Yesterday I ran my longest run ever: 21 miles outside on the Washington & Old Dominion Trail. I started out in Vienna, ran to Ballston and back, and then to Reston and back to Vienna. It took me about 3 hours and 40 minutes to complete the run, including my stops for traffic.
The trail is very hilly, which they say is great for training, even if your marathon course is flat (which mine is). I hate hills with a passion, and the only way I can keep running up them is to tell myself that I LOVE hills!
The weather was ideal. Mid 60s and not a cloud in the sky. A light breeze that didnt create resistance but cooled me throughout the run. My pace for the first 15 miles was about 9:00. I took walk breaks after each mile that lasted 50-60 seconds each. Beginning at mile 9, I began to eat Jelly Belly energy beans for an immediate boost in Blood Sugar Level.
I was enjoying the sun and the music from my iPod. A million thoughts were going through my head, but then there were periods where my mind was completely silent. I hit the so-called wall at around mile 17. My longest run had been 18 miles on a treadmill two weeks prior, so it was natural that mile 17 would be where I began to tire. Everything ached. Thankfully, I had no blisters or no pains, just aching everywhere and an overall feeling of fatigue.
I had ditched my 24 oz water bottle at mile 8 and had been relying on the trails water fountains to get me through the rest of the way. But they werent enough. After 17 miles, I really began to feel dehydrated and I would have done anything for some water. I was worried I wouldnt make it 2 more miles to the next water fountain, but I tried to keep my focus on moving forward. About two minutes later: voila! A lemonade stand! In the middle of the trail! Two small children and there father serving cool lemonade just at the moment I really needed something to drink. There is a God, I now know this for sure. That lemonade stand couldnt have been better placed along the trail. The timing was ideal. Unfortunately, I had no money with me. But showed them my watch and said that I had been running for nearly 3 hours, and 17 miles and I really, really needed something to drink. I apologized profusely for not having the money, but I think the father understood. A woman drove up in a van behind me. I think she was collecting the trash from the trash bins along the trail. She offered to buy me the drink, but the father wouldnt accept.
Two miles later, I made
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