Today’s Reason: 20 Miles

I’ve fallen behind blogging about training for my second marathon but I’ve been totally keeping up with my plan and 26.2 #2 is now just 3 weeks away!  <gulp> This past Saturday was our final long run of 20 miles (which I had to cut short at 18) and leading up to it, I was nervous but hopeful and oh so ready to prove to myself that I could do it.  And you know what?  I did it.  And it was truly amazing.

The few days leading up to the 20 miler were so very hot here in the Bay Area, I figured the heat would be akin to what I will be experiencing in San Diego but was still thoughtful about making sure my electrolytes stayed balanced during the run.  When I run in the double digits, I am always completely covered in salt by the end meaning that I expel too much meaning that I need to find a way to constantly keep replacing that salt & potassium, especially during the marathon.  So, I went to my favorite local sports store, Transports, and put in my order for all things salty:

Margarita Shot Blocks (3xs the sodium), Blueberry-pom Gu Brew (2xs the sodium), and salt pills (just in case)!

Met up with my team at the Berkeley Marina Saturday morning and by 7am we hit the ground running, bound for Richmond and back in less than 4 and a half hours.  I started off easily and slowly, finally settling into a pace I could do all day long without much effort (for me, that’s about 10:00/mile).

There weren’t too many people doing 20 that day and I found myself running alone from the very start.  One major benefit to running with Team in Training is that you always have someone beside you keeping company, helping the miles fly by.  But this time, I was alone.  No running buddies, no music, just me and my electrolytes.

The weather completely cooperated, it was overcast and slightly breezy for the majority of the run and I sucked down my Gu Brew and took a salt pill every 45 minutes or so.  Before I knew it, I was at the turn around before anyone else, and Coach Rudy said something about me being a “speed demon” which is hilarious as I was running as slowly and comfortably as possible!

Started heading back to Berkeley and by the half marathon mark, it occurred to me how great I felt- hadn’t taken a walk break, no side stitches, no blisters, no desire to stop at all, just oh so happy, happy, happy and feeling great!  And then the sun came out and blue skies smiled in my direction…


Happy and carefree running me!  (Nasty tan lines, though.)

The whole time I kept thinking to myself, “You’ve so got this!  You’re so ready for this!  You can do it, Laura!” and I dunno if it was the power of the salt or positive thought but around mile 14 it finally hit me: I AM A RUNNER.  I CAN DO THIS.  I WILL DO THIS!!!!  In that moment, I felt so proud of myself and my efforts that I teared up, sad that I had ever doubted myself but elated that I- finally- proved myself wrong.

I’ve spent the majority of my running “career” these past 5 years feeling like a wanna-be.  I don’t know why, I just have.  Even after I completed my first marathon, I felt the same way.  I do not have an athletic background, in fact, I did everything in my power to get OUT of P.E. in school, so I guess it stands to reason that I have always been doubtful of my ability.  I don’t think I look like, act like, or even run like my other running friends with their oh-I-used-to-run-in-high-school-and-then-played-soccer-semi-professionally-and-then-ran-an-ultra-marathon-just-for-fun resumes.  I guess I’ve always been a little fearful of pushing myself beyond my limits.

But, I am delighted to report, not anymore.

Take that, self-doubt!

By mile 16 my mind was still strong but my left IT band was not.  It started to really bug, but on I ran… and then my left glute started to really hurt yet I still ran on… I hit 18 miles in 3:07 and finally got back to our team’s home base.  From there, I could have added 2 more miles or just called it a day and I decided on the latter.  As I injured my IT last year and was out of the running game for about 6 months as a result, I decided not to play with fire nor let ego over rule good judgement and ended my run at 18.

Normally, I would be angry at myself and feel disappointed that I didn’t push harder and do that extra 2 miles but not this time.  This time, I was so very proud of my performance and  mental fortitude that I know I can go into my next marathon with ability, confidence, and all the electrolytes I need to get me through.

And I can’t freaking wait!!!!!!

On the heels of my fabulous 18 miler, I was able to take a “relaxing” ice bath and eat like a champ while celebrating all weekend!

This is how I like my ice baths… the body wants what the body wants…

It was truly an awesome Mother’s Day weekend!  (Thank you, thank you, thank you, Hubby!)

Happy Mother Runner’s Day to me and YOU!!!  Cheers to that!!!  🙂

As runners, we are all plagued by self-doubt at one time or another- how do you handle it?  What do you tell yourself to get through?  Have you been able to turn those negatives into positive self-talk?


11 thoughts on “Today’s Reason: 20 Miles

  1. You go girl! I’m so proud of you and so happy you had such a great run. I’m glad you’re finally believing in yourself, as I have believed in you and your incredible strength & will-power all along….

    • Aw, Amy, you’re the best- thank you for the constant support, it means the world to me! 😀 Hopefully, I can keep believing in myself too… at least until June 3rd, LOL!

  2. It’s so funny that you posted this, because I was just thinking something similar on Saturday before the 10K. It was right before the start of the race and for the first time ever, I actually felt like I belonged there. I’ve never had that sense of confidence before. Even though I didn’t end up doing so hot, it was so nice to feel like I was a “real” runner.

  3. Hooray for a great run and the great marathon it predicts! Can’t wait to hear the SD recap!
    Seriously though, ARE there people who never doubt their “real” runner status? I feel like an imposter all the time, esp when I talk to people like my brother who doesn’t consider himself a runner but describes running a 6-minute mile as “kinda hard” for him. Unless you make your living off running (and probably even then), there’s always room for doubt. But I think breezing through 18 miles at a 10-minute pace is as legit as it gets!

    • Thanks, girl! 🙂 Running is so hit or miss sometimes… I read an article about Kara Goucher’s self-dout and it was very enlightening to read that even our IDOLS go through it! Maybe it’s just us type As that are attracted to such a sport that takes a ton of time, wok, commitment, and dedication. The reward being a great race but that’s NEVER ALWAYS the case!

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