Last weekend I completed my longest run ever, and it was not easy. M plan called for 20 miles. The local running club was putting on a run, which is typically the last long run for those training for the same marathon I'm training for. It's usually on a towpath and just an out and back. Runners could choose their distance and run whatever was needed for their plan. This year the route was changed and was a 10.5 mile route which was to be run twice for those with longer mileage planned.
The run started at 8, with an early start at 7:00 am. Me, being the slow runner I am, decided to start early since I had a commitment later in the day. The first 9 miles were pretty uneventful. I ran with a girl the first 2 miles who was the same pace I was. It would have been nice to run with someone the whole time, but unfortunately, she was only running 4 miles so she turned around at the 2 mile marker.
At mile 9, I hear someone yell my name. I look into the woods and see one of my favorite running buddies (M). She and her daughter started at 8:00 and went backwards on the route. Luckily we found each other because the run would have ended very differently if we hadn't.
She and I finished the 10.5 mile route, stopped at my car to refuel and used the facilities, then we were off for Round 2. About a mile and a half in, however the flu that had been going around our house started to manifest itself in my stomach. I really felt nauseous, and was ready to throw up. I was HOPING I'd throw up. M and I took a short break waiting for it to pass. I never did get sick and the feeling never did pass, but I kept on moving. We continued running, but about my mile 13.5, I couldn't do it anymore. I told M to go on without me and I was going to cut my route short. I started walking while she went on.
Less than a minute later, my mantra came into my mind--No Excuses, No Regrets. This was my only chance to do this long run and I needed to do it. I took a gel (Montana Huckleberry, my favorite) and decided I was going to do this. Not only was I going to do the 20 miles, but route had me doing an extra one. I was going to finish the 21 miles, even if I had to walk some of it.
I caught up with M at a water stop and we finished the next 7 miles together. We had to walk some of it but we finished it. Both of us had our longest runs ever--me at 21 and M at 15+. Things may have ended up differently had we not found each other mid-run, but I'm so glad we did.
Now I'm tapering, which I love! 12 miles this weekend, 8 next weekend, then race weekend! My Achilles' tendon is still bothering me, mostly just walking. However when I start running, it only hurts (quite painfully) during the first 1/2 mile. After that, I can barely feel it. I just keep icing it and stretching it as much as I can. Just don't watch me walk--I limp a lot :) I'm getting excited about this race. I'm anxious to see what I can do with the "power of taper" and the adrenaline of race day.