is long enough.


  1. I'm glad the little episode wasn't a serious one and you could finish! I'm sure that has to feel great. Looking forward to tomorrow's post.

  2. Good for you for getting yourself through this last 20 miler, Katie! I lost some weight last year and started running in earnest as well. Now I'm in training for my second half marathon. But lately, I'm just not INTO it. I MADE myself run my 8 miles today. But it was really rough. I started reading your blog a few days ago and you were on my mind today. It turns out I was running (over here in Wisconsin) at the same time you were! We were both slugging it out together and we both got it done. Way to go Katie!


  3. You really make me feel like an asshole since I only did fifteen minutes on the treadmill last night!


  4. Katie...wohoo!
    I just did 20 min on my treadmill & I cannot eve dram about (20miles?)10 miles as of now!

  5. GREAT JOB! I'm getting panicky about my HALF. I was supposed to do my 11 yesterday but like an ass I went and did Insanity on Thursday and now I can hardly walk! Don't think I'm doing it today either! It's tomorrow or BUST!

  6. Great job! Even with a little bit of a set-back you kept your pace up and finished. Kudos to you!

  7. So inspiring! I love how you detailed everything, even your low thoughts. Every day I get a bit closer to running.

  8. 20 miles amazing!!! It is insanely mentally and physically tough but if it were easy, everyone would do it.

  9. You are such an inspiration and I love reading your blog. Just started couch25k. 😊

  10. I just did my first 5K yesterday and struggled through it. You are such an inspiration doing a 20 miler. Thank you for blogging and giving me motivation!

  11. I did my 20 on Friday also and the last 2 miles were terrible and I was an hour slower than your time 4:24!!! I am running the Grand Rapids Marathon the same day as the Detroit. I can't wait to get it over and enjoy normal workouts :) I know I can do it now, even if I have to walk the last few miles at least I will make it across the finish line. It was a beautiful day in Michigan on Friday and I had to take off my pull over about 3 miles into the run. Even being right next to Lake Michigan was warm for running.

  12. Hi Katie, I just heard about you from Frickin Fabulous at 40 (LOVE her). What a wonderful story - and great job getting through your 20 - boy do I know how that feels.
    I live in Colorado but my husband is from the Warren area. I'll be heading out for The Detroit Free Press Marathon (dragging 4 friends with me).
    I love to run in Metro Park when I'm out there - happily Ken with TNT let's me join his group for my longs - what a treat for me!
    Best of luck with your marathon! I know I'm looking forward to it!!

  13. Way to go! Ick, Gatorade always makes me thirsty.


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