20 miles: fought, and surrendered

If I could use just one word to sum up our (second) 20-mile training run: disastrous.

(I’m telling you, our smiles are very deceiving — we were both utterly wiped out after this run.)

From the get-go the run was just all sorts of wrong: 

I was up in my head. So, so much. I kept fighting with myself, trying to force the mental head games to stop but they just kept coming. (I think I know the main reason for the mental mind games, but I’ll be sharing that in a later post this week, promise)

It was a lot more humid out than I was prepared for. In my mind, I envisioned a nice cool start to the run. Instead, we left the house at 5:35 (yes, at 5:35, not 5:30 or 5:45, but 5:35…) and got a nice smack in the face of humidity. Not cool.

The hubs was dehydrated almost from the start. I think he was staving off the water intake to avoid drinking too much and leaving me with none. (what a guy, seriously, who does that??) Meanwhile I was done with my little water bottle about a third of the way into the run and was shocked that Scott’s much larger water bottle was almost full still. Between that and the fact that I know he didn’t drink enough water the day before, and I instantly sensed dehydration looming for him…and maybe for me too, given the weather.

The bottom line: we had a lot of ‘things’ working against us on Saturday morning. 


I’m as stubborn as they come. I wanted 20 miles on Saturday. Really, really, really badly.
…so we got 20 miles done. 

But it was ugly. Very, very ugly. 

There was walking. A lot of walking (for those of you who know us well, we *never* walk during a run, ever ever ever. This should tell you how desperately tired and worn out we both were). 

There was a stop to fill our water bottles at a water fountain in the park. Again, something we *never* do. We usually are fine with the water we brought, or we simply power through and are fine to chug along, regardless. But not today. Nope, we needed that water stop.

There were mini-arguments between us when one of us wanted to turn around, and the other wanted to push forward. (I’ll let you guess who is who in this scenario…heh)

So we fought for it. We fought hard. We walked, we ran, we walked, we ran, and then we ran and suddenly, we were done. 

Utterly spent. Disgustingly sweaty. Salty-faced from all the sweat, and dead tired. 
…but proud. We fought…and even if we surrendered just a little bit…we won the battle for 20 in the end. 
And that’s what matters. 

What also matters a heck of a lot? That this didn’t happen during our last long run before taper. (silver lining, perhaps) I need that redemption run in a big way. I  (and we) need that 22 miler to give us the confidence boost that will carry us through in Chicago. We’re both determined as hell to make it our best long run yet.

A few lessons learned, and we’re good to go:

…we are not, in fact, invincible. Even *we* have bad runs too. 
…we cannot afford to be careless with our prep leading into a long run. More water. More mental fortitude, too. 
…we *can* push through, even if our minds try to tell us otherwise. 

22 miles on Wednesday: Game. On. 

43 thoughts on “20 miles: fought, and surrendered

  1. What would have been truly disastrous is throwing up the white flag at the first sign of distress. It’s these runs that teach your mind and body that you CAN make it through, even if it takes a little creativity (re-fueling, walk breaks, etc). Proud of you, and looking forward to hearing all about your 22-miler this week!

    • You know…you’re right. In the heat of the moment on Saturday, I was just WAY too annoyed to recognize that I could’ve given up yet I (we) didn’t give up. We powered through even if it was downright ugly. You’re right though — the one thing this run totally taught us is that we CAN make it through no matter what, we CAN.

  2. 20 miles is really, really difficult and really, really far. Don’t lose sight of that! Even if 22 isn’t your redemption run, maybe the marathon itself will be! Running and training for a marathon is HARD and extremely taxing on the body. I think sometimes it’s easy to forget that and to think that every run will be easier or as easy as the last.

    At least it’s getting cooler outside, so you have the weather as an advantage for Wed!

    • Thank you for reminding me that yes, marathon training is friggin’ hard work and it IS totally taxing on the mind and body. I think I sometimes forget that, thinking I’m some invincible freak or something. But hi, I’m not. And this run proved it.

      I am SO SO thankful that the weather will be cooler for our next long run — a low of 48 the morning of our run on Wed, I cannot WAIT to run in that!!!

  3. My heart sank reading this, I hate this for you. It’s just the pits, and you’re so amazing for seeing it through and the bigger picture.

    26.2 is going to be the best thing ever, and all of this will be worth it. the good and the bad.

    I am incredibly proud of you for sharing ALL your moments. many try to make it sound easy, speak the truth!

    I wish you a happy taper period, you absolutely deserve it!

    • Aw than you friend…my heart sank too when I realized that this run wouldn’t be what I’d hoped and envisioned it being. BUT looking back on it now, I needed this to happen. I needed the reminder that every run is different and every run will come with its own challenge (or SET of challenges haha) so even if it was frustrating, it was necessary. And I’m just damn glad it happened NOW and not on race day. It could always be worse, right?

      PS I can’t freakin’ WAIT to start taper next week!!

  4. I must have given you my shittastic run vibe or something from our bad 11 the other day huh? but you are right, it is bound to happen, and now that you had a crappy run, hopefully the next will be your redemption. And you really fought, you focused, you got it done. I am so proud!

    • Is craptastic running a catchy thing? Kind of like OATT syndrome?? hehe.
      It’s ok sis…I kind of knew it was bound to happen, to be honest. I’m glad its behind me though, for both of us — I KNOW your run tomorrow will be amazing and that mine on Wednesday will be too. OWN those miles sis!!!

