Sunday, September 13, 2009


I didn't know how to title this post. I was in between:
  1. 20 down, 6.2 to go: My first 20-Mile Run
  2. Two States and the District
  3. ...and then I punched myself in the face
  4. Sorry if the smell bothers you, and
  5. See You in Boston
You're excited now, aren't you?

I got 10.5 hours of sleep last night and then laid in bed for an extra 30 minutes. It was amazing! Then I realized while eating my cinnamon toast and drinking my morning coffee that the Nation's Triathlon was today. I groaned as I looked at the course on my computer. There was no way I would be able to get into Virginia without crossing the course at one point. Then, I was inspired. I have always wanted to do a 20-Mile run that covers both Virginia and Maryland. That way, I could say my morning run consisted of Two States and the District of Columbia. By this time, I was starting my run so late that I wouldn't have run into the triathlon anyway. It was also late enough that I would be running into 80 degree weather. Awesome.

My run started off poorly. My legs were heavy and it took effort to get my pace up, despite the warm-up walk/jog. Then my pace felt pretty solid as I passed over the Potomac into Virginia. One state down, one more to go. I went back into DC and started on the Capital Crescent Trail. I've always feared this trail because its a big biking trail, and I once had a sorority sister get run over by two bikes, leading to a broken nose, a fat lip, and injured ribs and an ankle.

So you know when you are driving at high speeds and obviously, you hit bugs and they show up on your window-shield? Well, the human body doesn't include a window-shield. When running, you just deal with running into them. I ran into a bee at chest length, and had a minor freakout. I HATE bugs and I'm so petrified of bees that even at 21, I've never been stung (I always run when I see one). I started thinking about this. If I got stung or bit, I know how to take care of it, but would I really be bad ass enough to finish the run? Not two minutes later, I'm running along enjoying my pace when BAM! something BIG is in my EYE.

... and then I punched myself in the face.

I've had little bugs in my eye before, but this one was buzzing in the corner of my face and not coming out. In 2 seconds, my mind goes a million places. What will it feel like to get stung in my eyeball? What if I lose my sight? I imagine this insect latching onto me with its teeth. Throughout this, I'm clawing the side of my face and bringing my thumb and side of my hand into my nose repeatedly. Finally, its out. I feel like my nose is starting to swell. I can feel the soreness as I start running and my feet is pounding on the pavement. I figure it bit me, or I got stung but... it doesn't sting. I started touching the area lightly and realize that is very sore. Sore as in I just got punched in the nose. Right, that's exactly what happened.

Honestly, it really hurt. And when something hurts at Mile 5/20, you're screwed. I rinse my eye out with the sort-of-kinda-still-cold water and keep running. I passed into Maryland at Mile 9 and was so excited about finally doing that. Don't worry, I didn't go all Walk to Remember and put one leg on each side of the border so I could say I was in two places at once (I did think about it). After about a 1/2 mile I turned around.

I did the first 13.1 in about 1:50, perfect for a 3:40 marathon. I should have scolded myself then and there for running at race-pace and not the 40 seconds over race-pace that I ought to be doing during training. But at this point, I have about 7 miles to go, Bon Jovi's Living on a Prayer was blasting and I felt awesome, so I kept it up. Jump 7 miles later, and I finished, feeling great despite the small amount of liquids I was drinking and the 80+ degree heat. I also had a 2 mile walk home, which I decide is a good thing since I need to be used to being on my feet longer than the 2 hours and 47 minutes I ran.

This was a great call because I found a breakfast place on the way with bagels. Bagels and peanut butter! I grabbed a protein-full odwalla shake on the way in and got in line. There was a lady and her son at the counter and within 2 minutes I was giving her the look of death. She changed her order a bazillion times before I could order my bagel. I took to chugging my odwalla to keep me from punching her in the face. When she was putting away her change, I jumped up next to her and placed my order. She then decided she also wanted a diet coke. I glared at her and she looked at me, clearly annoyed by my presence. Then I realized I was really sweaty and didn't shower this morning. She decided not to get the diet coke after all and left before I could say: Sorry if the smell bothers you. I just ran 20 miles and I. Want. My. Bagel.

Despite being decked out in running gear and stinky, I grabbed a table at the cafe and inhaled my bagel and shake. Now that I had food in me, I was able to do math. Its then when I realized that 2 hours and 47 minutes would give me 53 minutes to run 6.2 miles. I just did 20-miles at race pace, in 80 degree heat, with all the complications of people in my way and streets to stop at. I started thinking that maybe I should aim for a 3:30 MCM. I need to share my new-found excitement so as I turn off my watch, I say: See you in Boston!

See, I have a minor freakout everyday. I sit at work and look at other people's training blogs and I read articles how to train and do better and I realize that I didn't run for a whole week in July, I had such a bad slump. I didn't work enough on speedtraining. My tempo runs aren't all that great. I should have done a 20-miler earlier. I'm going to peak too soon... and I freak out a little bit and start looking at hotels in Vegas since Plan B is running the Vegas Marathon in December if I fail to qualify at MCM. But today, as I crossed over to the super market to buy a gigantic bottle of Gaterade, I had a bit of a skip in my step with the confidence I'd been lacking, as I thought:


Garmin details

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