Sunday, August 17, 2014

Journey to 26.2: My 20 Mile Experience!!!

Okay I promise to always be real and upfront and not sugar coat anything when it comes to this training...

And with that being said, today's 20 miles were really, really tough.

I survived the 20 miles, but barely. I am sore, I am chaffed in all areas, areas you wouldn't even believe. That is what is hurting the most, I know everything else will start kicking in later and tomorrow morning. I think tomorrow might be a recovery day.

Okay so this is how the 20 miles went down. The highlights of those 4 plus hours. I got up at 3:00 am. I was awake and ready to go. I had my waffles with peanut butter and brought a chocolate peanut butter GU for the ride. I drank my 16 oz of water and carried on. I felt really good this morning, despite the fact I hardly slept last night. My mind was on over drive from knowing I had to get up to run, I just couldn't fully sleep. I wanted too, so bad but nothing would turn off.

I didn't realize how tired I was until I was getting into the run.

I was having a bit of an issue with my lap belt, it wasn't fitting correctly. My hydration pack was working just fine. It was so dark this morning at 4:00 and I was out by myself, which freaked me out a bit. We have a lot of homeless in St. Pete and they lay out on all the benches, no security or people in sight, it plays mind games with you. I bought clip lights for my hat, but they didn't light up anything, thankfully the street lights gave off a great glow.

I felt my pace to be really slow this morning and the humidity was killing me. It was just hanging there no breeze and I was sweating instantly. My stomach started to feel a bit off. I kept burping and it was tasting like peanut butter. I don't know why it was bothering me because I have always had waffles and PB before every long run. I am not sure if it was because I was up so early and ate late last night, but it was not working for me. Or it was the GU.

I put ice cubes in my water and well that didn't keep it long at all. I don't mind warm water at all, but warm NUUN is not refreshing. I was trying to gulp water like crazy. I got through 8 miles and then Pandora decided to just stop all of a sudden. I needed the music, the sound of my hydration pack with the water sloshing around, distracted me and so did my breathing. Finally, I stopped to fix it and the music kicked back in.

I had a GU around mile 6, but again not sitting very well. I ran for 8 miles then did a turn around to do the same route again before I went into the back neighborhoods, where I know I can get at least 3 miles in. I really had to talk myself into this because when I got to where I turned around, my mind was saying no, stop your car is right there. But I did a quick turn around and headed back again.

Still having stomach issues, that were quickly moving into, get to a bathroom soon issue. Of course it is super early in the morning and none of the public bathrooms were open yet. It was killing me and bringing down my pace for sure. At mile 10.86, my Garmin displays low battery. Well, I freaked, I didn't want to take a chance with it dying while I was in high mileage, so I stopped it on the watch, took a picture of the mileage and then started my Runtastic app, to carry me home until the end.

I liked for a bit not having my watch and just waiting for the mileage, but I kept having to do math to see where I really was haha. FINALLY, the bathrooms opened, I mean at this point it was almost 13 miles, I was in NEED. I instantly felt better, splashed cold water on my face, took a long, cold drink from the water fountain and kept going on.

Not going to lie, it was lonely running those 20 miles for awhile there. People were finally coming out and I was able to wave and say good morning and be inspired by those doing the same thing. My legs were giving out a bit and me getting to a 12 minute mile was just not having it. My feet were so heavy with water from puddles and sweat. I could feel the sweat making noise in my shoes. It was crazy.

My pants and shirt were so heavy from the sweat too. I felt like I was wearing a wet suit. I took my pace as was, just chanting over and over, I can do this. I was going to do this. There was a point I was going to stop, but I was so far out in the mileage, what was the point. Then I got mad at myself for even thinking it.

I cursed running and questioned why I was doing it and what was I thinking. Then that finish line came into view and it all made sense. I cant wait to the marathon because the weather in PA is wayyyyy different then FL and it was will be a great change of pace. Refreshing even, I will not complain, this heat and humidity is for the birds now.

At mile 17, I took a deep breath and just told myself, less than a 5k and you are done. I said, I run 5k's every Tuesday, I can do this now and you know what I did. It helped and I channeled my dad and just asked him to push me along.

Mile 18, I thought of my Poppy and how I couldn't wait to call him today and tell him I was doing this. I thought of my Mom and calling her, my running friends and family and being able to post this. Mile 18, my lucky number. I did take one more walk with mile 18, I was just feeling it.

Mile 19, I felt like I was crawling, but so happy it was the last mile. It seemed to go on and on and I watched that app like a hawk.

FINALLY, I was done!!!! I sat down and cried. Right there, just cried it was over and I did it.  I am an emotional person anyway, this just brings it all out. I was feeling all kinds of stuff. My feet hurt, my legs hurt, I wanted to get all my gear off of me, I wanted to take off my clothes, my hat, I just wanted to get home.

I couldn't believe I did 20 miles.

That shit was hard!!!

Sorry for the bad language, but for real, it was hard and running really is a mental game. I had to do a lot of positivity and mind over matter to get it through.

And not all was crazy and bad.

I saw a turtle, jumping fish, an older couple holding hands and walking, I got to pet a cute dog, I had so many smiles and mornings, it made my day. I saw sun beams, literally beams coming off the sunrise. It was gorgeous, I forgot to take a picture. I made myself stronger and realized how strong I really am. I valued the concept of a bathroom and how important cold water really is. The sound of the waves hitting the bay, made my morning, it was amazing.

While it was time consuming and terrifying and crazy, it was also a beautiful run. My first 20 mile run. Done.

I am so grateful for these training runs, they really help to work out the kinks.

Some things for next time, not the pants I wore, no GU, I am going back to sport beans and chews. More ice, and maybe a different flavor GU. Less peanut butter on the waffles, a banana before. Better sleep on the Friday before the long run and maybe taking melotonin or something to clear my mind before sleep the day before.

I am glad I did these miles, I am so happy to be on this journey. I cant believe now I just have to do that with 6.2 more miles. I know the atmosphere, the crowds, the weather and the adrenaline of everyone around me will carry me more when I run the actual marathon, I know that wont be a problem. My family and loved ones will be there to get me through.

Once, I was done, I recovered with Sport Beans recovery protein crisps, my stomach was still so weird and Dark Chocolate Coconut water, I drank the whole liter. It was such a sweet victory drink. I called James crying I did it. And then my mom. Texted Nanci and Jen, my boss, my mentor and dear friend.

When I walked in the house, James was there waiting for me with the robe. I always shiver and get super cold after my runs, to the point where I am teeth chattering. He wraps me in his robe and sits me on the couch to warm me up and makes me a coffee. It was just what I needed and seeing him standing there, well just about warmed me whole heart.

I took my first ice bath. It really sucked at first, then felt great. I got in for  15 minutes and I could feel a difference right away in my feet and calves. It really felt nice, even though it sucked haha.

Now I have spent the day again from the couch and bed. And I am so okay with that. I have been hungry, but nothing too bad. I am fueling with lots of protein, veggies, greek yogurt and fruit. It is working.

20 miles did something to me, it changed me, it made me realize, that yes, me, little Angelina Allerton, will be do this and will finish!!

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