The “first” 20
It’s a little crazy to think that with two-and-a-half months before the Chicago Marathon and only 4 weeks into marathon training, I was scheduled for a 20-mile run this weekend. But despite thinking the ramp up was a little aggressive, I was committed to getting through the miles. One way or another.
We started at 6:10am and had a big crew with us. Christi and Dana started at 5:30am and were 4 miles in when they picked up me, Martha, Meghan, Jaime and Bri at 96th Street. I woke up wishing I was one of those people that did brunch with her girlfriends on Saturdays instead of running crazy distances. I wasn’t the only one who felt a little hesitant about our run. Jaime and I were sprawled across the concrete. Martha was a bit hungover. It was gonna be a rough start.
The temps were cooler than last week but the humidity was still bad. The 7 of us took off going north, with a plan to get through the miles even with the sweat and exhaustion.
We got about 4.7 miles in when we reached the closing of the Monon. There is construction on a bridge so though we ducked behind some caution signs, we hit the final stopping point right at 5 miles.
Up until this point, we were clipping at a 9:20ish pace. And though it felt fine, I kept worrying about how to maintain it for the full 20 miles. We took plenty of breaks where we chugged water and ate gels and wrung out our clothes.
And at mile 10, we were back at 96th street. Jaime, Martha and Dana finished. Bri, Meg, Christi and I carried on. I removed my tank and when I wrung it out, sweat came pouring out. It was repulsive!
Bri turned around about 20 minutes later which left the three of us to carry on into Broadripple. When we ran past Broadripple Crossfit, Meg and I said hi to our crossfit coach, Jeff. We laughed how we had to make sure we’d run strong on the way back too so he knew we were badasses. We’ve been doing crossfit together now for the past few weeks and love it. The movements are hard and difficult to master. And we’re always exhausted after the WOD (workout of the day) but it’s fun to feel like an Olympian weight lifter a few times a week!
With only a couple miles to go, Christi went on ahead of us as she had to meet Bri for a roadtrip.
So it was Meg and I, knocking out those last 6 miles. We were hot, tired and sweaty. Our will was resolute though – we were going to do 20 miles come hell or high water. When training this spring, my first two 20-mile attempts weren’t successful. I didn’t want to start off the same way. But this run wasn’t pretty.
My hip hurt. My shin hurt. My running partner in crime was in some pain too. But despite all of that, neither of us were discouraged. I told her, the one benefit of having run 8 marathons is that I am not stressed about what this first 20-miler feels like. We have around 10 weeks until the race. And 4 more 20s. The fact that we pushed our bodies to this distance this early only will get us ready faster. But it didn’t have to feel good. And it didn’t.
With only a mile left to go, we came upon a group of people offering free, freezing cold bottles of water. There was a church message covering the label but they weren’t doing anything else to push their agenda. They were so supportive of our running and chatted us up as we took a drinking break. We also had gotten Gatorade from IndyRunners, Carmel Runners and the Blue Mile. And Christi and left ice again at 106th. We were nothing if not hydrated.
When we finished our distance, our bodies hurt but our spirits were pretty high. It took a long time. We walked more than we’d like to admit. But we did it. And in 2 weeks, we’ll do it again. This time hopefully a little more gracefully.