I had my furthest training run ever this weekend – 12 miles. In the past, the longest I have run was 10 miles. I figured if I could run 10 miles, I would be able to run the last 3.1 with adrenaline and will power.
It has worked for me, so I never pushed myself further…until yesterday. Finding out that I had allergy-induced asthma threw a big wrench into my training. The asthma affected me so much that I had to drop out of a race a few weeks ago.
I am determined to bounce back. And with the Marine Corps 17.75k (11.1 miles) coming up this weekend, I knew I needed to push myself hard in order to gain the confidence and strength to get back into distance running.
All week long I hyped myself up mentally for this long run. I have not ran any significant distances since my last half marathon in May. I needed this long run both for my physical and mental endurance.
I woke up at 5:45 on Sunday morning. First I fed Bill. I lounged around for a while, stretching and drinking water. Then I had a banana with sun butter, which is my typical pre-race meal.
Finally at around 7:30, I left for Mount Vernon to get to the George Washington Parkway. The Parkway is my favorite for running because it has mile markers, a paved trail, bathrooms and water fountains. It’s the perfect spot for a run.
By 8:00, I was running. The first few miles were a breeze. My legs warmed up pretty quickly. At mile 3, I saw my bald eagle friend. I haven’t seen them much this summer, so it was a pleasant surprise.
By the time I hit mile 4, I was slightly regretting to decision to do 12 miles. My lack of training was affecting me. Plus that section of the trail is super hilly. But I could think of no good reason to turn around. So I told myself to woman up and keeping running.
At mile 5, I stopped for a stretch and a coffee flavored Gu gel. The gel gave me some much needed calories and I caught my second wind. Miles 5-8 were a great – slow and steady, no pain, easy breathing…I found my zone and hit my stride. They were my favorite miles of the run. At mile 8, I stopped to use the bathroom, take a walk break and eat some Jelly Belly sports beans.
I can’t run on a full stomach so bringing fuel is super important. Miles 9-11 took me through Old Town, Alexandria. This was a welcome distraction because lots of people were out and it gave me something new to focus on.
The only downfall is that I had no shade. The sun beating down on the sidewalk was really draining me. But I had already made it so far. So I kept running on.
Marcus was picking me up at mile marker 12 which is at the marina right before Reagan National Airport. I pushed on, wanting to see that mile marker.
After leaving Old Town, I hit a few more hills and a little section of marshy swamp land. Finally, up ahead I could see the Potomac River and boats. Then….
mile marker 12.
I have always wanted to run from 0 to 12. Finally, I did it! It felt soo good to stop and stretch my whole body. As soon as I stopped, I was hit with the runner’s high. I was so proud of myself – so proud that I didn’t turn around, so proud I ran the full 12 miles, and so proud that I didn’t let the asthma set-back affect me for too long.
Right as I was finishing up, Marcus pulled up. And we immediately hit up Whole Foods for the breakfast buffet. There is no better meal after a long run, if you ask me.
I am definitely ready for the Marine Corps 17.75k this weekend. I do not recommend going from baby training runs, to a monster training run. But I needed to prove to myself that I still had it and that I was capable.
The rest of the day was spent napping, eating, hanging with Marcus and Bill…
and watching the Skins win!
I am super amped for this race. I am sure it will be difficult (because the Marines love a difficult course), but I am always up for a challenge. Physically, I can do it. I just need to get my mind right and run.
Just run! 😀