Last Saturday I just got up and ran 20 miles, seemingly out of nowhere. If you ask me, that's pretty freaking phenomenal!!! I still can't quite wrap my mind around it or understand how I even pulled that off, but the fact remains, I did it. I should just accept it and I most certainly shouldn't question it!
The problem was, up until this weekend, I wasn't making this marathon a priority. I needed to make it a priority. So, the decision was made: Saturday was the day I would go for a long run. Jack Rabbit Park Slope was hosting a group training run for free, and I desperately hoped I'd wake up in time. Running miles upon miles all alone can often be a sad, lonely, boring, and sometimes painful endeavor. Plus the moral support of running with a group can help you maintain a steady pace and keep going when you otherwise would've given up a long time ago. I overslept, per usual, and barely made it on time. I jogged all the way to the store and caught up with the group just a couple blocks into their run - whew!
I'm so glad I went with the Jack Rabbit crew. Being with the group made things far less stressful; it was dramatically easier to simply follow someone else rather than tracking my own route or worrying about getting lost by myself. It was great to have the company to chat with along the way. To be honest, if I had attempted that long run by myself I probably would've ended up walking.
Perhaps most importantly, running with the group helped me learn to pace myself. We started at an extremely slow, very comfortable, almost laughably easy pace, but that was perfectly okay with me. I knew we still had a long distance to go. In the end it was great because it allowed me to really push myself, pick up the pace and sprint and push hard at the very end. I was stoked! All told the 18 miles took us just about 4 hours, but when you account for all the bathroom stops, stops for pictures and delays at traffic lights, I have no idea what our actual pace really was. Then I jogged the remaining mile back home, for a daily grand total of 20 miles.
The next day I was feeling so jazzed and optimistic from my long run that I decided to run to brunch. SO another 4.5 miles were put on the books. Yay! Only problem is that the additional miles did me in with blisters. Although my legs felt great and my cardio could easily handle that additional few miles, my feet were not ready to hit the pavement again so soon. I ended up developing blisters within blisters from the day before - If you've never experienced this phenomenon, you are lucky! It is PAINFUL!
I took the proper precautions for blister care, popped and drained them, and covered them in bandaids. Then I put on shoes and the blisters immediately reappeared. They wouldn't dry out no matter how many times I drained them!! Meanwhile they started to hurt and I developed a blood blister. I started walking funny and my shoes started to cut into the backs of my feet. Next thing I knew my feet were all cut and scraped up, and I could barely walk properly, let alone go running!!! It's terribly discouraging and disheartening when you are feeling physically fit and healthy, motivated and ready to run, only to be debilitated by something so minor as a little blister. It' amazing how something so seemingly inconsequential can completely handicap you for an entire week.
The pain persisted for an entire week. Finally on Friday morning I noticed that it was starting to heal. Just in time for the weekend and another long run! Woohoo. Good thing I got this long run out of the way so my skin had plenty of time to heal and toughen before marathon day!