Monday, November 4, 2013

The 14 Mile Run that Almost Wasn't

Going into my long run this weekend, I was feeling excited and anxious to start building mileage for the marathon. I had a great run week, and my legs were feeling fantastic for the first time post half marathon last month. I felt so great throughout in the week in fact, I did something not so smart. I worked my legs incredibly hard with weight training Thursday evening. Friday morning, I completed 45 minutes of cross training and lifted working chest and back. Feeling like my old trim, slim, boss style self, I was PUMPED to run 14 miles Saturday morning. I had plans with the Sole Sistas to meet for our weekly post run coffee date, running from my house to the coffee shop where I would either A.) hitch hike home or B.) call for back up.

Saturday morning I woke up about 5:00am with my legs feeling incredibly tight. I couldn't even touch my toes, when ordinarily I can easily lay my hands on the ground in front of me. I knew this wasn't a great sign, but whatever, I was going to log this run anyway! Feeling excited to hit a new distance, and start my day Sole Sista style, I would not be deterred. I ate a Quest bar, drank some water, did a little stretching and hit the road. From the beginning my legs felt heavy, tight, and running felt laborious. The feeling only intensified the further I pushed myself.

Saturday morning, I didn't get very far.

I had to call time on this run less than 1.5 miles in. I couldn't even walk home, and my husband had to pick me up. At first, I really thought I had pulled my left hamstring. After sending Sabrina (Sole Sista, Life Coach, Sista from another Mista) a few melodramatic texts, she talked me back from the brink by describing what a pulled hamstring actually feels like, and I definitely didn't have any of those symptoms. My pride took a major hit calling time on this run, but there is no way humanly possible I could have run 14 miles Saturday.

After taking a shower, I crawled back in bed with my battered pride and felt majorly sorry for myself. Womp Womp. Self doubt was majorly creeping in, setting up shop in a sun lounger laughing at me.. Maybe I'm just not meant to be a marathon runner. Maybe I will never be able to run a marathon.Maybe my body can't handle all this mileage. Maybe I should focus on completing 10ks and halfs as fast as I can and be happy with that distance. Maybe I should just be satisfied with the half. Marathons aren't for everyone.

About 8:30 I decided to get up out of bed and stop feeling sorry for myself. My husband and I ran errands together, and I finally invested in my own foam roller. I had been using the gym's foam rollers. I spent the remainder of the day catching up on Scandal and Revenge, my two guiltiest pleasures, foam rolling, taking ibuprofen every four hours and generally being a lazy slob kabob. It was a-maz-ing. I decided to try my long run again on Sunday, but if anything felt off, I was going to stop and I wasn't going to beat myself up about it.

Sunday, I woke up alarm-less, and slept very late for me 8:30am!!!! First things first, checked out the leg situation. I can now touch my toes. This is progress! I wouldn't ordinarily start a run late into the morning, but it was cool out and I had to get this run complete before the Saints game kick Off- priorities. I figured if everything went well, I should take 2:20-2:25 to complete this run. Real talk, I had serious doubts everything would go well. Which is probably why I had no qualms starting the run so late. I didn't think I'd be able to complete it. I hadn't been able to shake off the self pity from Saturday, and I was not feeling great about a run on Sunday.

None the less, I really wanted to prove to myself that I could do this, that I could run 14 miles. I planned to string together several different shorter routes to get me to 14 miles. I didn't plan it out specifically, just took off out the door! Self doubt in tow. I started with my three mile loop near my house, I wanted to be close to home in case I had to stop. I took the first three slow, having no faith in my legs after the previous day's experience. After completing the first three miles, I felt pretty good shakin off a little doubt and worry, so I ventured further away from home. My husband promised to come meet me on the bike with more water (I finally got myself hand held water bottle) so I wasn't dependent on staying near water fountains. Right after hitting mile four, I got myself two run buddies!

Call me crazy but running with these two dogs was really fun! I also stopped thinking about my legs, and started enjoying my run. They kept pace with me, and never took off sprinting away, just trailed along with me but only for about a mile and half. I've been after Mr.Noel to let me get a dog for awhile now, and this really reinforced that desire.After my new friends ditched me, for a lady with some milk bones, I started feeling like I trusted my legs a little more. I let myself pick up the pace a bit. My husband found me at about 5.75 miles with a water refill. He really his a phenomenal support system for me, I am very lucky. To my surprise, he hung out with me for a good long while which made the time pass quickly. Running alone for a long time is not much fun. We chatted some, he'd bike away, then come back to check on me. I didn't stop for refills again until 8.75 miles. I had picked up the pace at this point, my legs felt good, not great but good, and for the first time since I headed out the door that morning, I had faith in being able to complete the run.

