20 miles to cautiously optimistic

I have read that a rule of blogging is to never apologize for not blogging. Hmmm....but I must. I am sorry I have been out of sync with my blogging recently. I feel I must tell you I will get back on the ball. The thing is, I have been running. Running hard. Running long. And last week I ran 48 miles. That takes time and the time must come from somewhere. And by not telling you that I feel I am not being honest in my story of juggling life as a running mom.

Just this past Sunday was long run day and my goal was 20 miles. I had another goal to run half of those miles at GMP (goal marathon pace). I had my third goal to hit the halfway mark at GMP...or better yet, 9'40". Sorry coach, but for some reason I feel determined to aim for 9'40" versus 9'50". I have no good reason at all for that. 

The run started out slow and dear hubby was trying so hard to not pull away. Or at least I will give him that credit as he was kind of pulling away here and there. It initially annoyed me since he was saying he didn't know if he could do the 20 miles, I was feeling tight and sluggish, and darnit! I need to do this run according to plan. Geeze oh my! But instead of getting frustrated I closed my eyes (just for a bit since I was running on the side of a highway), centered myself, and told myself to go with the flow and to trust myself. Starting slow is okay. And my first mile was indeed slow. I aimed to pick up my pace just a bit knowing that it would slow again around mile 5 with another long steady climb. I came up with a plan. 5 easy, 5 harder, 5 recovery, 5 do the best you can speedster. Don't all runners plan their running during their run?

Somewhere around the start of mile 6 I needed a pit stop but then I got focused on hitting my goal of reaching my halfway point at GMP...or better. I wasn't there yet. I needed to pick up the pace. I did. Dear hubby didn't. I didn't know what was up but knew he may run a different plan and didn't focus too much on it. He knew where I was going and was in all reality just a bit behind me. I wasn't going to turn back and look. After a few miles my stomach started bugging me terribly and I slowed down some. That helped my stomach and looking at my splits I figure it was the miles close to 8'00" pace that were getting to my tummy. Good to know.

The end to a tooth brushing battle.
The 10th mile was tough. It is on an uneven road with rolling hills and the inclines always feel so darn tough. I felt like a slug especially on some of the inclines. As I approached the turn around I felt even more sluggish and dear hubby was catching up to me. I was dying and as I got closer to the turn I really felt spent and all I could think was "Can I turn yet???? Please!!!"

Score 1: I was dying. Felt like a slug. How is this a score? I just wanted to turn and start my recovery 5 miles on the return. I never doubted I couldn't finish the 20 miles. I just wanted to turn and make the halfway point goal. I did. My phone told me 9'32" was my average pace and I was shocked! Imagine my shock now as I see my pace for that 10th mile when I was dying was 8'42". Yes, I may have slowed down a bit but that is still a stellar mile in my books.

As I made my way back over those rolling hills I didn't care much about pace. I was allowed to run easier now. I love that my easier pace was still rocking it at 8'59". I also love that my easy recovery miles were all below GMP. Yes, I was beginning the return of an uphill climb but the major downhill segments come later in my run. I feel this pace here is a true pace.

When I did hit that downhill segment I resisted the temptation to fly as I liked hearing how my overall pace was remaining pretty steady since the turn. It was ranging between 9'29" and 9'32". For me, that was cool. And I didn't need to race this run. Part of me wanted to finish the 20 miles feeling good. My hamstrings and glutes felt a bit tight here and there and I focused on relaxing those muscles during my run. Let go of the tension. Relax. Run. I can't say how successful I was at it but it seemed to work okay.

In the final two miles I decided it was okay to pick up the pace. At one point I told dear hubby that if he wanted to go ahead, go ahead. He did. I didn't race him. It didn't bug me that he was leaving me behind becasue 1) He is a much faster runner than I am. He is. His marathons take about an hour less than mine. Why would I set myself up for failure even if he says he feels he can't do a run? 2) I was setting my own personal record for a 20 mile run.

I am very happy about this run and I can't stop being very happy. 20 miles in 3:04:04. My overall average pace was 9'13". To reach my big dream come race day I would have about 1 hour and 15 minutes to run the final 6.2 miles. Sounds completely doable, right?

As I enter taper I am feeling pretty confident but cautiously confident. I know a marathon is a big race and I don't want to be overly confident but right now I am feeling better about my training for this marathon than any other one.

If you like the data portion of runs check out the elevation/pace profile and splits for my 20 miles.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for my coach.
Daily Affirmation: I am getting stronger each and every day.


  1. That's a great run - you should be happy with it.

  2. Sounds like a pretty stellar run. You're going to do great at your marathon. :-)

  3. Congrats on the run! Great job!


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