November 23, 2009

20 Miles in the Bag

Yesterday Tom, Stacey, and I headed out bright and early for our last long run before the inaugural Santa Barbara International Marathon. Waking up at 5am was certainly not fun, but I was kind of excited to finally knock out the 20 miler. For me, this run is almost more of a challenge than the marathon itself. It lacks the energy, crowds, adrenaline, and motivation of a race, elements that for me make the miles tick by, almost unnoticed. Also, it essentially proves to me that I'm ready for the marathon. Knowing that I can do 20 is a huge confidence booster, and makes the last 6.2 a mental game that I'm now ready for!

We met at Stacey's house in Goleta and her husband kindly drove us out to Montecito. Tom and Stacey had mapped out a route so that we would do a point-to-point back to her house! Even now, I still can't believe that we ran all the way from Montecito to Goleta! It was nice and cool for the first 10 miles and they passed by with good conversation and good scenery. We ram along the coast for a bit then up State Street, window shopping as we ran. Then State eventually turned into Hollister and Santa Barbara turned into Goleta. I've found on longer runs that the first 10 miles for me are actually harder than the second 10 miles. Maybe it just takes me some time to get into my "zone", but it was the same in my first marathon and yesterday's run.

My body started protesting around mile 14 with throbbing hips and knees and tender feet and toes, but it wasn't so bad that I had to stop. In fact it felt better to run than to walk! I did take that as a sign, however, that it is once again time for a new pair of shoes. We made a few stops to get water and Gatorade to refuel and to use the restroom, but other than that, we were pretty strong running-wise, taking fewer walking breaks than in previous runs. The last mile was pretty tough, but I think it was all mental. I think no matter what distance you decide the run, the last mile is always tough because you know it's the last. If we had been running 22 instead, I probably wouldn't have been dying until mile 21. Hopefully this will hold true in the marathon!

After the run we stretched out on the lawn in the warm sun while Stacey's husband made us a wonderful breakfast complete with eggs, hashbrowns, bacon (not for me, of course), and fruit salad. Yum!! Sunday night my sorority had our Fall formal, Initiation Ball, downtown at the Maritime Museum. The theme was Roaring '20s (it was a day full of 20s!) so it was fun to dress up, and it was a beautiful venue along the Santa Barbara wharf, but I was so tired it was hard to fully enjoy it. And my legs didn't even let me consider dancing!

I'm so glad our training has finally reached it's peak because that means now it's time to taper for 2 weeks! This is my favorite time of marathon training, and I think many runners will agree. It's a good feeling to know you're physically ready for the race and to let your excitement and energy slowly build for 2 weeks. Thanksgiving is this week (where did the time go?!) so I'll be heading home to Sacramento on Wednesday for a long weekend with family. I seriously can't wait! Thanksgiving day my dad and I will be running a 5k turkey trot, the Sacramento Run to Feed the Hungry. I won't be racing it for several reasons, but it will be my first time running, let alone a race, with my dad and I can't wait! Besides Thanksgiving, I've started putting together my race calendar for 2010, so hopefully I'll be posting that soon. I hope everyone has a fantastic and safe Thanksgiving!


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