One of my goals for the summer was to get past the half marathon distance. In previous training cycles for half marathons I’ve done up to 12 miles and of course during race days I’ve run 13.1 miles (or slightly more according to my watch) but I had never been past that. Over the summer I knew I needed to conquer a longer distance. I wanted to get past what felt like a hurdle.
The training plan I received for DTP was perfect for achieving this goal. If I followed the longer of the runs I could get up to 14 miles. It’s been a little over a month since that run. I’m not sure why I didn’t write about it sooner. I think everything fell apart when my foot fell apart but now it’s time to catch up.
Anyway, here is the story. I started off the run with one of my typical DTP running buddies. It was a week that we headed west. It was after my foot problems had started and I knew I needed to start slow. I was excited though. I was feeling like I was finally getting in shape and I was mentally prepared for the distance. As always we had the 5 miles out max rule so we headed out towards the 5 mile mark. For various reasons I had never gone the full 5 miles in that direction. It turns out that the last mile out there is really nice and pretty flat so I decided to turn around and do that one again. I was feeling really good after the turn around and ended up running ahead of my training buddy. So I did just over 5 miles with her and then starting running on my own.
At mile 6 I turned back out and and ran to the turn around again putting me at mile 7….halfway there. Since it was only 5 miles back to the start I knew I had to add an extra two miles somewhere or run east past the start point. I decided I would look for good spots to add extra. On the way back I found two good half mile sections and ran those the extra times to get the extra two miles. It was a bunch of back and forth and as I got further along I knew I had to be careful with my math.
At one point I passed a man who was walking and mentioned that I would see him again in a minute because I was about to turn….I didn’t want to crash into him when I turned. He yelled at me for not running to the intersection to make the turn – not in an angry way but it in a joking way. I tried to explain that I had to follow my watch or I was going to get all messed up but I’m pretty sure all he saw was a crazy girl in a skirt.
I saw Kim and her buddies as I was doing one of my weird extra portions and they of course cheered me on. I saw some of the other DTP runners multiple times and it helped keep me motivated.
After I ran 13.1 miles I felt pretty good and knew I just had to
coast fight my way through the bridges at the end. I tried to stay as strong as I could going over the bridges and I was super excited when I got to the top of the hill on the last one.
As I came down the hill I raised my arms above my head and started screaming about my longest run ever. Coach Mike was at the start/finish spot and I think he was concerned at first since I was screaming. Then he understood why I was so excited. And of course congratulated me. A few random runners on the trail also congratulated me.
My smile was absolutely huge and I could not contain my excitement. It felt like a huge hurdle and I just needed to get past the half marathon distance to know that in the future I can go much further.
I think the excitement caused me to ignore the pain in my foot because it really didn’t bother me so much that day. After doing that run my buddy and I headed out for a one night camping trip. We decided to go hiking that afternoon and did 6 miles. I was tired but I think it was good to keep my legs from getting too tight. I ended up feeling pretty good the next day.
I have one more 14 mile run scheduled for the end of the month. Given that everyone else is racing their marathon the week before I’m pretty sure I will be doing this run by myself. It will be a good test of my mental strength. At this point I know I can do it physically. I will need to keep it slow because it will be 11 days before my race and I don’t want to tear myself up before the race. If things aren’t feeling right I won’t push it.