Waking up at 3:30 am to do WHAT???!

Run 22 miles.

Yep… that may officially put me over the edge and into the “crazy runner” category…

With it being a Holiday weekend, my friend was heading out-of-town and needed to get a long run in.  Desperately wanting company to tackle this distance with me, I, naturally, volunteered myself to be available to run with her Friday before work if she would run with me.  I didn’t do the math before I committed and once we decided on a meeting time of 4:30 am… that meant my alarm would be set for 3:3o am.  OI!

I tried a brand new recipe for carbo loading this week- homemade chicken pad thai (gluten and dairy free)… all I have to say is A-MAY-ZING.  Not to toot my own horn or anything, but MAN it was tasty :)!  I ate this for dinner Wednesday and lunch on Thursday and topped off with a light dinner Thursday night of gluten free pretzels (Snyders brand is by far the most affordable and the best 🙂 ) and homemade almond butter.

I fell asleep at 8:00 last night and was ready to get up when the alarm started buzzing this morning.  Of course, being me, I hit snooze for good measure.  When I continued to just lie there 5 minutes later waiting for the alarm to buzz again, I just decided to turn it off and get up.

I started my pre-run routine… checking email and Facebook to “wake up” a little… then I took 4 immodium, ate my rice cakes and almond butter, stretched, washed my face, put my body glide and biofreeze on, dressed, and got my hydration belt filled with water and gels… and took 2 more immodium for good measure.  Before I knew it, I was actually a few minutes behind and jetted out the door.  This was not without a dirty look from Bisou, who did not look entertained at all by me kicking her out of my warm bed and not even leashing her up to go with me.

I met my friend, Andrea J., at Grey’s Lake and we started out.  It was dark and cold this morning, but I felt *ready* and my legs felt nice and loose starting out.  I could tell a mile into the run that the immodium was failing me.  It was a good thing we were looping a park first so there were 3 bathroom options coming up.  We made the first pit stop at mile 1.62.  We started off again, planning our route out as we ran.  We went across a new bridge, then turned to run on a trail underneath it.  As we turned, Andrea pointed out how pretty it was!  Cobalt blue lights lined the bridge, the moon was bright and full above it… it was peaceful and serene.  We kept chatting and running… both of us checking our Garmin’s and grumbling that it felt like we’d run way further than only 4.5 miles already! Alas, we pressed on… up a major hill by the state Capitol… again, Andrea pointed out the scenery… me, I was too winded to comment, but I do have to admit, the capitol in Des Moines is quite a sight in the dark with the gold dome all lit up… again, just a peaceful feel to the morning.  Luckily, next we got to run downhill where we had an incredible view of downtown Des Moines and it’s skyline rimmed with the intense moon.  I was relishing in taking this all in.  Too often, I focus on the run, where I’m stepping, where I’m going, and I forget to look around and just enjoy where I’m currently at.

We stopped on the Walnut street bridge to take our first gel and squirt some water into our mouths- we were at 6.71 miles… making some progress now!  We continued to form our route as we ran and ended up weaving down Ingersoll… where we made our 2nd pit stop at the Junior League offices… thank goodness we could get in and use a clean bathroom and refill our water bottles!  Our legs had gotten a little “cold” during that stop and we had a hill to tackle starting out again that warmed us back up quickly.  We weaved through Greenwood Park by the Art Center next.  Wow.  That’s all I have to say about this part of the run.  The magnolia trees were in full bloom, they were reflecting off the lake as the sun was starting to rise and with each deep inhale, I could smell the flowery fragrance.  It was something else- truly amazing!  I was excited that the sun was coming up for this part of the run.  The trail from Greenwood to Water Works Park is not lit and it is pretty darn dark… although, I was not worried with 2 of us running through it.  We were more than halfway through at this point and decided to stop for another gel as we entered Water Works Park.  To extend our miles, we ended up looping the trail through the park twice… we were talking constantly and mentally, the 2 loops of the exact same terrain didn’t get to me.  I was feeling great at mile 17… my buns were starting to burn, but I still felt energized and my legs still felt good.

Before I knew it, we were headed down the stretch to leave the park and my Garmin beeped – mile 20!  Our pace was still strong and we were going to finish the 22 miles right before we hit our cars, which would give us a little time to walk it off :).  Our average pace was 9:01 according to my Garmin and 8:59 according to Andrea’s… that marks the BEST pace I’ve ever run for a training long run- and I felt great!  I could’ve kept going today!  It definitely gave me confidence for where I’m at in my training and to meet my upcoming goals.

I switched to plain water halfway through the run and I only took 3 gels- it seemed to be a good combination for me and I’ll continue to experiment in the next month to see what will work best for me.

Now… I will admit, I have been sitting on an ice pack on and off throughout the day as I worked… again, weak glutes!  I plan to stretch out with Pilates tomorrow followed by a bath in Epsom Salts… and probably will do some foam rolling tonight… that is, if I get to it before I crack open a bottle of wine… 🙂  Sweet rewards for accomplishing the run!

I do have to say, I am glad this 22 miler is behind me.  I cannot remember the last Saturday I slept in- maybe before the Chicago Marathon last fall???  Now, that’s just sad… and here’s hoping my body lets me enjoy it and doesn’t wake up in auto pilot before the sun rises 🙂

Cheers!

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