Marathon Training Week 11 -18 mi long run

Going into this run…I could write an entire 📖. I treated it like a race😂. I was so intimidated by what my coach believed I could accomplish this weekend. This is week 11 of marathon training and I had an 18 mile long run, with the middle ten miles at 8:10-8:20 (Marathon Goal Pace), and the beginning and ending four at 8:45-9 pace.

My most recent run was a bit of a 😬😢 tbh, as a 25 min tempo run. It had me rattled. But before that, my track workouts had been on point 💯👌 and last weekend I did 10 miles at 8:17. The weekend before I did 16 miles, at 8:51 overall. So going into this I had doubts but also did believe that I could do this. If I ran my first four at a conservative pace, then I could focus my energy on the middle ten, run the ten similar to last week (which was conversational + not miserable!). And honestly, I need to get these runs under my belt if I’m going to run an 8:15 marathon in 9 weeks! I just prayed I could stay positive and no matter how it landed I could use this run as a lesson.

Also was going to use this run to do some fuel testing. Get my stomach ready for those honey stinger gels on marathon day!

We were in Wisconsin visiting family… Tim brought his bike so he could ride with me and keep me company (motivated) and so yay!! I also had someone to mule my stuff. !! We mapped out a course and made a plan. It was a record high of 53 degrees, and so my first run in shorts for the spring.

I ate a banana + coffee for breakfast, a couple of hours later I had oatmeal. And then a couple of hours later I was going to take off. My stomach already felt upset, not sure if bc of anxiety or what. Took half a gel 20 min before the go time.

My strategy was to go really conservative for the first 4, shoot for middle of range at the start of my ten, go from there and decrease if I could, and then whatever was left in the tank for the last 4, within the pace ranges. My training partner, Rach, back home already did her run, structured this same way, and she nailed it! Beat her pace brackets, extended the middle ten to twelve, and just rocked it. Yeah!!!! Of course I wondered if I could do something like that. 🤔😍 a girl can dream!

I started out and it was just a beautiful day. I had to slow myself down and remember, this is a warm up. My mind wanted to go!  My body was feeling meh. Front left hip was tight and my right side lower back felt like sciatica coming on. My legs didn’t feel crazy heavy like Friday. But these four miles loosened everything up. Clocked those in at
8:54, 8:59, 8:49, 8:46.

At the start of the ten mile GMP, I took another gel and hydrated. Felt cool but not cold. Just wanted to do this and see what I had. That first mile felt good, and even the second mile felt decent. Not easy, not a dog fight. What I expected. Then the hills started to come. It doesn’t feel like much elevation when you’re driving it, but each mile I had to work hard to stay in the pace range. Mile 3 + 4 I had to work for. I just kept thinking that once I flip around at this fifth mile, I’m in the home stretch. Our map was short and we had to flip before 5, and I knew that was going to annoy me to have to make up the distance elsewhere. 😬 we hit 5 and I was working hard. This was going to be hard work to get these in. Hydrated and another gel after mile 5. Here’s where I paced in so far:
8:16, 8:14, 8:15, 8:16, 8:09.
All under 8:20. Mile 5 had some down elevation that I paid for going back up in mile 6. 😬

Those miles back were tough. I didn’t say much, I did have Tim trying to distract me with his navigation. You know when you’re flying and you get a chatty pilot with the soothing voice over the intercom saying “and to your left is the Grand Canyon”
And “if you look out the right you will see Hoover dam”… that was Tim. Pointing out anything unique or bizarre, pointing out things from his old stomping grounds, it was really nice. I mean, who wants to go on a slow bike ride like that? 😂 he’s a trooper! Mentally, I was partly thankful I was staying in goal range, and partly discouraged that this was a challenge for me. HOW AM I going to do this for 26 miles if I have to struggle to do it for ten?!?! That’s all I kept thinking. And second guessing my body, am I tight, did I plateau, am I on the brink of an injury? Why is this so much harder than the ten I ran last weekend with Rachel? Dang!!!! I really had to drive the negativity out and just focus on each mile, one at a time. Don’t worry about the marathon, don’t worry about the next run, don’t worry about the rest of this run. Just.Get.One.Mile.Done. Repeat.
Miles 6, 7, and 8, were the toughest mentally. Once I started Mile 9, I was in the home stretch.

Had a slight problem that started midway – chafing 🙄 so dumb of me. Those inner thighs were high fiving each other every step – with shorts on for the first time. I brought body glide but forgot to put it on 🤦‍♀️. Tim biked ahead back to the house and grabbed it and had it in time for me to hydrate, gel, and apply the body glide when I got done with mile 10. Those last two miles went by quick, knowing I was almost done. I knew I could do one or maybe even two more (Rachel wannabe apparently), so I went for it. Quickly into that 11th mile I could tell my body had already started to tighten up when I stopped to put on that body glide. I started feeling pain in different areas and just couldn’t quite get my stride comfortable. I started panicking…what if Rachel was SUPPOSED TO do 12 and I was only supposed to do 10. For a reason. What if I get inured and it’s because I pushed two miles I wasn’t supposed to? Yikes. Started to get a bit paranoid and decided when 11 was done I was going to back off. Woo hoo! Here’s where 6-11 landed:
8:20, 8:17, 8:13, 8:10, 8:08, 8:09
Loved the negative splits of the last 6! Even with the elevation I was able to hang on.  Overall pace for the 11 was 8:13.  Overall elevation for the run was 510.

I started the last three miles and what I thought was going to be a cake walk…well, everything was tight, I just couldn’t get in my stride. Even those last three miles I was struggling. Tim had to give me some encouragement and talk me thru getting back. I was sore, tight, and it just felt slow. But I couldn’t pick it up either. It reminded me of how I felt the last 5 miles of Chicago marathon last fall. I had more heart + energy, but my legs wouldn’t cooperate.
I ended the run with 8:56, 8:54, 8:49.

Overall 18 mile pace 8:29

All in all, I was thankful to have it done, and was able to stay in my pace ranges. I met my goal and even did an extra mile in the MGP range. And to think that one year ago, I ran a 10k race with a slower pace for 6 miles, than I did this ten in. The speed I’ve picked up in a year of hard training isn’t lost on me. But I won’t lie, there’s still a nagging 🤔😳😬 feeling of “how in the world am I going to run 26 miles at an 8:15?!?! I have 8 more weeks to figure that out.

It was also good for me to get my stomach ready for gels. All that sweetness doesn’t sit well. And to remember the body glide!!!

Special shout out to Tim for his support, Coach Clint for another great workout + training tips, and all my pals sending me encouraging messages and praying for my run! It takes a village and I appreciate it. While this wasn’t a race, it felt like such a big workout to overcome, that in my mind I treated it like one!!


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