Who: Me
What: 17-mile marathon training run
When: Sunday, 5:45 a.m.
Temperature: About 90 degrees with high humidity (not unbearable though)
Where: Alexandria, VA
Why: My 16-miler is set for next weekend when I’ll be gone so I got it over with this weekend and accidentally tacked on an extra mile (still need a distance thingie!)

Fuel through the run:
One mini-Cliff bar
                                      Honey Stinger waffle
                                     1 vanilla bean Gu
                                     10 mini-water bottles

Times I stopped to stretch: Three

Today I took photos along my run and just wanted to share them with you as I explain the process for my 17-miler. Many people wonder how runners do it — and I’m often called “insane.” But…it is rewarding and beautiful and fulfilling all the way around!

I had set my alarm for 5:45am but woke up at 5:20 and rolled out of bed. It was still kind of dark and since I’ve been watching a lot of “Dexter” lately, I was thinking about serial killers. Thus, I headed to the apartment gym and jogged my first two miles on the treadmill. The room was nice and cool and I went a very slow pace (still kind of thinking of a serial killer coming in.) When it looked sufficiently light, I trekked outside.

Read the whole thing and see photos from today’s run BELOW the jump!

One breath and I knew I was in for it and muttered, “I’m going to die” under my breath. I started off at about a 10-minute pace but knew I’d have to slow it down. I was music-less because I wanted to be alert early in the morning. Also, because I find running with music for that long starts to become annoying. It’s my opinion that’s it’s better to do long runs without music if possible.

I had a plan to knock out 16 in sections. My original intention was to do 12, then hit the treadmill for the last two (plus the first two), as that would equal 16. But I was afraid if I came back to the apartment after 14 miles, I would bail on the last 2. Therefore, I went an extra mile out on side of my run toward DC on the trail. Then, I was forced to do 2 miles and so long as I made it to the other side of my run, into Alexandria, I would have no choice but to finish the last two miles.

I had to ration out my water carefully because the only place to refill was Starbucks, which was about 12 miles in. I didn’t have too much trouble as I was not that thirsty for quite some time. I ate only a mini-cliff bar to start off because last night I ate pizza and tooo much ice cream, which does help provide energy for the morning. After about 10 miles, I ate my Honey Stinger and figured I’d use the gel after my Starbucks turnaround. Then I’d be on my way home and have a kick of caffeine.

My legs started feeling tired early, which was discouraging but I kept on. My mind wandering from one place to the next. I actually thought a lot about blogs and how I can make mine better, what I like about other blogs. I thought about Giovanna and how I miss her. I thought about my sister and Glenn, running the 100-mile Red Eye relay last night. I thought about the other people that ran by me and what their motivations were. I thought about the many other runners up early today sacrificing and training for a long-awaited marathon in October. I thought about my peanut butter chocolate granola that I would eat for lunch!

Okay, so the Honey Stingers are amazing. I mean, I would just eat them as a yummy snack so that was some good fuel. Once I got down toward Starbucks, I kept saying, you’re fine, it’s no big deal, you will get your miles in no problem. My legs were really starting to waver then but I made it, took a bathroom break, refilled my waters, did some stretching and felt MUCH better and ready to finish the task.

I ran slowly and then sped up in random intervals, just wanting to finish sooner. Finally, I hit the hill I had to finish before stopping to walk home. It felt awesome to turn my stride into a walk and trudge up the stairs into my apartment, where I promptly fell on the floor and laid there for about 5 minutes. Then I did 10 minutes of stretching and massaged my poor, achy feet. My pinky toe on my left foot is just going through hell. It curves under the next toe and has callous like that is rock hard and pointy because of how it slants under the other toe. If often gets infected and just seems to be in the way. I’m considering visiting a podiatrist but I’m not sure.

I felt a little sick for a few minutes, but showered and made myself an awesome green monster. I need to change them up a bit because I’m kind of sick of the same flavors every time. Before I knew it, it was time for church. I then came home and ate up a big bowl of my fantabulous granola cereal. It’s really too sugary to be healthy but whatever, I’m in love with it!

So…17-miler is done and I don’t have one that long for another 3 weeks. It’s going to start being game time soon and I’m paranoid that I will miss one of the 20-milers. There are three of them this time around — that’s A LOT. I want Baltimore to be good…and then I’ve gone Marine Corps two weeks later. I’m afraid I’ll just have nothing left for Marine Corps but…that one isn’t as important to me so we’ll just play it by ear!

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