On Saturday, I set a new running PDR (personal distance record): my friends and I ran 22 miles!
This was our last super long run before the Richmond Marathon in 3 weeks! I know a lot of people do 20 miles as their longest run before a marathon, but since this will be the first full marathon for me and my friend Kathleen, my running coach Mary wanted to make sure we would feel prepared. 22 miles it was!
We originally had two 20 milers and this 22 miler in our marathon training plan (click that link to read more about it), but I only did one of the 20 milers a month ago because the weekend of the second 20 miler I was having some weird foot pain. I’ve decided it must have been a bruise, because it’s totally fine now. I’m so relieved! We also did the Tough Mudder last weekend, though, which was “only” 11 miles but I feel like that counted as a super long run since we were on our feet on the course for 3.5 hours. Right?!
It was a gorgeous day for a run on Saturday – cold but sunny. My training buddies Kathleen, Rachel, and I all met up at 9 a.m. in the Roosevelt Island parking lot on the Mt. Vernon Trail, ready to go.
It had been awhile since all 3 of us ran together due to travel and such, so it was great to be reunited. I love running with these ladies!
We decided to run up towards Bethesda on the Capital Crescent Trail for this week’s adventure, so we ran over Key Bridge…
Down onto K street past the Key Bridge Boathouse and onto the trail.
We quickly settled in and enjoyed the fresh air and conversation. I love this photo below. <3 We had the trail practically to ourselves on Saturday morning – everyone was probably at home resting up for the Marine Corps Marathon on Sunday!
Running this way on the trail is challenging, because it’s slightly uphill all the way to Bethesda (it’s about 8 miles one way, I think, from the entrance in Georgetown to Bethesda). My legs were definitely feeling it but I reminded myself how awesome the downhill would be on the way back.
For fuel for this run, I did what’s been working for me on previous long runs: I start with a mocha Clif Shot Gel (added caffeine – yay! I don’t usually have coffee before early runs so this is nice), then move on to margarita Shot Bloks (added salt and good amount of carbs, plus they taste awesome), and then near the end of the run (around mile 16 or 17 usually) when I’m sick of those and want real food, I eat a Cascadian Farm chewy granola bar. I ate 1 and a half of those at the end of our run. It worked well! And before our run, I had a piece of toast with almond butter and a sliced banana.
I also wore my Nathan HPL 020 hydration vest for water, as usual. It holds 2 liters and I usually drink just about all of it through these long runs, sipping whenever I feel like it. A blog reader commented on my Instagram page that she contacted Richmond race officials and hydration packs ARE allowed for the race. Whew!!! I was getting worried since they have been banned at some of the really large marathons this fall. All three of us are planning to wear our hydration back packs for the race!
Once we ran through Bethesda, we continued on the trail until we hit mile 11 and then turned around. It was so beautiful out with the fall colors and the sunshine.
You guys know I’m normally a very social/chatty runner, and the ladies and I always have fun talking doing runs, but it’s funny because we all suddenly get quiet usually around mile 15 or so on these long runs without even really realizing it. As Rachel said, “I think we’re all digging deep right now, huh?” There’s something very soothing about being out running with friends in silence, though, after going that far together. Even if you aren’t talking the whole time, you know they are still there for support.
Another thing that I’ve noticed about running this far is that it’s fascinating how quickly your mood will swing. One second I’d be like “Ughhhh are we done?” and then the next second: “This is awesome, yay!” It’s so weird. It’s like you have less energy to buffer how you’re feeling.
Instead of running down on the Capital Crescent Trail on the way back, we hopped up on the C&O Canal (my old friend!), which runs parallel to the other trail. It’s nice because there aren’t any bikers so we could run 3 deep with no problem. Again, we practically had it to ourselves since everyone else in the city was resting up for the race!
We stopped for a quick stretch break and a photo at mile 20, pictured below. We also stopped a few times earlier in the run (untimed) – once for a bathroom break, and a couple times to stretch. Even just stopping briefly seems to really help with soreness, so we’ll probably take at least a couple really fast stretch breaks during the marathon, too.
I love this part of the trail. So gorgeous!
Before we knew it, we were running back over Key Bridge towards our cars.
And then we were done. 22 miles – had we seriously just run that far?!
- Mile 1: 9:18
- Mile 2: 9:01
- Mile 3: 9:05
- Mile 4: 9:09
- Mile 5: 9:40
- Mile 6: 9:59
- Mile 7: 9:40
- Mile 8: 9:37
- Mile 9: 10:34
- Mile 10: 8:53
- Mile 11: 9:12
- Mile 12: 8:53
- Mile 13: 9:27
- Mile 14: 11:12
- Mile 15: 8:52
- Mile 16: 8:57
- Mile 17: 9:01
- Mile 18: 8:56
- Mile 19: 9:00
- Mile 20: 9:20
- Mile 21: 9:33
- Mile 22: 9:06
As you can see, our pace varied some based on the hills, but I was really pleased, especially with the last few miles. We’re aiming to do 9 minute miles on race day, so this is right on track for a training run! Total distance: 22 miles. Total time: 3:26:38. Average overall pace: 9:23 minute/miles.
So proud. We’re all feeling ready and excited at this point. For some reason 22 miles felt a lot different confidence wise for the race than 20 did. When we finished 20 I felt like, wow, we still would have a LONG way to go. Finishing 22, we all felt like we could just have done the damn thing and finished the last 4 miles that day! I know that running “only 4 more miles” is still pretty legit when it comes after just having run 22 miles, but I’m still feeling optimistic. And now, to taper!
On the docket next: a 5 miler and a 6 miler this week, and a 12 miler next weekend – potentially in Central Park since we’ll be in NYC spectating the marathon! Then it’s time for serious tapering – two more short-ish weekday runs next week, followed by an 8 miler the weekend before the race. In between, I’ll be doing some yoga and swimming. Then the week of the race, I’ve got a 3 mile run and a 2 mile shake out. And then: 26.2! Eeee!!
Is it November 16 yet?!
Who else got in a good run or ran a race this weekend? How’d it go?