Clearly from my use of exclamation points, I finished the 20-miler this morning. 🙂
The whole thing was just a great experience, precisely what everyone told me – as I’ve written before, CARA treats the 20-miler as a dress rehearsal for the real thing, so I had to pick up my packet material on Friday and there was a gear drop-off station and real water stops, etc etc etc – all really well done, really well organized, lots of volunteers out in force. And it was just a gorgeous day – cool in the morning with beautiful sunshine. Quite a change from our monsoon-miserable 14-miler!
Everything just went well – I slept well last night and felt really good this morning, found parking right near the race start, found my group no problem. The nice thing about this race was that CARA schedules the run/walkers to go first, so for one thing you get the experience of starting off right away (whereas for the marathon I’ll be a good hour behind the elites) and you all tend to finish in similar amounts of time. Granted the faster runners all pass you out on the course, but it works out.
My running partner and I stuck with our pace leader for a minute or two but quickly fell behind – no matter, because they were going a bit faster than what we were planning and we didn’t mind being behind the pack. I’d say the first 10 miles went really well – the first 5 flew, in fact. The way the course was designed, we ran north and knocked out about 4 miles, then the rest of the time was almost an entirely straight shot south.
All along in my head I knew I could default to walking and maybe around mile 12 I started to think more about it. I cannot blame my hip/tush – I really was not in pain – but my tummy was a bit on the fritz and I was just starting to feel tired all-around. So my running partner and I decided to run through 15 and then reevaluate. Sure enough, just past the 15 mile marker I told her to go on ahead. I wasn’t ready to stop running entirely but I was too tired to maintain our 5:1 ratio.
I held it together through mile 18, at first committing to a 2:1 ratio and then running…as the spirit moved me, haha. 🙂 But by then my tummy was REALLY not happy with me so I was more than ready to walk it in. I walked at a fast clip and those last few miles felt great. I did get the momentum to run past the finish line, and immediately started to cry! I was just so grateful to get through it, especially with the injury and everything – and now I am way more confident that I’ll finish the big one. My goal for the real marathon will be to run farther than I did today, and I expect I’ll still end up walking – but that’s okay. I just want to finish.
One quick little anecdote – around the 12th mile, there was a small loop on the course, so we ran north and saw a bunch of runners going south, coming out of the loop. I wasn’t paying attention but my running partner was – she immediately spotted our pace leader and our other running friend. They were making a huge fuss about us, but again, I didn’t even notice – until our friend started yelling out “Lani Runs Chicago!!!” I was so disoriented – I was like “oh my god, are my friends here?!” I thought that was so cute, and what a fun boost!!!
A few lessons learned – today I didn’t do the gear check because I was able to bring what I needed (phone, keys, emergency cash/credit card, water, and Shot Blocks) in my running belt and arm band. But when the real race comes, I’m going to carry only essentials with me and put the rest in the gear bag. And I will add hand sanitizer for after the run – not to be totally gross but I needed a few port-o-potties and while they all had toilet paper (thank god!) , they did not have antibacterial gel.
I need to research other fueling options. My cousin K (a way better runner than I am!) told me about some newer products out there that are more gentle on the tummy. I don’t know why I’ve been okay so far and all of a sudden today my stomach went haywire (obviously I know just being nervous was part of it), but I have 3 weeks till the big day; I can definitely experiment with other products.
I need to double up on body glide – all things considered I actually feel pretty great and didn’t chafe TOO much, but I’ll be on the course at least an hour longer during the real race – I need to put on more glide than I’ve been using.
Otherwise I’m just going to continue taking the anti-inflammatories and continue foam rolling and stretching and continue the physical therapy. Oh – that was a super nice way to end the morning – the company my PT guy works for had a booth set up at the finishing party and my PT guy specifically told me to find him afterwards – I did, and he stretched me right out. I felt great!
That’s all for today! I shall spend the remainder of the day on the couch – I know I’m forever extolling the virtues of a post-long run walk, but today I just want to stay in my PJs and relax! I’m going to do some gentle stretches and foam rolling this afternoon but otherwise am totally going to indulge in sheer laziness – which is a rarity for me!
Two more long runs to go and then the big day will be here!