The Run Down - The RunVermont Blog

This Rookie’s Ramblings, #18: 20 Miles of (Mostly) Fun

by justin on May 11, 2012 · 7 comments

in This Rookie's Ramblings (2012)

Last Saturday represented the watershed moment of my Vermont KeyBank City Marathon training – a 20 mile run. I was either going to run the 20 and feel good about my chances on May 27 or descend into a dark place, filled with doubt and self-despair. Thankfully for me (and you for not having to read about me complaining – again) the run could be considered enough of a success to make me feel optimistic about race day.

For the 20 miles, I decided to run the VCM course, minus the Beltline loop (I also avoided the two treks on Church Street as it was a sunny, crowded Saturday afternoon and I’m not a “Hey, look at me people, I’m a RUNNER” type of guy). Also, apologies in arrears to all the Champlain College graduates and their lovely families; I hope I didn’t photobomb too many of your special pictures. It seemed as if the entire graduation procession exited onto Willard Street just as I was running south down it. Again, sorry.

Things were going fine as I progressed into the south end and looped around the nice real estate of South Cove Road and I entered Oakledge Park (mile 8 or so) with a full head of steam. When I reached the halfway mark, just south of ECHO, I still felt great, as if I had only run one mile.*

* A brief interlude to acknowledge the seemingly obvious benefits of sticking to your training program. One of the reasons I have yet to attempt VCM prior to this year is I never conceived I could run 15 miles, forget about 26.2. Now I’m at the point of facing this weekend’s taper-approved long run of 12 miles with relief, as in, “Phew, only 12 miles, easy peasy.” So, thank you Hal Higdon and you also, Coach. I remember staring at my training program and thinking there’s NO WAY I can run 8 miles in week 1. We’ve all come a long way, indeed.

I was at the halfway point when I had to wait for someone who was joining me for miles 11-20. Instead of doing the smart thing and slowly running around Waterfront Park until he showed up, I stopped and walked around. BAD IDEA. When he arrived a few moments later, unbeknownst to me, the damage was done. The first part of our run was right up Battery Street. So, to sum it up, I had just run 10 miles (at a pretty decent clip for me), stopped, then resumed by immediately running the steepest part of the course. Idiots are born every minute I guess. By mile 13 my IT Bands, which have been mildly problematic but not crippling during my past few long runs, started acting up. The combo of stopping and then starting with a steep incline was too much for me. For the rest of the run I had to tread gingerly at a reduced pace. We made it, but not without considerable grimacing and wincing on my part. Thanks to Chris for helping me through the last few, tough miles.

I can tell you though that I survived and learned yet another valuable lesson. The combination of the miles I have put on so far and the lessons I have learned (from both my own bad experiences and the wisdom of experienced runners) make me confident that on May 27 it’s not a matter of will I finish, but in what time.

Now, a couple of extra tidbits in case you missed them in the past week in the RunVermont blog space.

  1. The RunVermont staff has put together an EXCELLENT string of FAQ posts. I learned something new from each one of them and I highly encourage you to check them out.
  2. Sarah had a great post on tapering, and what to expect during the next few weeks.
  3. The good stuff isn’t limited to those few posts, the entire RV blog has been heating up with all sorts of useful and fun information. It’s a daily must check for me.

Enjoy these last two+ weeks of training, happy running.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

leandre 1 leandre May 11, 2012 at 6:43 am

I had been thinking about you and wondered how the long run went. Glad to hear that it was as much of a success as it was. Hearing you say that you used to think 15 miles sounded like a lot and now 20 was do-able gives me a dose of inspiration. I’ve run several half marathons, but never a full and I’ve always finished thinking, “I cannot for the life of me imagine doing another 13.1 right now.” But, that’s likely b/c it had never been part of the plan; my mind was on finishing 13.1, not 26.2, and I hadn’t trained for more than 13.1 so of course I couldn’t imagine it. Reading this makes me think I may just have a full in me me after all. Too bad for me it can’t be KBVCM!

2 christa May 11, 2012 at 7:32 am

I remember when I was training for my first half marathon, I did all the training runs, up to a 13 mile run on the course, and the last week when I “only” had to run a 6 miler, I felt that too was way easy…

3 The RehabGYM May 11, 2012 at 8:35 am

Congratulations, Justin. You’ve worked hard.
After the race, let’s all celebrate our well-earned bragging rights!
See you on the 27th.
~The RehabGYM /KL

4 Sarah May 11, 2012 at 8:49 am

Great job, Justin. Now it’s time to start chanting “the hay is in the barn.” Looking forward to catching up for a few miles tomorrow.

5 Lisa M May 11, 2012 at 8:59 am

(A “newbie” myself), my 20 last weekend went about as well as yours. Instead of my IT bands, it was a huge blood blister on my toe and pain in my achilles that made me slow down for the last 6. I actually had to take my shoes off and walk the last 3/4 of a mile in my socks:( The day after, I was convinced that I wouldn’t be able to finish the VCM with my achilles acting up. However, I have been gentle to my achilles this week and it is healing, and I have switched to a shoe that has a wider toe box for my blister. I was nervous about switching this late in the game, but it seems to be going great. They fit heavenly. I am wearing them on all of my dog walks and short runs, and I am breaking them in well. My toe is totally black and my nail is about to come off. I had heard about other long distance runners experiencing this, but I shrugged it off, and said nope, not going to happen to me. My friend says it is a runners badge of honor, but I just think it stinks(other words would fit here, but not appropriate in this venue)! My 12 this weekend will be the real test. I am pretty sure that I will be able to finish the VCM, but in what time, I am not sure. Good luck, Justin. I’ll be looking for you at the start line.

6 Holly May 11, 2012 at 12:15 pm

Get out there and enjoy every minute of it! YOu have earned !

7 Holly May 11, 2012 at 12:15 pm

Whoops! “it”!

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