My First 18 Miler (Day 13)

30 May

It really was THAT good. I was nervous going into it due my failure frustrating run last weekend.  I drove to the ocean knowing that area is hugely popular with runners and bicyclists, and it’s a good safe place to run.  Plus it was supposed to be hot out but the forecast called for fog and cooler temps down by the water.  Perfect! I parked my car where I mapped out two 4 1/2 mile out and back loops – so that I would never be TOO far from my car (just in case) and so that halfway through I could refill my fuel belt bottles to make sure I stay properly hydrated.  It was SO HUMID OUT. See? Normally you can see all the way down the beach for miles!

It was about 66 degrees down by the water but 83% humidity.  Phew. Okay, I’m off.  My right leg felt a little tight, so I was taking it easy, I wasn’t going to let it get in my head so early in the game. About 2 miles in I found a sign post to stop and stretch my legs out.  A nice woman running by me stopped and asked me if I was okay. (I LOVE other runners who care about each other!)

My legs started to loosen up and feel really good, and even though I knew I was moving slow I was okay with it.  The route was relatively hilly and the air was thick. About mile 4 the top of my left foot started hurting.  Turns out I had my shoe tied too tight.  Heh, oooopsy. So I fixed my shoe, made 4 1/2 miles, and turned around.  Halfway to halfway now and this half is mostly downhill YAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!

Got Hills? It didn’t feel that bad – must be used to it!
My right ankle started to hurt – I think this whole calf thing is turning into more of a whole right leg thing – when I twist my foot to the left I can feel it pull from my ankle all the way up to my hip. Is that IT Band? I’m not sure… either way, again, I wasn’t going to let it get me down.  I knew I was on the way back to the car for fuel and water, and I had Advil in my purse. 

I got back to my car – now I’m halfway through.  My brain tried to get me for a minute, the humidity really was brutal, “ONLY halfway? Really? Ugh…” I quickly shut it down. I downed a Gu gel, the remaining water in one of the bottles I brought with 3 advil, refilled my fuel belt bottles, stretched my legs a tad, and I was off again.  

Mile 10 was slow – it was my slowest mile of the 18.  I was worried the remaining miles were going to be that slow, but I started to feel better (I’m sure a combination of the gel and the Advil) and I managed to push myself through three sub-11 minute miles.  I was feeling so good I blew right through my next mental goal (12 miles – 2/3 of the way) without even realizing it!

The state beach couldn’t have been in my vision at a better time – I was almost at 13 miles and due to all the hydration I REALLY had to pee.  I saw a row of port-a-potties. It was nasty, but when you have to pee that bad, does it really even matter? 

I made it to 13 1/2 miles – 75% of the way there.  I was hot and tired and I knew it wasn’t going to be easy to finish, but I was so close at this point I could taste it. I stopped and took a break in a nice grassy patch on the side of the road.  Finished off my hydration so I had two bottles to last me the rest of the run – I really spaced my drinking perfectly so I wouldn’t get cramps but I’d stay well hydrated.  I’m pretty proud of that! While I was sitting a woman walking stopped to talk to me, she asked how far I was going to run today, and what I was training for.  I love to talk – yes I know “Thank you Captain Obvious” – so it was nice to have a discussion with her about my training and my first marathon.  She wished me luck and was on her way.

Sitting and taking a break probably wasn’t the best idea – my body started to get stiff, but I was warm enough I was able to stretch it back out and be on my way.  Now I’m counting down the miles to the finish.  I got to 15 miles and stopped to stretch again, my legs were starting to stiffen up and get tired.  I threw in a few cadence change ups and striders, but really when you’re running that long for the first time ever, your legs are going to get stiff, sore, and tired! I chugged along pretty slowly for the next couple miles – it was uphill, not joyous at all when you’re at 16 miles.  My iPod did a good job of keeping me in it – around Mile 15 the motivational songs on my playlist started playing (it was even on random, it did this itself!): Muse “Knights of Cydonia”, Lady Gaga “Edge of Glory”, Fort Minor “Remember the Name” – it was awesome, those songs kept me positive, kept me in a good mood – I was actually singing along to Lady Gaga while running, more than one person driving by definitely looked at me like I had lost it. 

I kept seeing numbers painted on the road – I think they’re mile markers for the Blessing of the Fleet

For some reason seeing that painted on the road just got me totally amped up.  Mile 18 ended up being my best mile! I felt so good that I was that close to finishing my first 18 mile training run without any problems! I ran my butt off (and it was hard to run a 10:14 mile after 17 other miles) until my Garmin ticked off that last lap, where I collapsed into the grass by my car.  I was so HAPPY! I texted my mom, I texted Coachy, I posted it on Facebook.  I was excited, exhausted, feeling a little crazy that I just spent four hours on a Saturday running! 
The best thing I could have ever done after that run was walk over to the beach for a little “ocean ice bath” action.  OMG That water is COLD. I walked in  (slowly) up to my hips.  Holy cow – fffffffreeeeeeezzzziiing. A couple of waves came up and hit me, soaking me up to my chest, and literally knocking the wind out of me.  I was more winded standing in the ocean than I was running for 18 miles! I lasted 6 minutes. That was enough. It was so worth it though – I couldn’t walk normal for days after my first 15 – I ran yesterday and I’m walking fine today! 

Hawaiian BBQ Chicken Pizza
After that I rewarded myself with a delicious dinner at California Pizza Kitchen  at Foxwoods Casino in CT, with my brother and my friend Sara as wonderful company! 

Yes, I ate that whole pizza.  I burned almost 1900 calories! I ate it in two parts though – half at dinner, the other half while we played bingo. And in that glass, a deliciously refreshing Blue Point Brewing Company Hoptical Illusion.  I was disappointed when I purchased this beer in the bottle, but it lives up to its name when it’s draft. We had some really good tortilla spring rolls for an appetizer too but I forgot to take a picture.  They were wicked good! 

I’m definitely still flying high over this run – like I said the other day, my confidence for Vermont was beginning to waver since I hadn’t had a good run in what seemed like FOREVER. I’m feeling better than ever about it now.  Only 4 super long runs to go!  

2 Responses to “My First 18 Miler (Day 13)”

  1. RunBikeSurf May 30, 2011 at 7:33 pm #

    Outstanding long run Sam! VERMONT IS YOURS!

  2. June 17, 2011 at 11:37 pm #

    Congrats on accomplishing this milestone! I love that you ran in to the ocean afterwards. What kind of Garmin do you have? I've been lusting after the Forerunner 110 with the HRM. I have a challenge set up…9 more lbs and it's mine! I'd love to know your experience with one though.

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