I had never run 24 consecutive miles during a training run prior to Sunday.
Yes, I have run several full marathons, which is 26.2 miles.
But, I never exceeded 20 miles in any of my training runs for any of those 7 full marathons.
Now I finally have — in rainy, wet conditions to boot!
A runner friend, SO, who lives in Duvall kindly mapped out a 24-mile route for me. (Think “out in the country” for this city girl). And, not only did she organize my run, she orchestrated it. She coordinated her family to drop off another friend, SS, to meet us in the middle of my run. SS had 10 miles on the docket and it was nice knowing someone else was nearby me as I continued my run. Our master organizer biked back and forth between us.
Oh, did I not mention SO was on her bike this entire time? Yes!
We ran along the Snoqualmie Valley Trail. It was wet but there were a few breaks from the showers. Despite the weather, I was thankful to have a change in scenery. There were marshes, farmlands and open pastures.
I didn’t pay any attention to my pace for my first 10 miles. This was mainly due to the fact that my Garmin was struggling to catch a satellite signal so I aborted and just used the good old fashioned stop watch feature.
It was oddly relaxing to run with no pressure. SO biked alongside me and we chit-chatted. This part was a nice constant flat terrain. I had no complaints.
At 10 miles, I started using my GPS. I was racking in around 9 minute/mile pace, or just a bit over. But, at around mile 15/16 my feet started dragging and I was less enthused. I just wanted to finish the run and get out of my wet clothes.
SO also made sure that two more friends were waiting for me at my 20-mile mark. I had just worked myself up a hill from the Snoqualmie Valley Trail to the Tolt Pipeline Trail and was feeling pretty drained. Then, I saw this hill:
This photo doesn’t do the hill justice but I just hoped that my friends were waiting at the top of the thing to help me finish my last four miles. They were. In fact, by the time I reached the bottom of it, they were making their way down to meet me half-way. (So thoughtful!)
I was happy to have company again. I felt spent but I knew that with their help, I would get all my miles in. (Had I been alone, I would have quit at mile 20).
It was four miles of big rolling hills. I could feel blisters forming under both of my feet.
When we were done, my body felt similar to how it feels after racing a road marathon!
I couldn’t have done 24 consecutive miles without the support from others. People think that running is a solitary sport or activity. It definitely is not.
Running does start with yourself. But, it’s your friends, family and/or teammates that help you get to that finish line — whether it be a 5K, marathon or a 24-mile training run for your first ultra!