Lessons Learned from a 20 mile run

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So my 20 mile run in my training schedule is done \O/ thank God for that. It felt worse than I thought it was going to, but that definitely could have been avoided. So here are the good and not-so-good things that I’ve learned.

I started the day off late. Of course it would be right for everything to go as planned before a planned event. There must be a mommy mishap to make it alright. The night before the run my little one was very congested. He coughed through the night and only seemed to breath normally when he was sitting up right so I had to sleep upright with him on my chest for most of the night. Oh and that was AFTER he decided it was time to play and have a conversation for about 3 hours in the middle of the night. Any who that was a side bar.

Needless to say I woke up LATE! I wanted to be at the site of the marathon practice run that was organized by Fleet Feet in Montclair, NJ, by 6:30. This way I could have enough time to borrow a Timex GPS watch, stretch, chat and be ready to start with the 10minute mile pacer. Wweellll that didn’t happen. I missed my alarm and didn’t get up until 6:30 and of course my little one wanted to nurse a bit before I left. Thank goodness I laid my clothes out the night before so I just had to slip on my clothes and get out the door.

When I arrived I had just enough time to get a watch. Unfortunately I missed the 10minute group and started with the 11minute group not too bad especially since I got to chat with my running buddy for a few minutes when we started. I decided to play catch up and sped up a bit to the 10min group. I felt ok so I passed that group and ended up running in between the 10s and 9s. No prob right? I’m at a good pace, high 9s low 10s and I’m alone so now I can start going through my prayer list.

I hear foot steps behind me and I start chatting with a 60 year old young man, Michael, who has run multiple marathons and even challenged himself to run 2000 mile in 2000. WHOO!! He is full of advice and we kind of loose focus on the run. I look down at my watch and we are running mid 8s. WHAT?!?! Wait a minute this is only mile 4, I need to slow down. LOL! We get to the end of the first of 4, 5 mile loops and Michael is finished with his run for the day. I look back at my watch and I’m back to my comfortable pace again 9s and 10s.

By the time I got to the end of the 3 loop I was happy to latch on to a few people from the 10minute mile group that I passed earlier. I met 4 more people and started chatting again. Thank goodness this time there was a father daughter team and the daughter was training for her first marathon also, so we were going about the same pace. The father was very nice and also full of advice and even poured some Gatorade for me at the Power Bar fuel station that was organized by Fleet Feet. We get to the end of the 3rd loop (15 miles) and they are done. So I’m back to my prayer list and at this point I need to pray for myself. I need some strength to get through the last 5 miles especially since my right leg was starting to cramp. AAAHHH!!!

Around mile 17 I looked at my watch and I was now running low 11s. Oh no, that was NOT part of the plan. Usually my last 5 miles are much closer to my goal race pace, mid 9s. So I slowly got back down. Thank goodness the end of the loop is down hill, something to look forward to. I finished my run in 3hrs in 24secs and I had never felt so crampy after a run until then. My right side was a mess. I took a bottle of water and walked a bit before getting instructions on how to get my stats from the watch.

After the run I headed straight to a football game and at a breakfast bar and a banana. Then I went to a fair and did not end up eating a REAL meal until about 6:30pm. Not a good move!

After reflecting a bit I was able to figure out what I learned from this run. It was not a complete failure after all I finished on my feet LOL! So below is what I learned from this run the good and the not-so-good:

Let’s start with the not-so-good:

  • set more than 1 alarm (For me, 5 or 10 minute intervals may work best)
  • lay out food in addition to clothes (I think a half of a peanut butter sandwich would have been great to start such a long run, I don’t usually eat anything before runs but the day I ran my last half marathon and PR’d [2:00:19] I had a little bowl of oatmeal about 45mins before the race)
  • STRETCH STRETCH STRETCH!! (even if I’m running late it will make a huge difference to take the time to stretch and get loose before I start, especially for long runs)
  • run my pace (playing catch up was not a good idea, I think my overall time may have been different if I paced myself accordingly from the beginning, even if someone joins me)
  • don’t try new things along the way (I tried the PowerBar energy gel that was provided and it was GROSS!! My body is not used to that and it did not work for me. Neither did the PowerAde. Maybe trying fuel options during my shorter long runs LOL is better. I’d like to try a few recipes from nomeatathlete.com so I better get on that within the next few weeks.)
  • don’t have plans for after the run (I should have gone home, stretched [maybe used the foam roller] had a healthy, balanced breakfast or even a smoothie and rested.

Great things about this run:

  • I finished ☺
  • it was great to run with other people who are training for a marathon and have run them in the past
  • lessons were learned BEFORE race day
  • I now know I only have 6.2 miles to go (I CAN DO THIS!!)

Overall the run was a success! There is one more 20miler in my schedule but I don’t think I’ll be doing that, after chatting with a couple of people at the race and hearing from my running buddy the second one is not necessary. YES!!

Stay tuned for more updates. Race day is a month away! WHEW!

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This is the watch I used (not my stats). It was very light weight and easy to read. It’s $100, not a bad price for a GPS watch, a purchase for me to think about so I can explore it a bit more.

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2 thoughts on “Lessons Learned from a 20 mile run

  1. Michele

    are you kidding me when you describe – “not so good leanings.” In my book, any time you are learning, it’s a good thing. Keep doing what you’re doing – it’s therapeutic for me to read about your journey. Thanks for being so honest and exposing yourself as you do. As a result of you sharing as you have, I’ve been inspired to get back on the horse and resume regular workouts. Things had fallen off as late, but over the last 3 weeks, I’ve exercised no less than 3 times per week – this week, I’ve already been out “moving” every day since Sunday. So a mighty thank you to you for sharing, for caring and for being such a beacon of light. Run, Jill, run!

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