The big 2-0!

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.

ο»ΏI 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??
Things started to get a bit rough for me around mile 12. I was starting to feel the amount of time I had been running, as well as the gradual uphill that would last for the next 2 miles. We had seen the Radford University cross country team run by earlier, and right around this time two of the girls passed us on their way back to their starting point. They both offered some words of encouragement and praised my Oiselle shorts. That was pretty cool. When I got to mile 13, I had another Shot Blok and then powered on to mile 14, where I handed off my water bottle to Barry to be refilled again.


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.
I stayed in for 15 minutes and read some of my book (Force of Nature by C.J. Box) to keep my mind of things. It really wasn’t that bad after the first minute, because my legs lost all feeling.


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.

Have you ever taken an ice bath?

Have you ever had someone crew for you during a run or race?

19 thoughts on “The big 2-0!”

  1. Way to go!!!! What a pretty trail and that was so awesome of Berry to come help you πŸ™‚ When I told Peter I was doing 9 this weekend he was like “i could probably drive that pretty fast” πŸ˜› silly boy. I’m not sure if I could handle an ice bath but reading sounds like a good way to pass the time! I hope the rest of your weekend is great πŸ™‚

  2. CONGRATS on finishing you first 20-miler! That’s huge!! And I would be cursing a blue streak in that ice bath. I ran my 2nd 20-miler on Friday, and it was tough! I don’t think running 20 miles ever gets easy. And, wow, those views were beautiful!

    1. Thanks! We did get some really beautiful views on the trail yesterday.Stephanie- Yes, all of those pictures were taken during my long run πŸ™‚ It was overcast for most of the run, but the clouds were perfect for that picture of the river. I snapped that as I crossed one of the many trestle bridges on the trail.

  3. Twenty miles – knew you could and would do it. An ice bath sounds refreshing after that run and what better than to be reading CJ Box.Congrats! And as a point of reference, it took me 1:45 to go 20 commute 20 miles from work on Thursday.LUD.

    1. I wouldn’t necessarily call it refreshing, but I think it worked wonders for my recovery. C.J. Box was a wonderful distraction during those 15 minutes.

  4. Meagan, your training has been so amazing/enjoyable to read about. You’ve come so far in such a short amount of time, and your dedication is inspiring! Way to go!Also, you live in a gorgeous area! I love that lake picture.I’ve found that the only way I can stomach ice baths is by wearing socks on my feet. It sounds weird, but the cold doesn’t cut you as deep when you wear them.

    1. I would never have thought to wear my socks in the tub. I also do not go in in my running clothes unless I am outside and ice bathing in a river or some outside water.

    2. Thanks, Jeano! I was surprised at how that lake/river picture came out! I literally pulled my camera out of the pouch on my handheld water bottle holder, snapped the picture while running, and then shut the camera off. It was a nice surprise when I loaded the pictures onto my computer! Hmmm socks in the tub- I never thought of that, either. Holly, clearly she meant as opposed to on her hands πŸ˜‰ She wanted to make sure her tip was clear!

  5. I want to come run on your trails! Way to go on finishing this run like a rockstar and taking the ice bath after. I tend to “forget” to take ice baths.

    1. I’d be more than happy to share them with you! I think the ice bath will be a staple in my post-20 mile routine, because I felt really good today.

  6. Meagan, this is fantastic! Remember just…oh, say maybe 10 weeks ago, when you were taking walk breaks during your 7 or 8 milers? Your training is progressing FANTASTICALLY – and it seems both mental and physical. I love reading this kind of stuff.Terrific job – and kudos to Barry for acting as your support staff on the run. That definitely helps the time pass, and takes away some of the worry about logistical issues. Go Barry! I hope you are still riding the “high” from this race – and continue to, right into training this coming week!

    1. Thanks, Holly! At a low point during my run yesterday, Barry actually reminded me of the same thing- of how far I have come since I started my training. Mentally, I’m in a good place right now πŸ™‚ I’m not getting cocky, but after that 20 mile run I feel confident that I CAN do this in November. And that’s a good feeling!

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