  5. The mentally toughest runs are THE BEST training runs for the race. I had a run like this in August. It was awful. Mine was only 14 miles and I ran out of water at mile 7. I walked and I walked a lot. It was so embarrassing to report back to my coach that I bombed that run, but it had NO effect on my training as I was fine the following week when the weather was cooler and it reminded me that I needed to bring more water on my runs. Nice job to you and your hubby. This may have been the best run for your training and you didn’t even know it.

    • I LOVE your insight my friend, seriously. You’re probably very right-on when you say this might have been the best run for our training – not THE best run OF our training but FOR our training, a very important distinction. We needed to see that no matter the conditions, we could push through even if it became an ugly finish. We did it. We pushed, we willed our bodies to go the distance. Thank you for pointing out this very important distinction, seriously — I will be thinking about this on our run on Wednesday for sure!!

  6. Oh this sounds so familiar! Mike and I had a lot of runs like this last year. I’ll tell you what though, they make you stronger. Stronger runners, a stronger couple and just that much more determined. Congrats on toughing it out, it isn’t always easy. That is for sure!

  7. Oh man, I’ve totally had those runs too. But you know what? Given all of that, you guys still gutted it out (and I imagine it felt that way too) and got it done. You fought for it and you now know that you can put up with the craptastic conditions and still do it. I have a feeling that that will come in handy during that little ole marathon you have coming up. I have a feeling that it will help power you through it.

  8. Even with the walks and the water breaks, you two got through it together. Seriously, 22 MILES! Yeah, the humidity was probably a HUGE part of it. I can’t run in humidity at all. It’s awful when you feel like you’re breathing under water. Give yourself credit. Also, you did it together. Teamwork! There is really nothing better! You’ve got this!

    • That’s exactly right — it felt like I was breathing underwater and my freakin’ brain would NOT turn off for the life of me. I’m hoping it’s quieter for our run on Wednesday, honestly that was half the battle right there. Mind games NO MORE!!

      I do love love love that we conquered this together…it’s bringing us SO much closer than ever before, I love it.

  9. Girl be ok with walking some if you have to. It’s ok and it can be exactly what you need to get it done sometimes. Sort of a mini-restart. And stopping for water? Another big “it’s ok to do” thing. I always have a route that allows me to stop and refill my water. So it’s smart to know any and all water spigots you can find or even shops to stop into. But, I won’t lecture 😉 The thing is that you guys did it. You didn’t stop and that says volumes about your mental fortitude – even if it was partially the mental games that were holding you back. Just remember what you’ve said to me after my crappiest of crappy runs!

    • I know…you’re right, sooo right. But you know how my head gets — I think stopping means I did something wrong. So silly, I know. Plus it DOES hurt like hell to start up again after stopping and walking for a bit. Oh man did that hurt!! But it did give me the mental re-start I needed…at least the first time we stopped for water. The second time we stopped, ugliness all around.

      LOL I love the promise not to lecture — it’s ok, you can lecture me anytime friend, I value your words so much and I hope you know that! xoxo
      (ps I love how you use my words against me hehe)

      • Oh I totally know about the head games and not stopping. I used to see it as a sign of failure completely. But then I realized that I had to refill my water on my long runs. I just can’t imagine the spibelt things and 20 oz just doesn’t cut it for me. I had to change my mentality to training run vs a race run. Now, if someone can line up an aid station for me with someone handing out cups, I’d be all over that! 😉 I just don’t want you to feel defeated ever for walking, especially if it happens during the marathon. Ya know?

        You know I’m always here to support!

  10. The humidity can change EVERYTHING. And don’t feel bad about walking, or stopping to fill your water bottles – when race day comes you will be well prepared and won’t have to stop. You got this!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. I think that every training cycle has that one crazy run that breaks you down and questions your motives for attempting a race in the first place. But what I LOVE is that you did not let this run define you or break you! You kept at it, fighting for those miles. That is something to be VERY proud of. Tough runs are part of the journey, but I believe that you will find redemption in the end 🙂

    Quick tip: To beat the hydration blues, snack on pretzels or something salty the day before (or ven during!) your long run. Consuming sodium with your water helps your body retain the fluid that you consume. My run coach gave me this trick and it totally helped me after a disastrous under hydrated 17 miler. Trust me when I say that I feel Scott’s pain!

    • I giggled when I read the first line of this comment. It is EXACTLY what ran through my mind on Saturday. I literally questioned why we were putting ourselves through training and WHY we were planning to run Chicago. I was thisclose to just throwing in the towel. But now that I’ve looked back on it, let things settle in my mind a bit, I know that run was needed and necessary and SUCH good learning. Even if it hurt like hell to stop and walk.

      LOVE the advice about pretzels the day before, totally doing this tomorrow WITH Scott! Thank you friend!

    • That’s exactly what I thought after all was said and done on Saturday — that if we wind up in an ugly spot on race day, at least now we know how that feels and we know how to get through it, even if it’s kind of a disaster, haha.

  12. you are better for this run, and you know it! they cannot all be good, right? where’s the fun in that?? 😉 okay, okay… but really, where would the challenge be, and you know that’s at least part of why you do this.

    and you know you can get through that 26.2, and these kind of runs help you do it AWESOMELY.

    • You’re right, it is a huge part of why I do this — not because it’s so much fun (lol), but because its such a test of our physical and mental fortitude, in a way I’ve never experienced before, nor has Scott.

  13. Pingback: 22 miles: demolished | EatDrinkBreatheSweat

  14. Pingback: Oh, exhaustion. | EatDrinkBreatheSweat

  15. Pingback: The last (long) run | EatDrinkBreatheSweat

  16. Pingback: (almost) Wordless Wednesday — remembering every (long) mile. | EatDrinkBreatheSweat

  17. Pingback: *That* moment. | EatDrinkBreatheSweat

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s