Sunday, April 13, 2014

What I Learned From 14 Miles

Saturday marked a major milestone for me: it was the first time I had run over the half marathon distance in training. 14 miles. It seems insane to me. Who does that?! Well, lots of people, apparently, including me. I loved pretty much every second of it, too.

I learned that 14 miles is the biggest deal ever, and regular ol' deal all in one.

14 miles made me nervous in a way I had not been nervous to approach a run in a very long time. I felt like I didn't even know how dress for it, which was silly, because I ended up wearing, and being totally comfortable in, a t-shirt and shorts. Having a love/hate relationship with running in my Pro Compression socks, though. I have always run long runs in these socks, but my new theory is the seams in the toe area are giving me blisters.

I learned that 14 miles is an easy distance to pick clothes for, but a hard distance to pick socks for.

Ever since I cheered my sister-in-law on in her 13.1 on the Lake Sammamish Trail I have wanted to run there. On Saturday I was able to, and it was just as lovely as I thought it would be. When cheering I did not realize the trail was packed gravel, and . . .

I learned that packed gravel makes for a forgiving running surface. 

Preparing my fuel for the run was tricky because I wasn't sure I could carry enough with me. I decided on 3 gels and 3 bottles of Gatorade and one of water in my belt. I thought I would take one gel at 4, 8 and 12 miles to be safe. Once I took my second, however, I knew I absolutely did not want that last gel. It sounded terrible. I made it from mile 8 to 14 with just a few sips of Gatorade and finished feeling just fine.

I learned that if I plan to run a marathon, I need some more fuel options than just gel. 

My body seems to have held up to the stress of 14 miles. My newest big worry is my foot. It aches, which might not be too terribly concerning, but I have already had 2 stress fractures in that foot and I don't need a third.

I learned that strength training and focusing on my form and my glutes is really helping, but my body isn't letting me have this marathon without a fight.

Over the past few weeks I have really come to consider my friend Sally to be my new BRF (best running friend). She is just the coolest, strongest, most kick ass runner and I am so thrilled that I have been able to run so many freaking miles with her. We never run out of conversation, and she is my favorite source for answers when I have training questions. She makes running seem effortless, and I am constantly inspired by her ability to, I don't know, run 22 miles like it's NBD. Sally also said she hopes to run the Seattle Rock-n-Roll marathon with me which would be AMAZING, so now I want that goal even more than I did before!

I learned that BRFs are more than worth their weight in gu.

My mad "photoshop" skillz. 

My 16 miler is scheduled for 3 weeks from now. We'll see what lessons I have to learn from that milestone! 

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