So, here it goes!
We began our run in Juno Beach just past 5:30AM. Temperatures were good, I had eaten the same as I did 2 weeks before on Christmas Eve when I ran the previous 20 miler (a diet of white bagels, I realize not optimum pre long run food). I knew going into the run that my legs were a bit sore due to a very challenging class I had taken Wednesday at the gym. (This class will come back to haunt me from about mile 15 1/2 thru 21!) Not your normal "Step" class, though we do use the steppers (I can't do those jump over, jump back, somersault over the step type of classes...more mind work for me that a real workout as I stand with a confused look on my face for 2/3 of the class). No, this class was the opposite...40 minutes of squats and lunges, toe taps and box jumps off of a 3 tiered stepper. MY KIND OF CLASS!
Miles 1 thru 10 were pretty harmless. I had Jen (pictured with me above) and Meg my running buddies there and like always we talk and talk and talk some more. We dropped Meg at the parking lot at the 1/2 way point and began out on the 2nd half of our run. My legs were sore and for some reason my Cliff Espresso double shots weren't doing their normal thing for me and my stomach even felt a bit uneasy.
Miles 10 thru 15 were Ok. I told Jen over and over that "my legs are sore and heavy....LEAVE me if I am slowing you down." Surprisingly, the days pace was actually really good, much faster than the other 20 miler.
Miles 15 thru 21 were torture, a disaster....At the turn around I sat down to stretch because my legs were beginning to tighten up in a way I have never felt. My calves felt like they have golf ball sized knots in them and essentially my body from the waist down was falling apart. From the waist up I was OK, but when your body takes a huge nose dive, unfortunately it is very very easy for your mind to become best friends with your body and decide that it too is about to lose it. When we began to run that final 5 miles my knees wouldn't bend and my stride was all off, my mind was telling me over and over to just stop. "you are going to hurt yourself!!!!" But I just couldn't stop. I think I stopped to stretch about 5 times which is very unlike me...I like to push through. I couldn't gage if stopping to stretch was even beneficial because when I would stand back up my body would be stiff and I would once again have to try and loosen up when we took off again. This is when my mind LOST IT!
Some quotes from me
" I am stopping at 20 miles because that was all we were supposed to do"
quickly followed by
"I will run the whole 21 miles''
"I am going to slow it down"
quickly followed by my pace speeding up to an 8 min pace.
After one stretching stop I even almost fell due to a mixture of fatigue and dizziness...in addition to miss stepping a few times and almost falling off the sidewalk simply because I felt like my legs were doing what they wanted not necessarily what I wanted them to do.
3 hours and 23 minutes later we finished all 21 miles and I still can't believe I made it those last 5 miles. I don't think my description does any justice to how I really felt, but believe me when I tell you it was awful. It was a huge shock simply due to the fact that the 20 miler 2 weeks ago was a PIECE OF CAKE. During the run and since the run I have been going over and over in my head what exactly caused it all to go in such a different direction from what I had intended. We did go at a faster pace, but it didn't feel as though we were pushing it. I hydrated properly as well as fueled myself before and during the run. The only thing that I guess did it was that damn class 3 days before.
So, now looking back at the run 24 hours later...
-I am so proud I did it
-that I actually ran an 8min+ last mile
-that I didn't stop when I said over and over that I had to...and that at mile 20 I would just sit down and be done, not finishing the last mile (NO, I am one of those people who would beat myself up to no end all day and probably make myself throw my boys in the double BOB and complete that final mile.)
-that Jen and I ran 21 miles in 3:23, 2 minutes FASTER and 1 mile FURTHER than our last 20 miler
Have you ever had one of those demoralizing runs? Hope not, but let it be known if you have I am right there with you.