A “Perfect” Training Run

After yesterday’s post, I’m sure everyone wants an update, right? I can just hear you all clamoring to interview me asking, “did you make it to mile 23?” “how did you overcome the wall?” and “why is this a perfect training run?”  The first question is a quick answer, which muddies up the rest, no, I did not meet my goal of 23 miles, but I bailed by my choice, not due to an inability to finish.  Could I have made 23? Guess we’ll know when I do it, right? If I would have met that particular goal, I would not have needed quotes around perfect, but I feel like I had a great run, despite only hitting 20+ miles.

Yesterday, I told you I was prepping to run alone today despite the fact that I am in several running groups.  So, I discussed the course with my city dwelling friend, and she planned on meeting me on the course with her kids (if they ditched the soon to be mentioned city event), which was awesome.  I had my “camel back” hydration backpack all packed up last night (although I admit to adding a few things this morning, I need a checklist for race days).  Hubby and I discussed my parking plan, including cost (which was wrong, due to St. Patty’s Day Parade).  I was prepared.  I wasn’t super nervous, and I decided this past week that I needed to remember that this is supposed to be fun.  Somewhere along the way, this journey started to really stress me out and stopped being about proving to myself that I could do this, and became something I committed to and couldn’t see a way out.  After last month’s 20 mile breakdown and frustrations, I wasn’t feeling able to do it at all.

And today, despite parking needing to be paid upfront, in cash, to the tune of $20 (not the $6 early bird parking for normal weekends I was expecting), and my run being cut short due to the crazy amount of people downtown celebrating the Irish, I had fun.  I decided that $20 cash would be found at the first available ATM, and fixed that, and rerouted around the crazy people in green and orange in downtown Pittsburgh.

Why was today so good? The weather was mild but very windy (25 mph gusts, always in my face), but bluish skies.  My friend was able to meet me a few blocks from her house, and then drove me to and from it so I could go to the bathroom in a non-public toilet.  I was able to reapply anti-chafing measures, so for the first time in forever, no pain in the nethers (yep, that makes the run a success in its own rights).  I fueled with the right thing at the right time.  I think everyone and every run are a bit different, but it’s key to catch it before you’re hitting that wall.  I took a power gel around mile 7, a protein/carb bar at around mile 12, another gel at 16 which didn’t make me feel enough better, so I stopped and got an apple juice from a 7-11.  I got high 5s from my friend, her kids, and 2 green clad guys (at a point in my course where I was off course), 3 people walking by told me good job or keep it up, other runners/bikers smiled or nodded (not a lot of them, but a few-um, why are guys so much nicer out there?).

So, when my Garmin wasn’t going to reach 23 miles at my car, I wasn’t worried.  I feel like there are bigger things than the mileage, especially since most training plans only bring you to around 20 miles for your final long run anyway.  I wanted to find my enjoyment in the run, I wanted to make sure I could run the horrid elevation gain at miles 11 and 12, and the crazy amount of bridges this city has (even if I did run the wrong one for my 3rd and 4th bridges (I ran the 4th for my 3rd and a completely different one for my 4th)), even if I did have to adapt, I know I can.  I know I can kick in those last 6.1 miles on marathon day.  My next long run will be mid-April and will be somewhere between 23 and 26 to finish this training off.  I’m actually excited instead of afraid, and it’s been a while since I could say that.

map 20 miles compare7 Weeks until I have a very early wake up set to run PITTSBURGH.  And, by the way, running Pittsburgh will officially make me a ROCK STAR.  It’s a tough, but fun, course.

Oh, and one last note, the shower I took after this run, Top 10…maybe even Top 5.



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