Slow and Steady Wins the Race

23 Miles and my 34th birthday

on October 18, 2010

On October 16th, I turned 34 years old. My birthdays in years past usually involved a party and lots of alcohol (after I turned 21, cause I was a rule follower, okay maybe not, but let’s pretend). I was known to do a keg stand from time to time and there is even photographic evidence of one. What did I do this year to celebrate?

I ran 23 miles for the first time ever.

Who does that? On their birthday?

Apparently, me.

It was kind of a cool way to celebrate turning another year older. Pushing my body to new limits instead of nursing a hangover. I felt powerful when I finished and that is an amazing thing especially after the 20 mile run that had me nearly in tears for the last 5 miles. I would have moved that long run to another weekend if I had been able to, but being sick for 2 weeks and the need for 3 weeks of taper just didn’t allow it. Now I am glad that the run fell on my birthday. The running gods were smiling on me that day. I hope they come and sit on my shoulder during the marathon too.

Here is how the run itself went.

I rolled out of bed a little later than I wanted to, but I was determined not to rush myself and just go with the flow. I bought some new Under Armor running tights to test out for this run as a possibility for marathon day. They are actually cold gear tights and recommended for weather under 55 degrees. The morning was going to be chilly but when I finished it would be in the 60’s. I rolled the dice and wore them anyway. My legs were a little warm at the end but I combated that with a tank top under my pull over. It all worked out well.

I gathered my fuel and hydration. Water, Orange Gatorade (G2 with sodium), 2 packs Gu Chomps and a Nutrigrain bar. I also had two slices of toast with peanut butter and a cup of coffee for breakfast.

When I got out to the trail it was cold! I love running in the cold though and will take that any day over the heat. I turned on my Garmin. Guess what? Batteries low.

Oh yeah, I did it again. It lasted for 10 miles before dying.

Turns out that running without the technology was probably a good thing for me. I wasn’t constantly checking my time and pace. I was running based on how my body felt instead of set intervals. I wasn’t rushing to get done. I also did something I haven’t done before and broke the run into different mental chunks. The first part was a 10 mile run. I can do 10 miles and feel great. All I kept thinking about was how I was just running 10 miles. The second part was 7 miles. I thought about how easy a 7 mile run is for me. The last 6 was a little tougher. I did think about turning around about 1.5 miles in and just doing 20 that day. However, I knew I would beat myself up for it. I also thought about how bad that previous 20 mile run was and how DIFFERENT I felt this time. Sure, my body hurt but I was still running and I never felt like I couldn’t run. I thought about how proud I would be to finish that 23 miles. I visualized the finish line. It got me over the hump.

The things that I changed for this run to avoid a disaster like last time:

  • New socks! The smarwool worked well for me. I still have a couple of small blisters on my pinky toes, but they didn’t bother me that much while running.
  • 2nd skin. I wrapped my toes prone to blisters and the side of my foot that blistered last time. I will wrap a bit better next time after figuring out what worked and what didn’t.
  • Hydration, Hydration, Hydration. I took plenty of water and Gatorade and I stopped 3 times to refill. I kept the second and third sections of my run closer to my car so I could be sure the refill as needed.
  • I used Gu Chomps every 5 miles. I think this made a big difference. I also ate the nutrigrain bar after 17 miles instead of a banana.

When I finished this run I had a smile on my face. I didn’t feel like road kill for once. I was so happy to finally finish a long run without wanting to die at the end. My confidence is so much higher now and I WILL finish the marathon.

In total this run took me 5 and 1/2 hours to finish. I took a few breaks for refilling hydration, stretching and one bathroom stop. I think overall it took me 5:15:00 of running for an avg. pace of 13:41 min/per mile.

One last thing that I hate to mention but will just in case someone knows. I started having pain on the top of my foot (midway between my big toe and ankle) around mile 19. I was able to run through it but it is still sore today. I can push on it without it really hurting, so I don’t think it is bone issue. It might be related to running in my new shoes. Anybody ever had this problem? I am using a new lacing technique and I wonder if it is too tight.


7 responses to “23 Miles and my 34th birthday

  1. Amy W says:

    Happy Belated Birthday! Mine is tomorrow (although I am one year older…).

    Awesome job on your 23 miler!

  2. janet says:

    stress fracture?

    • Ann says:

      I will pretend you didn’t say that :). A stress fracture would mean I wouldn’t be able to run the marathon and well that just isn’t going to happen at this point. I really think it is just a muscle issue and I tweaked something. Good thing I start taper this week!

  3. ~love says:

    hi! thank you for partnering with me on the well! i love that we share a birthday and that you did something big, too! i cannot fathom running that far! awesome.

  4. Lisa says:

    Happy belated birthday and awesome job on your run!!! I cannot even imagaine running that far 🙂

  5. janet says:

    i know i’m sorry

  6. Robin says:

    Happy belated birthday, friend!! I’ve been watching titles pop up on my Reader the past two weeks, and making mental notes to get back to this one or that one.

    Sounds like your birthday run was 900 gazillion times better than the previous RFH (run from h***). Thank goodness and congrats! I dug around in old posts to find which M you’re running, so I’m now counting down with you.

    Foot pain: interesting (viable) theory. Will be interested to hear more. Also, good job on listening to your body and discovering the nontechnology version (again) of a run.

    *hugs* from Orlando! LOVING your photos… beautiful!

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