Thank you all for the kind words and encouragement yesterday! I was panicking a little bit about the 20 miles. But as many of you wisely said, the best thing I could do was to just put one foot in front of the other (and chunk).
I didn’t say much about it, but I had been feeling like I was coming down with a cold starting on Wednesday night. Thursday morning I woke up with a very stuffy nose that stayed stuffy all day. I was also feeling really tired, which resulted in an early bedtime and extra sleep. Friday I was also feeling tired, but it was a rest day and I hoped that would be enough. My legs actually were feeling pretty good, but I was on the verge of exhaustion.
This morning I woke up feeling ready to go. I slept pretty well and that touch of a cold I had earlier this week was gone. I did my usual pre-long run routine (dishes, eat a Luna bar, get dressed, bathroom) and Barry and I headed to the trail. Barry ran an 18 mile long run yesterday morning and then decided to crew for me today. He rode his bike and carried a backpack with extra water, Powerade, Shot Bloks, Vaseline, and toilet paper. What a guy. Luckily I never needed the extra fuel, Vaseline, or toilet paper.
I started out on the Dora Trailin town and made my way up to the New River Trail (2.5 miles). Around miles 4-5 I got a little freaked out because my calves were sore, but I forged on and hoped that it would go away, which it did. I carried my handheld water bottle, Shot Bloks, and a PowerGel with me. At mile 5.5 I had 3 Shot Bloks and I started to feel better.
I kept rolling on and passed by Barry at a little picnic area and told him I was feeling good. After about mile 6 I was running on parts of the trail that I hadn’t been on before, which was nice. At mile 8.5 Barry caught up with me again on his bike, and rode with me from there to mile 14.
I reached my turnaround at mile 10 still feeling strong. Nothing was bothering me at this point, I didn’t even feel all that tired. Unbeknownst to me, I had just run on a gradual downhill for the past 4 miles and would have to climb back up it on the way back.
|Today’s elevation profile kind of looks like bird’s wings.|
I ate two more Shot Bloks and handed my water bottle off to Barry to be refilled. Having him along with me was wonderful. He was able to refill my bottle for me as needed so that I didn’t have to stop. He was also there to offer encouragement and chat with me along the way. We enjoyed a beautiful view of the mountains and the New River as we made our way back.
|Nice view, huh??|
As I crossed mile 14 I began a 3 mile section that was gradually downhill and I started to feel better. I had a strawberry banana-flavored PowerGel around mile 15.7. Have you noticed that I was nearly to mile 16 and hadn’t taken a walk break or stopped at all? That was a pretty big deal for me. I ended up having to stop at mile 17 (at the New River trailhead) to use the restroom. I would have liked to have been able to run the entire way without any stops, but when you gotta go you gotta go. I ran for nearly 3 hours and 20 minutes before taking a bathroom break, though.
After my break, I got back to work for the final 3 miles. My legs hurt so much at first when I started back, and I felt like I had lost my rhythm. But Barry had given me my iPod to listen to (and had refilled my bottle again) at mile 17, so I plugged into some tunes. I broke the last 3 miles down into half mile chunks. I had my final Shot Blok at mile 18.4 and then just kept chipping away until I finally got back to the truck, where Barry was waiting for me. It felt amazing to stop and sit down, and then to stretch a bit. I completed my first 20 miler without any walk breaks and just one stop (for a necessary bathroom break).
Once we got home, I decided what better way to celebrate my first 20 miler than with my first ice bath. I am not one to curse much, if at all, but I did say one or two bad words when I got in that bath. But hey, I bet you could but the Pope in an ice bath and he’d curse too!
|My “this hurts more than running 20 miles!” face.|
Overall I am feeling pretty good, surprisingly. My joints aren’t as sore as they were after last week’s 18 miler. I’m a bit sore overall, more so in my back than my legs, and I’m tired. But I’m also really happy with today’s accomplishment and of course I’m basking in my Hokies’ win over Pitt! I also just remembered Monday is a holiday, so I have the day off work. It’s shaping up to be a great weekend.