I'll admit that I was really beginning to panic over the lack of training. I began to doubt myself and really fret over completing the marathon (or at least completing it without massive pain!). My dad (the three-time Disney Marathon veteran) kept reassuring me that I'd be fine, but I really needed this 20 mile run under my belt to raise my spirits.
We slept late in this morning, and didn't head out the door until close to 11:00am. We took our time eating, getting all our gear together, and mapping out our course. I also wanted it to warm up a bit. I found a 10 mile run already created through mapmyrun.com that circled around Blacksburg. Our usual running course -- the Huckleberry Trail -- is covered in snow right now. We drove the route before starting, and this gave us a chance to look at the road conditions.
It was right at 27 degrees when we started out to run, and it didn't warm up any. The sun was out for part of our run, but we also fought a few snow flurries along the way. I felt really good starting out. It had felt like an eternity since I last ran outside, but it came back to me right away. I felt strong the first 5 miles or so. I actually ran with my iPod, and I haven't done this in months. I knew today I'd need the distraction, and it seemed to help a lot. I snapped a few pictures along the way.
Once I got to 10 miles I was really starting to feel it. I took a GU, stretched some, used the bathroom, and then we headed back out for the final 10 miles. I remember thinking, "I am going to do this!" and feeling so happy that I was outside getting this run done. I nearly rolled my ankle a few times during the run, and I kept praying that God would keep me safe. I had to dodge a lot of snow/ice, and I worried I might slip a few times.
By mile 14 it was starting to HURT. I was still doing okay, but my legs were tight and heavy. I still had this happy feeling, and I knew the whole time I was going to finish. Mathis stayed with me the entire time, and it makes me want to cry just thinking about it. He is a much faster runner, and we rarely do our long runs together. It was his choice to stay with me, and it made all the difference. I definitely would have walked a lot more without him, and I know I wouldn't have felt so confident to keep going. He is such a great husband to me. He's talking about running Disney together, but we'll just have to see. I love running together, but I'm also okay when we race separately too.
I took another GU before mile 15 because I was getting really hungry. It was close to 3:00 by this point, and we had ran through lunch. I think that during the marathon I will plan on taking a GU every 5 miles. I ran with my water belt so I always had water with me. I used it twice since I refilled it at the half-way point.
Around miles 17-18 I was really hurting and ready to be done. I still never doubted my ability to finish, but at times I thought of running 26.2 and cringed. I told myself not to think like this, because the race will be different. Today I was going to run 20 miles and only worry about those 20 miles.
At mile 19 we saw one of these...
Mathis was the one to point it out. It was definitely a good sign to see! :) Another cool thing I realized about today is that we ran 20 miles on the 20th, and it's exactly 20 days until the marathon. My mom has a thing for numbers, and she would really get a kick out of this.
During the last mile my face started to freeze. It was so cold. I checked the weather when we finished and even though is was 27 degrees it said it felt like 17. We climbed into my car as soon as we finished, and both our legs were in serious pain. I was starving so we drove through Panera to get a few bagels. As soon as we got home I took a hot shower. I was starting to get chilled, and I hate this feeling. After getting out of the shower I had my bagel and chocolate milk. It was perfection.
I've felt pretty spent the rest of the afternoon/evening. We finished around 4:15, and it definitely felt like running took up our entire day. I don't mind one bit, because it feels like a big accomplishment.
Right now the fire is on, we're watching tv and I'm blogging from the couch with my CEP Compression Socks on. I am still feeling the run, and I can't move around very well. I felt a little nauseous after finishing so Mathis ran out to get me some ginger ale. But other than that, everything feels good. I know I'll be sore this week, but nothing feels overly sore or injured. I am so HAPPY that I did this run. I honestly can't believe I've come this far. One of the streets (Washington) we ran on through campus was the same street we did our very first long marathon training run on. It brought back such sweet memories for me, and made me want to cry with joy! Definitely felt like everything had come full circle from in September when we started this long journey. I also can't help but think about how far I've come since this time last year when 3 miles was a struggle. I know I'm still a slow runner, but I am a runner, and I'm about to complete my very first marathon.
I am so excited to taper these next few weeks and mentally prepare myself for 26.2. I keep forgetting that we're also going to get to be at Disney World for an entire week. What could be any better?!
Feeling blessed beyond belief this Christmas!
Time: 3 hours, 50 minutes
Miles this Week: 20
Miles this Month: 56