TWENTY

I did twenty miles!!!!!!!!!!

I am riding this crazy high, because last week I was ready to quit running, quit the marathon.  Actually for the past month I’ve been feeling like that because I haven’t had a successful long run since my randomly awesome 15 miles in Michigan.  Every long run has been cut short by pain, mostly back pain.  Before that it was GI issues.  I have not had an easy summer.  Never the less, here I am victorious on the other side of 20 miles, and it feels incredible (and sore!).

I have been seeing an active release chiropractor who has yet to adjust me.  We start off with heat on my back, ultra sound, and a little movement and stretching on his table that moves.  Then, we work through a series of positions and stretches where he uses pressure on different parts of my body.  For example : to stretch my IT band, I am on my side on the table and he is lifting, twisting, and stretching my leg while one of his hands applies pressure to the IT band, moving down its length.  I leave feeling loose, limber, and like I had a pilates type workout.  It is really amazing.

On Sunday we did a Punch-a-Thon at my gym (blog coming tomorrow) which was a serious 90 minute workout, but one that I felt really good throughout.  On Monday I visited my doctor (Dr. Aloi in Freehold) and got a great stretch of sore muscles.  Tuesday I ran 20 miles and I had NO BACK PAIN.  Insanity.  Today I went back to the doctor and he worked out everything I pounded into my body during those 20 miles.  I feel incredible.

What I’ve learned from this summer is to listen to my body.  There’s a difference between pain from exertion and pain from injury.  You have to listen to figure out which is which, and both deserve attention.  I have become so in tune with my body through marathon training that it’s much easier to distinguish between the two.

So here is how I did 20 miles, besides building up to it.  First, I asked my husband to ride his bike ahead of me.  This way I had someone who knew the route, and I wasn’t worried about slowing another runner down, even though my friends have so graciously slowed for me on long runs.  Also, he was able to carry a bunch of extra water, my BCAA drink, gatorade, extra fuel, and a different pair of shoes.  He would ride ahead to the next turn and wait to direct me.  He got a good workout too!

Next, I split the run into 5 mile chunks.  At each 5 mile interval, I stopped to stretch, fuel, and hydrate.  This set me up for success not only physically but mentally.  When it got tough, all I had to do was make it 3 more miles, or 1 more mile, before a break.  Often we runners don’t fuel early enough, and by the time fatigue sets in it’s almost too late to fuel.  Each section was increasingly more difficult, but I made it.

Finally, I told myself it was okay, whatever happened, and tried to stay in the moment.  Before I left a friend said, “Enjoy it!” and I laughed.  Enjoy 20 miles??  How?!  But a couple of times I actually looked up and around and enjoyed my surroundings.  The weather was beautiful, the grass green, and the scenery was nice.  I did enjoy it.

After my run I reached to the sky and celebrated, then promptly laid down and thought I might never get back up.  Hubs helped me raise my feet up, and for the first time after a run I didn’t feel like I was going to pass out (I got the blood flowing to my brain and not my legs.  Often after the run I feel faint, and I can’t form words well.  Not good.)  The rest of the day was a lazy one, and I am still sore, but I finished.  Now I have a one way ticket to TAPER TOWN.

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