June 6, 2009


Well I can now officially say: 20 miles, DONE!!! What an amazing, accomplished feeling... I honestly feel like I'm finally ready for my race! The morning started out with a light drizzling that soon burned off to become one of the most beautiful days we've had in a while here in S.B. Coach Neal explained the course to us - starting at La Mesa Park we ran to the preserve, did the loop, headed down that awful steep hill to Hendry's and then back up to La Mesa.
I'm the white speck, dragging my ass up that awful hill!
From there we headed to Shoreline and down to Leadbetter, across to East Beach, into Montecito toward the Biltmore, and finally to the turnaround point at Crane School. Initially Neal told us when we got back to La Mesa we'd be a mile short and would have to go beyond the park for a half mile and back to complete the 20 miles. The run started out easy enough and I forced myself to start out slow. Halfway through the preserve loop, however, the back tendon of my knee began to feel pretty tight. Considering that it's not an easy part of the leg to stretch, it was difficult to do much about it. It continued to feel tight for the whole run actually and eventually forced other parts of my leg to compensate so those soon became sore. I was in a great mental state for this run though - I knew from the start that I could and would finish it - nothing was going to stop me, let alone a sore knee! Ironically, my knee kept me running at several points because I quickly found that walking was much harder and more painful than running. In fact I only walked up a couple hills and for one minute after mile 19, again going up a steady incline. The weather got quite warm as our run went on, but thankfully there was a steady breeze that made it somewhat more bearable.

Just a quick, fun anecdote from the run: as we got into Montecito we saw a weenie dog run into the street. We kept going, but as we looked back we saw that she was clearly not aware of cars and there was no owner to be seen, so we ran back and called the number on the tag. It turned out to be for an animal hospital, so not knowing where the cute little thing belonged we gave her to Neal and Heather as they headed to Crane School in their car to try and figure out what to do. Not 5 minutes later an Escalade pulls up to Tom and I and asks if we saw his dog, saying that he just saw someone driving away with her! We reassured him that she was safe and could find her at the School and we only picked her up because she was running in the street. Dog and owner were reunited and he thanked us as he drove back with her. What a sweet little dog though -anyone who knows me knows I'm obsessed with weenie dogs - so this was a treat for me!

We finished in 4.5 hours and ran about a 12 minute mile pace. I had to stop a bit longer at the SAG stops to stretch out and roll my knee/leg so that added on some extra time, but I'm still happy with our final time.
Ugh, so painful!
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
It must be said, however, that without the team today, I would never have been able to do this! I have to give huge thanks to Tom, who slowed his pace to run with me for most of the 20 miles. Not only does it make a world of a difference just to have someone to run with, but Tom always keeps me interested and distracted with tales from his fascinating life and great running advice. He also shared his Gu with me, since I was ill-prepared and had none. So thank you! Also I want to thank Coach Neal, Tek, and Heather and Erin, too, for staying out there for 5 hours and running with us, motivating us, and keeping us all going! Today I really learned the meaning of the Team and am ever so grateful.

Stretching out post-run.

My body aches like never before, but I'm icing frequently and popping pain meds so hopefully I won't be hobbling too badly tomorrow. At this point we are basically trained and ready for our marathon (3 weeks and counting!!) so the next 2 weeks will be taper weeks with easy track workouts and short Saturday runs. I'm honestly SO EXCITED for my race and feel like it won't come soon enough. Like Coach Neal told us today, this 20 miler will most likely prove to be our greatest challenge. When we run our marathon we will be pumped with adrenaline, surrounded by tons of supporters cheering us on, running a beautiful and new course, and running with huge groups of people, some TNT and others not, so we will never be alone. All of these elements were absent today, adding some challenging elements that we won't face in the race. I also remind myself that if I can run 20 miles with a sore knee, very little could stop me from finishing my marathon! Seattle, here I come!!!!!!

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