Marathon Training Continues: 17 Miler

I officially have a new running PDR (personal distance record): 17 miles!!

By all accounts, this run shouldn’t have been that great. We did the run on Sunday evening because Matt and I were gone all weekend in PA for his friend’s wedding. On Saturday, instead of resting up, I played a couple hours of tennis with Matt, then spent the evening in heels, drinking wine, standing around, and doing some dancing. On Sunday, we were up early and then sitting in the car for 6 hours. My stomach was also a little upset from all the travel and random food. None of this should make for a great run, right? Well… wrong, apparently. Weird how that happens, isn’t it?


Kathleen and I were joined on the run by Kathleen’s future sister-in-law, Rachel, who is most likely going to join us in Richmond for the marathon. She’s an awesome runner – did cross-country all 4 years in college and has done a bunch of marathons and some ultra-marathons, up to a 100k, as well. She now has a 2 year old daughter but is still keeping up with the running, although she hasn’t done a full marathon in a year and a half. She was great company on the run – we all had a lot of fun chatting and it made the miles go by quickly! Her plan was that if this 17 miler felt good, she’d sign up for Richmond with us, so I think she’s in!

The other thing that helped make this run so great, besides the company, was the weather! We started around 4 p.m. on Sunday and it was an absolutely beautiful day. The sun was warm but the air was cool, and it was great that it got cooler as we ran, instead of the normal vice versa.



For fuel, this time I did a combination of shot bloks – the margarita shot bloks (nice and salty) and the orange shot bloks, which have a little bit of caffeine and also taste really good. It was a great mix – I took them both out of the packaging and put them in a ziplock baggie for easy access and ended up eating all of them but 3. I took one every few miles and that seemed to work well.


I also wore my Nathan HPL #020 hydration vest for water. Still loving that thing! I filled it the whole way (it holds 2 liters) and drank nearly all of it – was just finishing it as we ended the run. I also busted out my compression sleeves for the run, and they really helped with soreness/tightness, as always. I think I’ll be wearing them on all the long runs from here on out now that we’re getting into super long distances.

For the run, we did a simple out and back. We ran from Arlington down onto the Mt. Vernon trail, all the way to Old Town Alexandria, and back. It was SO pretty.


There were tons of people at Gravelly Point by the airport watching the planes come in! Nice night to hang out outside.


Blurry action shot:



As I mentioned, our turn around point at mile 8.5 ended up being exactly at the start of Old Town Alexandria in the park along the water. It was so pretty – great place to stop and stretch!


I really can’t believe how good I felt for this run. It was light years better than I felt when we did 16 miles two weeks ago! I’m sure a big part of that was the weather – so much cooler and less humid for this run.


Our last mile was uphill but we pushed through and finished just as the sun was starting to set. 17 miles – wow! Did I seriously just run that far?! And even more insane: did I actually enjoy it?!

So proud. I know we still have some serious miles to cover for the last couple months of training (um, hi, two 20 milers and one 22 miler), but this run helped me to feel a little more confident about tackling those.


  • Mile 1: 8:28 (<— downhill)
  • Mile 2: 8:42 (<— mostly downhill)
  • Mile 3: 9:08
  • Mile 4: 9:22
  • Mile 5: 9:34
  • Mile 6: 9:50
  • Mile 7: 10:05
  • Mile 8: 10:10
  • Mile 9: 10:00
  • Mile 10: 10:13
  • Mile 11: 10:23
  • Mile 12: 10:19
  • Mile 13: 9:42
  • Mile 14: 9:27
  • Mile 15: 9:40
  • Mile 16: 10:02 (<— mostly uphill)
  • Mile 17: 10:01 (<— uphill)
    Our pace was a little all over the place but I was glad to see we sped back up again at the end. Overall, we did the 17 miles in 2 hours 45 minutes for an average pace of 9:43. Our marathon goal pace is around a 9 minute mile so this is right on track – 30 seconds to a minute slower than goal pace is what Mary, my running coach, has us aiming for with training runs.



Besides obviously being really tired, I actually felt pretty good after this long run, too, both immediately and the next day! I was WAY less sore after this than I was after the Parks half marathon last weekend – a speedier pace makes me much more sore than distance, apparently. It also helped that all I had to do was eat dinner, relax, and then go to bed… that’s definitely the big benefit of doing a run at night instead of in the morning! ALSO – I did my first ice bath! It ended up being more of a cold bath than an ice bath because we didn’t have a ton of ice, but I think it really helped with immediate soreness. I’m definitely going to keep incorporating those after long runs!

I also wanted to mention that I bought a fabric velcro wrist strap for my new GPS watch, the Garmin Forerunner 910xt.


I have a really small wrist and the original band that came with the watch was way too big/awkward for me, so I was excited to find they sell a fabric strap that’s made for small wrists. Some of the reviews online say that the velcro wears out easily or that it can break off, but so far I’m really loving it – SO much more comfortable and fits way better. I’ll keep you guys updated on its durability, but as of now, I’d really recommend it if you have this watch and have small wrists!


Coming up next on the marathon training (click that link for more on my training plan & nutrition) docket is a 19 miler this coming weekend. Eek! Getting super close to that scary 2-0…

How is everyone else doing with fall race season training? Any great runs (or hard runs that you pushed through) to report?


  1. 1

    You live in an amazing area where you are able to enjoy the scenery on longer runs! Friends running with you always helps too :) Great accomplishment on 17 miles!

  2. 2

    Nice 17! Looks like a gorgeous route. I love the feeling when you finish a really long run that went well — you never want to shut up about it. Hope to see you in Richmond!

  3. 3

    Congrats on the new distance! You’re rocking the training!!!

  4. 4

    Your training is working and you are getting stronger and the runs are getting easier. Congrats on your PDR!

