A lot can happen in 18 miles. On Saturday, Trea and I ran our longest distance ever. 18 big ones. After my bad experience trudging through 16 miles, I did not have high hopes for this run. But it was awesome! I felt strong the entire time and had plenty of energy to get to the end. I still can't believe I ran that far and actually had fun doing it.
We ran a new route that went through places we were somewhat familiar with, but areas where we usually don't run. It was so nice to have a change of scenery. We ran past the city airport and watched planes take off and land, saw about 47 little kid soccer games and were serenaded by a Latino garage band. I almost stopped and loved on some free puppies that were being given away on the side of the road, but I made myself keep going. It was a beautiful, happy day.
I stopped at a gas station around mile 7 to get some ice and refill my water bottle, and we were already starting to get hungry. After about 10.5 miles, we ran past a Popeyes, and I was doing fine, trucking right along...until the smell hit me. Trea and I both smelled fried chicken and biscuits at the same time and just couldn't resist. We were starving and still had quite a ways to go. I had packed Shotbloks and strawberry Newtons to eat along the way, and I had 8 oz. of Accelerade for an extra boost, but all that stuff suddenly seemed pretty nasty compared to hot, buttery biscuits. So we stopped our watches, walked in all stinky and covered in a thick layer of salt and ordered three biscuits and some water. The lady behind the counter was not too excited about touching my debit card, but I didn't let her snobby attitude get me down. People in the restaurant were staring at us, but we were too hungry and exhausted to care. We took off our gear, plopped down at a table and destroyed some biscuits. YUM.
After a few minutes of rest, we topped off our water supplies and headed back out for 7.5 more. The rest of the run was new territory for me, with much of it on bike trails in Rogers, where I never run. It was sunny and breezy and the fall leaves were beautiful. At around mile 15, we made another quick pit stop. We were just getting started again, ready for the home stretch when the unthinkable happened. I was standing there talking to Trea, waiting for the crosswalk to change, and SMACK, I felt a hard thud on my head, like an acorn had fallen out of a tree. But there weren't any trees.
I got pooped on by a bird! Thank goodness I had a hat on, but it was still disgusting. Luckily, I had packed kleenex, so I was able to clean up a little. An hour later, Trea was still laughing at me.
Even with the bird incident, this was still one of my favorite runs so far. Getting through that distance -- and getting through it feeling good and staying strong -- was huge for me. I feel a lot more confident about finishing a marathon now, but at the same time, I'm still nervous about 26.2. Although I didn't get so tired that I had to take walk breaks on this run, I got little breaks at stoplights, crosswalks, bathroom stops and breaks while I consulted my route notes to figure out where to go. I won't get any breaks like that during a race. Pretty sure I won't have a chance to swing by Popeyes either, so nutrition is a big concern for me. I still don't know what to eat that I can carry with me. I can't eat Shotbloks for 5 hours straight. I can't even get through a whole package without feeling sick. They're just too sweet. On my next long run, I'm planning to pack a PB&J and see how that goes. I need to figure out what works for me in race conditions -- without a bunch of stopping and without a piping hot biscuit.
I don't know what to eat, but at least I know what to wear. I got my first pair of real, legit running tights last week!
No more Old Navy yoga pants for this girl! I feel like a real runner now. They look black in the first photo, but they actually have a fun design so I'll look FAST. (Ha!!)
I'm hoping Memphis brings some cold weather on December 3 so I can put these to good use! They're Nike Pro tights with a soft fleecey lining, so I'm hoping they'll keep my legs toasty warm this winter.
Only 31 days till the St. Jude Memphis Marathon, and just 10 days till my first 20-mile run.