Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Out for Blood's 20 Miler

LB, Kelli, Jackie, me, Amanda, Lauren, Kristin, Joanna, and Jess

Talk about an emotional weekend. Hurricane Joaquin sent a precursor rain event to the DC area on Wednesday that lasted through Saturday morning and left the weekend's weather as a HUGE unknown for all of us scheduled to run our longest training run of the season. We were all checking for weather updates, debating about running with the team on Saturday morning, or switching to Sunday, and remembering the last time we skipped a Saturday run for "better weather" on Sunday (post linked).

But as Hurricane Joaquin's trajectory was unknown as of midday Friday, we were alerted that most of the area's race organizers canceled their events for the weekend (including the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Half Marathon, where LB and I were set to volunteer at the expo that evening, and several of our TNT teammates were scheduled to run on Sunday), AND that our coaches had decided to change our 20 mile run day and time from 6:45am on Saturday, to 8:45am on Sunday. And then, the storm turned out to sea. I certainly don't fault anyone for having a cautious attitude about the unknown weather, but I was a little bit of a nervous wreck on Saturday, and from 5am on Sunday morning, just waiting for it to be time to run. I also felt really bad for the people who missed out on their event.

But the TNT coaches MADE UP for everyone who missed out AND made the MCM team's 20 miler AMAZINGLY special!! When we arrived at training, they had bibs for everyone, they sent the 20 milers out, and then set up race corrals for the half marathoners.

I had a plan for my 20 miles. I was going to take the first 5 out easy, around 10 minute miles, then descend to 9:30s for 5, descend again to 9:00 for 5 miles, then run 5 more miles easy. The coaches had set up the course to be 5 out, 5 back, 5 out the other direction, and 5 back. It was a nice way to run and never be too far from support! I started out running with Amanda, Lauren, and Jess, but there was a little bit of grumbling about pace (even though we were right around 10 minute miles), so I decided to just run on my own and leave them. I picked up mile 5 to a 9:00, cooled my jets a little on mile 6, then caught sight of Jackie, who was straight running, and decided to pick it up to catch her.

I didn't really know how the 20 miler would feel, and I wasn't expecting anything great out of myself, so I decided to just run on feel. The W&OD trail is marked every 1/2 mile, so I took manual splits on my watch and tried to keep my half miles around 4:25, but I wasn't holding myself back at all. Here are my mile splits:

Mile Split
7 8'40"
8 8'51"
9 8'44"
10 8'09"
11 8'18"
12 8'25"
13 8'05"
14 8'36"
15 8'58"
16 8'52"
17 8'29"
18 8'29"
19 8'58"
20 8'59"

It might look like I started to die at mile 15, but I actually made the conscious decision to slow down, as per the plan, but then I saw the girls on their way out and sped up to around 8'30" again, then caught some of the guys that started a head of me, and finished in with them. It was crazy how amazing I was feeling. I don't think I have ever felt that good in a long run at that pace, ever! In fact, I hit 20 miles at 3:00:14 on the clock, 6 minutes faster than I did 20 miles in my 4:09 marathon.

I ran 60:30 second intervals for most of the long run, dropping to 45:30 at mile 14.5, so my run pace probably stayed pretty consistent, even when I changed my intervals! (I LOVE 30 second walk intervals!!! Here's Galloway's info about them)

After refilling my water, I headed back out with coach Craig to get the girls. I was feeling pretty good and I know he runs straight through, so we did half mile run repeats with 30 second walk breaks until I caught up with Lauren, Jess, and Amanda, about 2 miles in. Wouldn't you know, those miles were 8'17" and 8'45"! Once I finished up with that group, I went back out to get Kristin and Joanna. All in all, I added another 7.31 miles at a 10'40" average to my 20.58 miles at a 9'00" average. It was seriously my best long training run ever!


This marathon training season has been one of the most up and down training seasons of my life. First, I felt invincible, training more days than I ever have before and PRing the 5k! Then I was injured, with the worst leg pain I have ever had, yet I was still able to run amazing paces through the pain. Then I took 3 weeks off and was uncertain about everything! Slowly I got back to my training, making sure to take it easy, only running 3 days a week. And then I run the most boss 20 miles of my life! In fact, if you swap out my three slowest in my 20 for my 3 fastest in my 7, I was ahead of my 20 mile time from last year's marathon!

It's been a wild ride of confidence and uncertainty. :)

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