Once I hit 10 miles, I let myself start counting down, only four miles to go! I finally began feeling free from worry, self doubt, and the negative thoughts that cemented themselves in my brain Saturday morning. Completing one last mile in my neighborhood of running choice, I started heading back home. That's when it really hit me. Snap! I'm going to do this! I'm going to run 14 freakin miles!  I started to really trust my legs at this point. Each mile I got faster. Each step I felt more empowered. I will be a marathon runner. My last four miles I ran negative splits, with my 14th mile being the fastest of the day. CRAZY! 

I know I could have run this much faster, had I not ripped up my legs the past week weight training. Unfortunately, I think it's going to have to be one or the other while Marathon Training. I had such a high coming off of this run. I kept thinking to myself, 14 miles!! FOURTEEN MILES! It's been a long time since I had runner's high quite like this. Conquering my own feelings of self doubt and proving to myself that I can and I will, is a feeling like no other. I'm sure I'll have many days where I feel like this throughout Marathon training. I've already started dreaming about Marathon pace goals. Which is crazy considering I've only gone 9 tenths of a mile past a half marathon at present. 

Next week it's a 15 miler- a new distance PR. I'm going to do something really crazy next week. Run to the start line of the Cajun Cup, and complete my last 10k with a race. I've been looking forward to the Cajun Cup for awhile, as that race last year, is what solidified my desire to go the distance. Obviously, I won't PR the 10k, as I'll have already run 9 miles at the start, but it will tons of fun regardless as I have lots of friends running the race that day.

Post 14 mile run, I had my first ice bath. It wasn't nearly as terrible as I'd worked it out to be in my head (yes I have made it over a year running ice bath-less), and I must admit, it helped with soreness a lot. I'll be adding this into my weekly long run routine!

I ran fourteen miles. I RAN 14 miles. Bad ass chicka in da house!!! I'll be riding my runner's high all week! Happy Monday people!

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  1. So proud of you lady... you continue to rock my socks! xoxo

  2. That's awesome! Great jo! I've never done an ice bath either, but I have a 20 miler coming up this weekend, so I'm thinking I'll try it then. I've REALLY been putting it off lol.

    What a motivator to run to the start line of the race! You will have a blast running those last 6.2 with other people and real water stops. Enjoy, and can't wait to hear about it!

  3. Wow, just wow! Awesome! Congrats lady :)

  4. Congratulations! Self doubt is an awful beast to kick. I am amazed with your determination to run these long miles without a running buddy. I wish we were closer together, I would completely run the miles with you!! Your hubby sounds like a great support system! You are such an inspiration. Especially your honesty! Ice baths help 110% with quick recovery!

  5. That's so awesome, good for you!!! Your hubby is so supportive!!

  6. Way to go girl! That is awesome and a great recap! I love ice baths, you'll be obsessed soon as it is so nice for recovery. I love the running to activities ideas, I've been having fun on the weekends finding creative ways to run errands but this weekend decided to have a safe 4 miles in my neighborhood versus running 4 miles to return movies on a busy street. Have fun at the race!!

  7. Baller!!! Way to freakin go! I had a great run Saturday morning and then spent Sunday morning watching the NYC Marathon coverage...between that and all these people I "know" training for fulls, I think I'm ready to give it a try!

  8. That is awesome!!! You did it and after working legs AND getting out there once on Saturday! You are a force to be reckoned with that is for sure!

    I haven't done an ice bath yet....but thinking I need to- like big time. Did you just use the 1 bag? Warm/lukewarm water and dump it in? I cannot imagine doing this after running in the cold for over 3 hours but my legs needed it this past weekend!

  9. You are seriously awesome!! Go girl go!!!! :)

  10. You rock! I cant believe this was your first ice bath!!! They really help your muscles! I do them after every long weekend run- anything over a 10k!

  11. Bad ass indeed!! You're amazing!!!

  12. Way to go!! You are so great at retelling your runs and getting me pumped up! You are going to rock that marathon!

  13. Amazing. Such an inspiration!!

  14. Awesome job!! I have yet to get up to 14 miles, but I can imagine that runners high it must be!!

  15. This was amazing to read, so inspiring!! Way to go!