18 is a lucky number

I finished week 14 with an 18 mile run, mostly trails, with a friend that is keeping me company for the upcoming marathon. I sit here writing this in disbelief. First, if you would have told me last year that I would run 13 miles without stopping, I would have laughed in your face. If you would have told me I would one day run 18 miles for no medal, I would have walked away. Second, 18 miles was nothing like 16 miles. It wasn’t painful and it wasn’t boring–it was really fun. I enjoyed it immensely! I am sure it was because I had another person with me, but I had that wonderful runner’s high again and again for the first time in awhile. I took the time to stretch and apply both heat and ice therapy to sore spots yesterday, and today I feel really strong. I do not have sharp aches and pains anywhere. The only complaint is some chafing I experienced at the neckline of my sports bra, where I neglectfully forgot to apply body glide (I almost always miss a spot!).

I feel nervous about the marathon, but also prepared. I know that I will need to eat GU about every 5-6 miles. I know hydrating is very important. I know to stop and walk it out or stretch before I get really tired or sore. I can anticipate that I will encounter some walls… but my favorite saying of late is that walls are only as big as you make them.

This upcoming long run will be my last. And I have decided to make it a 20-mile run, even though my book recommends two 18-mile runs. Mentally, I need the experience of hitting 20 before going into this race. During the last long run, I will wear the clothes, down to the bra and socks I plan to wear for the marathon. The fuel belt packed with the exact fuel I will consume. I will load my iPod with the music I will listen to on the marathon, if I decide to listen to some music for some of the miles.

After the last long run, tapering begins. The goal for September is to sleep well, hydrate conscientiously, and eat good complex and rich carbohydrates. This is a time for turning inward, believing in myself, and nourishing my body as the instrument that will accomplish this goal.

I hope everybody is getting in a good run or two this long weekend!

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