Wednesday, October 1, 2014

22 Miles

Hi everyone!  I've been in the thick of marathon training and obviously not so great at updating the blog.  How do bloggers do this on the regular?

So last Saturday I had my last long run pre-MCM.  It's a little farther out from race day than I normally like to have my longest mileage run but I figure an extra week of taper won't kill me.  I got up bright and early to meet the Team in Training staff to prep for our "dress rehearsal" run.  TNT's last long run is not only the longest mileage of the season but also an opportunity for team members to test out everything they plan to wear/eat/drink on race day.  We also do everything we can to emulate what race day will be like for them, including water stations, "race" bibs, our own little finish line (finisher's tape included) and "medals".  It's pretty fun!

As usual, before we start our run we have a mission moment in which we talk about an honoree who we are dedicating our run to.  This run was being dedicated to Effy, a vivacious little girl that some of us had the pleasure of meeting last season and who is still fighting her battle with Leukemia.  We even took a group pic with all us doing the thumb's up (something that Effy did before we all started our run last year).

Two of my mentees this season. So proud of them!

Go team!
With that, we were off!  Thankfully I had some good friends who, although not part of TNT, were out for a run that morning anyway and joined me for the first 10 miles of  the run.  The miles always fly by when you share them with good friends!  My plan was to keep the first half of my run around 10:35-11:00 min/mile pace then drop pace to closer to 10:15 min/mile for the second half.  That didn't happen.  I am horrible at keeping my pace slow in the beginning and I'm naturally a chaser so every time someone sped up, I did too.  At one point we had sped up to a 9:30 min/mile. Oops!  It seemed like in no time at all we were back at our starting point and my friends went off to breakfast while I continued on to get my remaining 12 miles in.
10 miles with these smiling faces
Our TNT team is a comprised of participants who are mostly training for the Nike Women's Half Marathon so I knew there were only a handful of people running 22 miles that morning, two of whom I had seen about a mile ahead of me.  I hate running solo so despite my plan to keep my pace slower, I ended up speeding up to try to catch them (I may or may not have ran a 9:00 min/mile.  Pacing fail!).  Eventually I caught up to them and we quickly fell into pace.  Steve was planning on running 14 miles that day so he eventually dropped off to turn back and I continued on with Janine.  Janine is amazing!  Not only is she one of my fellow run mentors for the season but she's also a cancer survivor.  In fact, I met Janine during my first season of TNT when I was training for my first marathon.  She was also training for her first marathon and happened to be going through radiation and chemo at the time.  However, no matter how badly she felt she would always show up at track and during our long runs.  She's truly inspirational!

We kept running along until around mile 13 when Janine started hurting.  She tried to convince me to keep running but I wasn't having it.  I had a gnarly side cramp anyway so I was grateful for the opportunity to try to work it out.  We were going to finish that run together no matter what!  We fell into a manageable run/walk pattern and got it done!  We both crossed that finish line with huge smiles on our faces and were promptly given our "medals".

Janine is my inspiration! BTW, that's cheese in my hand.

22 miles done!
Afterwards, we all milled around and enjoyed a potluck (I stuffed my face immediately after finishing. I have no shame.) and chatted about upcoming races and what first timers should expect.  It was a good run day and I am really looking forward to tapering! 

Are you training for a Fall race?  Which race are you training for?  How's training going?

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