20- The White Whale

If you had told me 2 years ago that I would be training for a marathon, I would have laughed at you.  If you had said that marathon training would happen during a CA summer, I would have responded with a “hell no”.  Had you said that I would get up early on a Sunday morning and go run a 20 miler by myself- I would have told you that you needed to have your head examined.

And yet, that’s exactly what I did.

While I was set on following Hansons, I admit that I had planned some adjustments to the long runs.  I had hoped for a 16 in April, 18 in May, 20 in June and a second 20/22 in July.    16 in April was a success- ran it with Heather and Ashley.  18 in May?  Yeah, that never happened.  Could I pull off 20?

I stuck to the training plan for April and May.  Then I got hurt- since then I’ve been taking it easy on my weekday runs and focusing on the long runs.   The long runs are about the only part of Hansons I’m still doing but really I’m just doing my own thing.   And my own thing really wanted to do 20 this weekend.   Ok, maybe want is not the right word.  ๐Ÿ˜›

Is it sad that one of my biggest worries about this run was getting myself out of bed in the morning?   It’s been averaging in the 105 range here so I knew I would have to head out early.  But I want to sleep in!  I set my alarm and just hoped I wouldn’t hit snooze one too many times.

When you turn your trunk into an aid station
I still haven’t quite figured out how to carry enough water comfortably so I set my car up as an aid station.  I had extra water, Gatorade, Nuun and Honey Stinger chews.  I had a change of shoes, a change of socks and a fresh shirt.   It pays to be prepared right?  I had a looped route planned- 5 miles, then 10, then the last five.  I told myself it was less intimidating if I only thought about each loop at a time.

I started my run around 6:15.  I had hit snooze a few times.  Oops.  I started the run in my new Brooks.  It’s one of the reasons I planned my first loop as a short one.   I walked around 3/4 of the first mile just to make sure I didn’t have a sudden bloody blister problem like the last time I tried to break in new PureFlows.     Everything felt ok so I started running.   I am never out that early, it felt odd.  I thought there would be multiple other people put beating the heat but there wasn’t.   I was feeling pretty good so my first loop ended up being just shy of 8 miles.  I hit my car and filled my water bottle back up and ate 2 chews.

Time for loop 2.   People were starting to appear!  It was also warming up.   My loops were actually comprised of 3 smaller loops around neighborhoods- I could tell it was getting hotter faster than predicted so I looped the top one twice on the second big loop as it was the part of the route with the least amount of shade. I figured I should get it out of the way before it was full on hot.    I also threw down a 10 minute mile in this loop. I never felt like I was moving that fast.   I had only used 1/2 of my water bottle on the first big loop, now I was only halfway through the second loop and I knew I was going to run out.  I made another course adjustment and was able to hit my car just shy of 16 miles.

Manual dexterity was tricky as I was super sweaty so instead of pouring water into my Orange Mud bottle, I just switched bottles.  ๐Ÿ˜›  I was also feeling some chafing around my sports bra, so I took one of those extra socks, got it wet and shoved it in my sports bra.  Classy right?

Loop 3.   I won’t lie I was getting a little tired but overall I felt pretty good.  I hit 16 miles in 3:03 and I was pretty stoked- that was faster than my last one!  I might actually finish 15 minutes before my projected time of 4 hours!  Then came the last 4 miles.   Oh holy heatwave.  It was only in the 80’s but it felt like 100 to me.   My legs were tired but felt like they had more miles in them, my stomach was decent but holy crap, I was hot.   I went through almost 23 ounces of water in 4 miles.  The loop turned into more of an out and back up a hill and I kind of crawled.   But I got it done!!!

20 miles in 3:53:13.  I was still under 4 hours!  And considering mile 17 was 13:10 and 18 and 19 weren’t much faster, I’ll take it!     I walked a little ways back towards my car and took advantage of a shady spot on the path.  I plopped myself down and just sat there for a while.   I was kind of surprised at myself.    Holy crap people, I ran 20 miles- voluntarily.  By myself.  On a Sunday.  I actually followed through and got my ass out of bed early.   I don’t know who I am right now.  

I ended up dumping a bottle of water of over my head to cool off and took myself through the McDonald’s drive thru for a much craved Diet Coke.  It tasted amazing.   ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š

Ever surprised yourself with a run?  Or anything really?

What do you crave after a hot run?




29 thoughts on “20- The White Whale

  1. Wow congratulations! I still remember how I felt finishing my first 20. And, nice pace too!

    Your marathon is so close but I also can’t believe it’s not here yet. It seems like you’ve been training for this forever! I think my brain is just not used to the idea of a marathon in July, haha.


    1. Thank you!!
      It’s been a long 13 weeks! I can’t decide if I am more scared or excited that there are only 5 weeks left! Yeah, a marathon at the end of July means some rough long runs- I don’t think I really anticipated how rough- oops!


  2. That’s awesome!! That’s a lot of feats all in one go! Getting out of bed, running in the heat and running 20 miles are all things I would have to force myself to do just on their own!! Good work!


      1. Yeah, I am really sad about the not sleeping in part. Taking naps during the day just isn’t the same. Plus they get out of hand and next thing I know it’s 6 pm!!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. This is totally awesome, great job. Our bodies are capable of so much and all we have to do is get out of bed lol. When we ouch ourselves past our comfort zone we get to see the amazing things we are capable of doing. Great run and awesome post!!


  4. Ah, congrats on the big 2-0! That’s so great. I’m starting my training next week, I’ll have to tap into your determination when my 20 miler comes around.


  5. Well done on doing a 20 miler all on your own – I entered 20 mile races for both of mine for my first marathon. Not sure how I will cope this time around as there aren’t as many in the summer and Autumn. And I’m pretty sure I’ll be in sunny SF for my last one in October, so it may be crazy hot for a pasty Brit!


    1. Thank you! If I had a 20 mile race as an option I probably would have taken it! Unfortunately, we don’t have anything other than the standard race options out here. I’ve always wanted to race a 10 mile race but we don’t have any of those either. October in SF shouldn’t be too bad, they are usually more temperate than we are here. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Great run!! The 20 mile run is a huge deal, so helpful mentally. If you can run 20 you can run 26.2! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Did your shins feel good afterward?


  7. Great job getting up and getting it done! Yeah, it can be brutal between heat and hydration and just the distance … but you did it!

    I definitely surprised myself doing double-digit miles for the first time … it is amazing what your body can deliver!


  8. Boo yeah!! I wanted to high-five you the whole time I was reading this post ๐Ÿ™‚ I remember being so surprised at the first (and only, actually!) time I went for a 10-miler and actually got it done. I can’t even imagine doing 20 at this point! Brilliant idea with using your car as an aid station!! I may have to steal that in the future ๐Ÿ˜‰


    1. Thank you!! I don’t remember my first 10 miler, I do remember my first 12 a few years ago though- it was miserable! I don’t think I ran another one until this year. ๐Ÿ™‚ The car worked great and I really didn’t linger- that was a concern I had going in.


  9. Nice! I thought I was going to die after my first 20 miler – it was so hard! I’m glad that you had such a positive experience and it looks like you’re almost ready for the big day.


  10. You did it!!! Great job! What an amazing run and great prep for it. After a hot long run, I always crave french fries…or really potatoes in any form haha – mashed, baked, fried, I don’t care just as long as it’s got lots of salt!!


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