Tuesday, September 1, 2015

TOTR: I survived my longest run yet.

Happy Tuesday ya'll! Two posts in a row from me is pretty rare at the moment but I had to pop in real quick and talk about Saturday!

Linking up for Tuesday's on the Run!

Saturday was my toughest and longest run to date and I'm happy to report that I survived. Barely. I feel like even though I'm not exactly a new runner, marathon training is teaching me something new each and every week--mostly that I'm capable of doing some awesome things if I just shut my mind up and go. Isn't that the funny thing about running though? Our mind gives out waaaaaaay before our body ever does.

As I haven't locked down a solid training partner yet (I need that accountability!), I decided at basically the last second to run a half marathon on Saturday. I had 16 miles on the schedule so I figured--run 13.1 and then tack on an extra 3. No big deal. The only problem? I forgot to factor in my overly competitive nature and even though I was just going out to get some miles in with about 500 friends, I ended up racing. Go figure. I have the worst time turning my competitive spirit off. It just doesn't happen.

So, Saturday morning I was up bright and early. Although I have to admit, after a 3:30am wake-up call the weekend before, 4:30am was a piece of cake. ;) The race started at 7 and was about an hour and a half a way so I left at 5, got there around 6:30, got my things together, did my business (ha), and it was time to go racing boys and girls.

Toeing up to the start line, I was pretty nervous. My legs didn't feel great, I wasn't exactly thrilled to be running a half marathon, and the thought of 16 miles was pretty daunting. Once the gun went off though, I tried to push that aside and just run. No thinking, no worrying.. just one foot in front of the other. It was an absolutely beautiful morning so it made everything quite pleasant.

It's funny what goes through your mind during a longer run. On Saturday, I couldn't help but think back to my first time running this same half marathon. It was my very first half EVER and it was a disaster. I was under trained, had major stomach issues, and had no clue what I was doing. Running seems simple until you actually start doing it and then you realize how much WORK and perseverance and knowledge it takes. I ran that race in 2:28:14. I'll never forget that number. I remember finishing and thinking that I would never do it again. EVER.

And now I'm training for a full marathon. Go figure.

Anyway, that consumed my brain for quite some time. I think that's what pushed me to actually race this one. I wanted redemption and I wanted it bad.

The first 5 miles of the race flew by. But then again, they always do.You're riding that "half marathon" high and all of the excitement is still in the air. It's mile 6-10 where things get a little dicey. At least for me anyway. I always feel like 6-10 take FOREVER. My brain slowly starts running out of things to think about, my mind wanders, and add in some major hills on this race and boom. It becomes miserable.

On the bright side, I was running a decent race time wise at this point. I was right with the 1:40 pacer and even though I was starting to feel a little sluggish and just over running at this point, I couldn't deny that for being such a hilly race, I was going at a good clip.

Mile 10 was where this race started getting interesting for me. Usually at mile 10, I know I just have a 5k left and am in pretty good shape. This race however... good grief. Mile 10-13.1 were ALL. HILLS. I mean, the course up to this point was pretty hilly but nothing like the last 3.1. I was so, so, SO done at this point. I normally don't fuel up during the race on halfs but I had no other choice on this one. They were handing out gels right before the big hill and even though I KNOW you're not supposed to change it up on race day, I grabbed one and sucked it down as fast as I could. Luckily it was pretty tasty and not too bad.

(For the record, had I been running all 16 miles right then, I would have brought fuel)

So with that, mile 10-13.1 were hell but I trucked on and finished. I ended up coming in at 1:42:13 and would have been in the 1:40-1:41 range but my GPS had the course running a little long. Not my PR by any means but for going into the race with a bad attitude and not really wanting to run (PLUS HILLS!), I have absolutely NO complaints. And it was actually my second fastest half ever.

And actually, I ended up winning my age group which was totally unexpected and pretty awesome. I've had a lot of success with shorter distance races and so to start seeing some with these longer distances gives me faith that my hard work is paying off!

After accepting my award and basically eating everything in sight (best post race food ever! Chick-fil-a and BOJANGLES! WHAT?!), I got in the car and trucked it back home. Which was inevitably a mistake as I majorly tightened up but it is what it is.

As soon as I got home, I headed to the gym for my last 3 miles. I thought about running outside but I knew that they wouldn't be quality miles at this point so the treadmill seemed like a better option. At least this way I could control my pace. I busted out the last 3 and with that, I breathed a sigh of relief because my longest run to date was OVER!

So what did I learn on Saturday? That maybe, just MAYBE I can do this marathon thing. I still have a long way to go but I'm starting to feel more and more confident in my abilities. I'm getting stronger on my long runs and feel like come November, I'll at the very least be able to finish 26.2.... which is the goal all along. If I can do it in a decent time, great. If not? Who cares. I just ran a freakin' marathon.

I hope you all have a wonderful Tuesday!



  1. Congratulations on winning your age group!!!! Excited to see how your marathon goes :)

  2. Fantastic job, congratulations! To imagine going from a 2:28 half marathon to a 1:42...just amazing. You'll definitely do great on your marathon, keep up the great work!

  3. Great job! Congrats on winning your age group! When I was training for the Philadelphia Marathon last year, I thought I'd do the same thing you did-- run a trail half marathon, then squeeze out 5 more miles afterwards. What I didn't take into account was the hills (ugh). I ended up doing my 5 miles on the elliptical. It all worked out it the end though :) And BTW, you can TOTALLY do a marathon!

  4. Big big big congrats, Sarah!! Mm I could go for some chik-fil-a...

  5. You are super woman!! CONGRATS girl! You will totally be my motivation to get back into running after I have this babe!