Monday, April 9, 2012

20 miles! What?

I can’t believe I just ran 20 miles! I honestly thought I would have to walk A LOT  when I saw first saw the marathon training plan called for running 20 miles. I couldn't begin to imagine running that distance.  
Dad and I had a goal to not kill any time on this run so we could get a good estimate about how we might possibly do on our April 28th marathon. When thinking back on our previous long runs I recall wasting some time here and there – stopping to eat Honey Stingers, standing around at the turn-around points or switching out water, taking pictures etc.  Dad and I both agreed we were going to try to always be moving forward. We did have to stop to go to the bathroom, of course, but this time we didn’t wait around on each other. The person who took the longest just had to catch up to the other person. (I believe this is  David Murphy, Jon Wilson and Charley Hogue's definition of a tempo run). We also hurried when changing out water. We walked and even kept up a jog while eating our Honey Stingers and taking drinks this time.
We both decided to run our toughest training course in Protem – Eagle Ridge Road. It is a dirt road that goes all the way to the lake. Within the first couple miles there is a huge, long, grueling hill that Dad calls Mount Everest. After that it stays pretty flat with some smaller hills here and there. It is a really beautiful run and we rarely ever meet a car. On the way back the hill (mountain) is really steep and very hard to get up. We are hoping that training on this tough course will give us an extra edge at the marathon.  Here is the elevation chart for the marathon course which has been said to be very hilly. Whoever has said this must not be from the Ozarks. Of course, I may change my tune after I actually run it.

Here is the elevation chart from my run today. 

You can see where we had to conquer our massive hill several times today. I can honestly say I felt great the whole run. The only thing that really bothered me much at all was the top of my left ankle/shin. I would have to stop and stretch it and it would get better. It mainly bothers me when I lengthen my stride while going faster. It barely hurts enough to even mention, but that was really the only thing that bothered me much at all, which I think is a huge blessing.  
Dad and I kept talking about how amazing it is to see what our bodies can do. If you would have asked either of us even a couple weeks ago if we would be running at the end of a 20-mile run, we would have laughed and said we will probably be walking or crawling by that point. Here we were running, talking, and feeling pretty great toward the end of 20 miles! Today I was just amazed at little improvements. For instance, I would make myself run up a hill and my legs would feel super wiped out and dead, but it would only take a few steps of walking, taking a drink of water and they were ready to go again. It is just so amazing how quickly the body can recover.
I hope I don’t jinx myself with this blog, but I really am in shock that I am able to do this! My mom is training for the half marathon and she was only maybe a quarter mile behind us when she finished her 10 miles. When she first started exercising she would walk this road and had to stop three times while just walking up Mount Everest. You should have seen her today. She is a great example that hard work pays off.  I am just so proud of everyone and how far they have come. I am excited to not only see me and my family finish this marathon but also all of my friends who have been going through this training with me. They have worked so hard to get where we are now. Dad and I finished this 20 miles in 3 hours and 59 minutes which is an average 11:56 pace. Our previous average pace on our last two long runs were 13:25 then 12:46. Both were 18-mile runs, so we were beyond thrilled.
After our run we all showered up and went to the Dinner Bell, a small little diner here in Protem, and had the lunch special, which was a one-pound beef enchilada, rice, and beans. Oh my gosh, so delicious. After that, I took an amazing hour-long nap, then sat in the hot tub and had some of my mom’s famous peanut butter cookies. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day. It was so fun to think at the end of the night.. Holy smokes, I ran 20 miles this morning!
The Running for Cara shirts I ordered will be in Tuesday. I can’t wait to pick them up and get them handed out to all those who ordered them. I'll post a picture here on my blog as soon as I get them. Thank you so much everyone for your thoughts, prayers and donations along this journey. There is still plenty of time to donate just click the top right donate button to help Cara’s family with traveling expenses for Cara’s treatments.


  1. Well done!!! Sounds like a really nice place to run!

  2. Jenny, you rock!! Such an inspiration!