  5. 5

    so crazy how I’ll be running my first marathon right by you, maybe I’ll see you out there at MCM! My 2nd 20 miler is this weekend, man it’s crazy how far your feet can take you!

  6. 7

    Wine carb-loading FTW.

  7. 8

    I did the RnR Philly this weekend and I wasn’t thrilled with how I felt or my time, but sometimes a race like that reminds me that I love running for more than just the time on the clock or the medal at the end. I have a very hilly half coming up in October. I’m excited/nervous!

  8. 10

    I’m so intrigued by compression sleeves. I’ve seen them around a lot, but wasn’t sure if they were worth the investment. Do you think they help with your knee issues as well or just general soreness? Of course, I guess tight muscles contribute to knee problems. Just curious!

  9. 12

    Congrats on the run! Any time I have to do a long run in the afternoons/ evenings, it NEVER goes well, so it should build your confidence even more that it was an “off” time and you still rocked it!

  10. 13

    You guys rock!! Nice run!!

  11. 14

    I wish I lived closer to DC to run on Mt. Vernon Trail! It looks like a great route.

    I raced 13.1 in Philly this past weekend, and I’m taking it easy this week before my century (100 miles, eek!) bike ride on Sunday.

  12. 16

    Your running views are incredible. I am so jealous! Last Friday I stayed up late, drank margaritas and ate a fried food feast and had a fantastic Saturday morning long run. Go figure!

  13. 18

    I also find that it has been way more enjoyable running outside now that the weather has cooled a bit – although I’m not training for a marathon, just doing shorter interval running :)

  14. 19

    Way to go on 17 miles! I ran 6 miles on Sunday and the cooler weather made a huge difference. It was about 53 degrees in Williamsburg when I started running so I really enjoyed it.

  15. 20

    Ice baths are crucial for the long runs. If I don’t ice bath, I’ll be kept awake with the heat radiating from my inflamed legs.

  16. 21

    Eek!! Well done!! Epic distance and delighted it went so well for you!!! Seriously can’t wait to get back to running. My 10 mile PDR seems so teeny by comparison! :)

  17. 23

    Congrats on your run!!

    This post (and your other long run posts) seems like deja vu for me. I ran the Marine Corps Marathon in 2011 and since I live in Arlington, my long runs were almost the exact same routes as yours! Makes me miss those days. I would get so excited to get farther down the Mount Vernon trail on every run. Ice baths are the best! I would normally pick up a couple bags of ice from 7-11 on my way home and jump right in. I have since had a few injuries so I haven’t been able to run but I love reading about your training. Good luck with the rest of your training and with the marathon!

  18. 25

    Congrats! Getting those longer distance runs under your belt always helps. I was amazed with my first marathon at how those really helped prepare me mentally for the 26.2 distance. You will totally rock it! I’ve been following your blog for awhile, and have been following even more closely now because I’ll be running the half in Richmond. We’ve really lucked out on this weather around DC lately, and I’ve noticed that has made a huge difference in my running. Keep it up and you will have an awesome first marathon!

  19. 27

    Awesome job, Anne. Very well done! This will set you up well for your first marathon…

  20. 28

    Awesome job on the new PDR!!! You are a rockstar!

    I have recently been experimenting with different types of fuel and have found that I can’t stand the Gu anymore. I think I’ll give the Bloks a try this weekend!

  21. 29

    Congrats on the PR! Thats awesome!

  22. 30

    Yay! Great run. :)

  23. 31

    Great run! I miss the days of personal distance records…savor that feeling. I don’t know what it is about 16 milers, but my worst runs have always been 16 miles.

    I have a velcro band for my Garmin 305 and I have had it for years and it is still as good as when I bought it, so the old ones seem to hold up.

  24. 34

    I ran 12 miles on the Crescent Trail last Saturday and it was perfect! It was my first (but definitely not my last!) time on that trail and I loved it. Going back this weekend for 13 (obvi, I’ll add on the .1) and will run the trail all the way to MD :)

  25. 36

    I did a really similar run for my long run. That run to Old Town is so nice. I just bought compression sleeves to wear and I’m a bit hesitant to wear them while running. Do you feel at all constricted with your movement?

  26. 39

    I love the blurry action shot and I love that the weather has finally turned more to fall. Isn’t it incredible to run all these crazy long distances and realize that you are actually doing it! I’ve got my first 20 miler on Saturday and I admit, I’m pretty nervous.

  27. 41
    ilovefetacheese says:

    I love gravelly point! I was just there this weekend. The only thing I don’t like are the bikers that yell at people…Seriously, two different bikers screamed “GET OFF THE TRAIL” at tourists trying to take pictures of the planes landing. I don’t get it! They can just slow down for 10 seconds as they pass the children/families! lol. Sorry to rant. I seriously love this park so much!!!! Especially when the planes are landing from the North. Did you see the fog on the Potomac today? Never knew that’s why they call that area Foggy Bottom!! Winter is coming :( :(

  28. 43

    I live in DC and am training for Richmond as well – my first marathon! I just did a 15 miler this weekend along Mt Vernon Trail and Capital Crescent Trail. We’re lucky to have such amazing running routes and scenery in DC. also good to know about the velcro Garmin band. I have the 110 and the notches are either too big or too small – I’m in between; velcro might work better.
    Have you tried training with the Accel gels they will be handing out in Richmond? That’s what I’ve been using for fuel and they are pretty good but I have heard amazing things about the margarita shot bloks.

    • 44

      We really are lucky! I haven’t tried the Accel gels – I’ll probably bring my own fuel to stick with what I know works, but maybe I’ll pick some up to try them and see… see you in Richmond!


  1. […] legs were feeling pretty stiff and worn out after Sunday evening’s 17 mile adventure, but views like this sure […]

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