The last big run!

Saturday was a big day for the Team in Training Georgia Chapter’s Chicago Team. Why? Because most of the team was running their very first 20 miler. That’s right folks! We ran 20 miles on Saturday. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t really worried about the run. With one 20 mile run already under my belt I wasn’t worried about the distance. I was a little worried about the course. We ran out at the river, which is a 20 mile course that I’ve never done in my 3 seasons with Team in Training. I hope I don’t have to do again! Holy hills! I thought the other 20 mile courses were hilly, but this one had some doosies. There were a couple that were near impossible to run up. Jaclyn and I decided we were going to take it easy and not push. She was getting over a cold, and I had spent most of the week cursing ragweed, and trying to regain the ability to breathe through my nose. It was slower than my first 20 miler, but it still felt great, and I really think that’s because we took it easy. There was no reason to push with the summer heat & humidity coming back. Now it’s taper time! I can’t believe there are only 3 weeks till the race!

The team before the run. All smiles & we smell pretty good too 🙂
At the 3rd waterstop. Cruising along before the hills…
30 seconds before this was taken I mentioned how happy I was that our coach had stopped taking our picture… This is what I get for opening my big mouth 🙂
Done!! Chocolate milk  in hand! Life is good 🙂
Most of the team post run. We still look pretty happy even if we don’t smell as good… 🙂

Down the Home stretch

It’s hard to believe that there are only 5 weeks standing between me and the Chicago Marathon. It seems like we just started yesterday, and yet it was a full 4 months ago! The ability to finish 26.2 has never crossed my mind having run the distance four times before. I wanted this time to be different. I played with my training schedule, ran some extra miles, and trained with a purpose. I balanced running with speed workouts, lots of cross training, and strength training with the goal of getting stronger and starting to find out what I’m capable of.

So, this weekend I ran the first of two 20 mile training runs. Yes, that’s right, two 20 mile runs. I was unusually nervous before starting. I had butterflies fluttering around my stomach, allergies trying to upset the butterflies, and then there was the bug I swallowed running 2 miles before the group run. But I have great friends who started putting my mind to easy. Jessica came over smiled and said I would do awesome. Angela reminded me that I was going to a super yummy dinner the next day, and Lori and Jim were at water stops doing what they do best, handing out water, high fives, hugs, and smiles. I ran with my mentee Jaclyn, and both of us starting thinking the same thing a third of the way through, “this feels really awesome, and kind of easy. Are we going too fast?” The beautiful weather brought new possibilities to both of us, mostly that we are a lot stronger than we thought.  The weather this summer has battered confidence down. It’s been mostly about surviving more than anything else. This was one of the best runs in months, maybe even the best 20 miler period (20 miles in 3:18 an average of 10:03 per mile). It gave me such a needed boost of confidence going into the final weeks of training. My teammate, and fellow mentor Andy snapped a few pictures while we were running:

 the Chicago team before starting our run
heading down one of several hills with Jaclyn

Sunday a new confidence was growing even more after discovering that I’m 95% of the way to my fundraising goal! I simply cannot express how much it means, and what a difference the money is making.

Oh wind, why must you visit all of the time?

This morning I ran 20 miles.

All on my own.

In a way you could call it two major accomplishments, running 20 miles, and running it all by myself. It wasn’t always pretty (I got quite a few looks upon walking into Starbucks post run…), but I did it. I was pretty calm before I started, a major improvement from my last 20 mile run. I jumped when my alarm went off and got ready so fast I actually got out the door sooner than I had planned. First thought, man it’s warm! Okay, for the record it was only in the low 40s, but after 2 weeks of running in freezing temperatures and windchills this morning was like a heat wave. Dang it. How in the heck do I dress for this? Yeah, I haven’t been really good with that one lately.

It wasn’t my best 20 mile run. There seems to be this unwelcome tend of wind on my long runs lately.

  • 16 miles – cold, windy
  • 18 miles – freezing, super windy
  • 10 miles – freezing (ice & snow), super windy
  • 20 miles – warm, super wind, rain last 2 miles

It’s nice to have warm temperatures. Now I just wish the wind would go away. I really don’t need resistance training on my long runs. But now the fun starts! It’s taper time!! Woo hoo!! Two weeks of lower mileage. Even though today didn’t go as well as I hoped I still feel like I’m in really good shape for the race. I can’t believe it’s 3 weeks away…