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22 Miles

My last long run before the Marathon was this past Wednesday.  The night before, I ate my typical pre-long run meal: Salmon burger, salad, & sweet potatoes.  I got plenty of rest that night.  I woke up early to frigid cold temperatures and a fresh blanket of snow covering the ground.  What?  It is mid-April!  I was actually angry and very frustrated!  It was the only day I could do the long run and I just could not bear dodging snow and ice again.  

As I was getting my kids ready for school, I contemplated running it on the treadmill.  “22 miles on a treadmill, am I crazy?” I said out loud.  My 8 year old son replied, “Mom, it’s just a little snow!”  Ok, yes, he was right!  As I went to walk him out to the bus, the wind was whipping the branches of the trees around and our driveway was covered with crunchy ice.  What to do?  The “feels like temperature” on the weather report said 17 degrees!  However, it was supposed to start warming up by 10am, but the high winds were not going away.

After many conversations with myself, I decided to “just do it!”.  I waited until 9:30am to head out.  I was dressed in my running attire that I typically wear in January.  The first 2 miles were very cold, but once I warmed up, I felt much better.  There was a lot of ice to navigate around though, so I decided to not even look at my pace (of course I did anyway!).  I just wanted to get through this run without twisting an ankle!  By mile 4, I had really warmed up.  The sun was out and the sky was clear and beautiful.  I ended up taking off my hat and gloves and hiding them behind a bush to pick up later.

Initially I was glad I did this, but the wind started to really pick up as I got closer to the ocean.  Below is a picture I took around mile 7, you can see all of the white caps in the water. I was being blown sideways a bit here as I snapped this shot and my hands were freezing cold!  I ended up tucking them in my sleeves for a bit.
I continued to plug away, and despite the high winds & cold, I really felt good.  My legs felt strong and I was surprised at how quickly the first 12 miles passed.  I was not running fast, but my pace was good considering the wind and hills.  The route I was on was so beautiful!  Here is a picture on the way to Little John Island:
I turned around here and headed back home.  At this point, I had a fairly steep hill to climb up, which was the beginning of the pain.  I made it up turned the corner and came across quite a bit of ice on the walkway that I typically run on.  I ended up running on the road, which has no shoulder.  Next, I reached the bridge from Cousin’s Island to Yarmouth.  At this point, the cross winds were horrendous.  It took me what felt like forever to get across that bridge.  I held onto my sun visor so it would not blow off.  My pace had slowed down  a whopping 2 minutes per mile as I crossed the bridge!  

I was hoping the winds would die down when I got off the bridge, but they did not.  Next, I had a long moderately steep hill to run up.  This was mile 14 isn and I started to really struggle here.  I felt like I was being pushed backward!

Once I made it up the hill, I turned down a side road and finally had the wind at my back!  Thank goodness!  I tried to pick up my pace again and was able to do so, but I was starting to hurt now.  Unfortunately, quite a bit of negative self-talk started: “How am I going to run 26.2 miles, if I hurt now at mile 16…10.2 miles to go here…What am I thinking?  I should just stick to half marathons!”  It went on for about a mile, until I refocused: “This is a training day, look how far you have come, you can do this!  Most people would not dream of running in this wind!”  “Run the Mile You are In Now!”

I made it to mile 19 with positive self-talk and distraction.  I kept my pace up, “I can do this!”  Then, at mile 20, my joints began to really ache. “Oh my God, 6.2 miles from here on race day, what am I going to do?”  I kept looking at my watch: 20.4 miles, 20.6 miles, 20.9 miles, “Stop looking!!”  I made it to my driveway with .3 miles to go to make it to 22, so I ran back and forth until I hit it!  
22 miles solid.  Ok, I can do this!  I had made it home just in time to shower & head to pick up my kids from school and take them off to their extracurricular activities.  Of course, I could barely walk as I headed into my son’s school &  my hair was still wet & I had a ring around my head from my sun visor, but I was happy!  I finally felt ready to tackle the 26.2 miles that await me on Mother’s Day!