Wait, I’m getting ahead of myself.

Today I had my 18 miler planned.  This was the longest distance I was able to run when training for the Buffalo marathon and it wasn’t pretty then.  The last six miles of that run were really quite horrible.  My knees were in a lot of pain, and I spent the last bit “running” slower than I could walk.  But I stuck it out and finished the 18 miles.  The week after that was my first 20 miler, which ended in disaster when I had to have my husband come pick me up on the side of the road with my knee in agony.  Since then I haven’t done another 18 mile run.  Until today!

I was fortunate enough to have my running-buddy-extraordinaire, Carrie, run with me today.  Carrie is running the same marathon as I am (in 5 weeks!), however this is her second.  She totally rocked the Lake Placid Marathon in June, and was only a few minutes shy of qualifying for Boston!  Needless to say, I was a little intimidated, but totally pumped to run with her.

When I run by myself, I usually float between 10:00 and 11:00/mile.  Usually closer to 11:00.  Especially when I run hills.  I like to be comfortable and be able to breathe easy because I know I’m in it for the long haul.  I know I have the ability to go faster, but it’s a mental block.

So Carrie and I set out for our run this morning…

Carrie, sassing it up as usual.

Let’s do this!

We did an out-and-back route and ended up a couple towns over in the middle of one of the local tourist traps.  We needed to refill our water so my husband took his motorcycle out and met us at our turnaround point.

So nice of him!

This is where my sheer brilliance kicks in…

I am a biker.  I have my own motorcycle.  I ride.  I KNOW pipes get hot. (Can you see where this is going?)

However, I didn’t ride the bike up, so it didn’t register that the pipes were SUPER hot.  And I bumped into them.


I was not a happy camper.  There’s a lovely purple oval-shaped second degree burn on my leg just below my finger.

At this point (after some colorful language and a couple minutes of pouring water on it), I was worried about making it the 9 miles back to the car.  IT HURT.  BAD.

But I forced myself to keep going (didn’t have a choice really!) and Carrie and I headed back the way we came.

First things first, we had a gigantic 2 mile long uphill to tackle.  I had to stop and walk for a second when the skin on my burn was pretty painful, but other than that, it wasn’t bad.  After that, my leg sort of numbed out and the burn wasn’t too bad for most of the way back to the car.

We had a great time, chatting it up along the way.  I knew I was going faster than I would normally, but I wouldn’t let myself look at my pace on my Garmin.  I also wouldn’t let Carrie tell me what it was.  I knew it was good because she kept saying so, but I didn’t want to know the actual number.  For me, it’s completely mental.  If I knew how fast I was going, I would start to feel tired, and then I would slow down – even if I didn’t really need to.

Near the end I had to take a couple quick walk breaks (maybe .05 of a mile, two or three times) because I was getting dehydrated and needed to take a second to “re-center” myself.  I’ve learned that when I get chills down my arms, that’s the sign that I need to take a second, walk, take a couple big sips of water, breathe, and then keep on going.  I don’t like to walk, but I like that better than collapsing.

I won’t lie, the last 1.5 miles was hard.  I was getting tired, and that’s where the chills were happening.  But we finished the 18 miles and made it back to the car successfully!

As soon as I heard my Garmin beep at 18 miles I let myself look down at my average pace…

10:14/mile!!!  WOHOO!!!

Here’s the splits:

  • Distance – 18.00 miles
  • Time – 3:04:23
  • Pace – 10:14/mile (yay!)
  • Mile 1 – 10:06
  • Mile 2 – 10:17
  • Mile 3 – 10:23
  • Mile 4 – 9:56
  • Mile 5 – 10:33
  • Mile 6 – 10:30
  • Mile 7 – 10:21
  • Mile 8 – 9:31 (the start of the 2 mile long downhill)
  • Mile 9 – 9:20
  • Mile 10 – 11:01 (unfortunately now it’s the start of a 2 mile long UPHILL)
  • Mile 11 – 12:12 (ouch)
  • Mile 12 – 10:24
  • Mile 13 – 9:56
  • Mile 14 – 9:36
  • Mile 15 – 10:22
  • Mile 16 – 9:34
  • Mile 17 – 9:20 (wow!)
  • Mile 18 – 10:52 (a little dehydrated)

I NEVER go that fast on a long run.  I usually hover around 11:00/mile for my average pace.  Plus, this was an extremely hilly route that is very similar to what I’ll actually be running in the race.  This was awesome!

And you know what?  It felt great the whole way!  (Okay, except for that last little bit, but I could still do it!)

Aside from having a good time and running a great pace, the really great news is that I got through the entire 18 miles with no knee pain, no foot pain, and no chafing!


Thanks for the great run, Carrie!