20 mile training run recap…The Hay is in the barn…

8-31-20 miler recap

Gosh…where do I start…

I pulled up to Dick Pond promptly at 6 am, ready to run 20 miles in some possible crazy weather…yet nothing could have prepared me for this one. 

I saw Bob and Diane Miller who recently lost their son and wrapped my arms around both of them.  Tears were shed, and I had to hold back my sobs.  Why do bad things have to happen to such amazing people?  Sigh…

I was blessed to see Karen from Trading in my Heels, as well as my running family all around me.  I thought for sure I would nail this run…little did I know that was SO far from the truth. 

I strapped on both Garmins, and wore my FVM pacer hat proudly.  I have been able to pace 4 out of the 5 training runs, and felt fairly confident.  My knee had been bugging me this week, but I set aside the pain and briefed my group that I would do my best to hold pace.  I was in it for the 20 miles regardless, although the race directors switched the course to a 16 mile course with an additional 4 mile loop for those that wanted to continue. 

The first few miles heading south to Geneva were nice…I ran with fellow pacer Dave on one side, with Janel on my other side…I felt good and we held a nice strong 10:30ish pace.  Just after passing through Geneva, the rain started…we all thought, “This is a nice cool down,” until the sky turned black and it started POURING.  We were soaked within seconds, and I knew my poor feet were screwed.  My knee brace was soaked, and as I kept pulling it up, I felt a tug just underneath my knee cap.  I figured I could brush it off…again, what the heck did I know. 

Several showers later, we made it to the turnaround point.  High fives and “Good mornings” were shared between groups and by mile 10 I still felt good.  We made it past the hill from hell, and then the lightening started, coupled with MORE down pours and my heart started to sink.  I couldn’t get my mind straight, hell, I couldn’t SEE straight as the rain pooled on the brim of the hat I was so proud to be wearing.  I was fading…and fast.  Most of my group started to move forward, and my knee started to SCREAM at me at the 15 mile mark.  I wasn’t sure if I was crying or if it was the rain, but I was limping so bad I decided I needed to stop and stretch/walk for a second to regroup. 

As I started running again, I saw my pace group about a quarter mile ahead of me, and my heart began to hurt.  I felt like a complete failure. 

The turnaround point for the additional 4 mile loop that was needed to complete the full 20 miles slapped me in the face, yet I turned back to the south and decided I’d finish the distance regardless of pace. 

I was alone, and although I love running alone, I was at a point where all I wanted was SOMEONE to run with me…

I stopped to walk again as my knee torqued in pain, and I heard a voice…”Michelle, is your knee ok?”  I turned, and there was Jack Erwin, a fellow vet, and runner I met last year during these training runs.  With tears in my eyes, I said, “No…”  He quickly handed me some numbing cream for my knee, and I smiled through my tears…”Thank you” was all I could muster up as I was at a complete loss for words.  He ran by my side, talking, encouraging, and keeping me moving.  I offered for him to keep going each time I walked/slowed.  Yet when he said, “No, I will never leave a fellow comrade behind,” I found myself holding back the tears.  I was brought back to my military days and a whole new sense of pride and longing filled my heart. 

We ran slowly, walked some, yet made it back to Dick Pond with 20.5 miles under our belts. 

Do I feel confident for my marathon in 3 weeks?  Hell no…

But as I walked in to Dick Pond, more so hobbled, I was welcomed with open arms by my friends.  I sobbed like a school girl, and then cried some more…

As Glen (the owner of Dick Pond) was getting ready to ice my knee, my calf seized up…and I realized one of my many mistakes of the day…

We were literally SOAKED to the bone.  I quickly remembered not only did I not FUEL enough for this run (I only consumed ONE bag of sport beans the entire run), but I didn’t HYDRATE enough either.  I stopped at the two water stops and had a couple Dixie cups of water, but I still had water w/Nuun in my hand held….BAD BAD BAD.  Normally I fill it up several times at various water fountains.  I am positive this lead to my demise and the uber fail in this run. 

Yet with each run, I try and find a positive spin.  I believe we have to have a few bad runs under our belts to keep things ‘real.’  While some felt like rock stars running in the thunder and lightning, I felt like a scared little girl.  This run humbled me, and brought me back to last year’s 20 mile training run when we were hit with nearly 90 degree temps, and I again fell off pace. 

With this new found lack of confidence in the one thing I truly feel I do well, I have decided to take a couple days for ‘me’ to step back…feel sorry for myself…cry…and cry some more in order to get all the BAD out, so that I can refocus and regroup for the next 3 weeks of tapering. 

I have been promised by Andrea that although I allowed a couple days, she will quickly be ‘clearing my table.’  Pity party for one will be short lived. 

But today, although proud I finished the distance; I am still beating myself up.  I didn’t run this training run smart, and it kicked me swiftly in the chest, ass, and knee. 

Lastly, I am counting my zillion blessings of amazing friends and family.  My phone was blowing up during this run (I can hear the text ‘ding’ as I use my phone for music) yet I couldn’t pull it out until the 17.5 mile mark when the rain finally let up…I was in awe of all the encouragement and it helped get me through those last 3 miles.  I was greeted, with open arms by my awesome friends at the finish, who allowed me to cry, yet took care of my knee all at the same time. 

So while this run may have SUCKED…I came out on top…between the friends I have found through running, my fb page, and real life, I truly couldn’t ask for more. 

The hay is officially in the barn…


10 thoughts on “20 mile training run recap…The Hay is in the barn…”

  1. you go, girl! These run that test us really make us stronger. Easy to say LOL. I think the vast majority of us had nasty long runs this weekend…and we are 100% stronger for having endured them. Chin up! (hugs and a congratulatory high-5 for finishing 20 miles!!)


  2. You tested yourself, and given the bad conditions, you made it! Congrats. Any run finished is a good run in my book. I loved the line “I will never leave a fellow comrade behind.” In a week or two when this run is for the most part a distant memory, this part of the run won't be.


  3. I'm so proud of you! I know if I had still had to go on the 4 mile loop when getting back to St. Charles, I would have said "screw it…16 is good in my book". But you kept going, through everything.


  4. It never ceases to amaze me how much running has taught and continues to teach me about my body, life and mostly humility. You have done the hard work now take care of that knee and be in the bestest shape you can be for Chicago xx


  5. Michelle, this is such a great experience three weeks pre race. It gives you clarity, desire and hope. You completed 20. May not have been pretty but you did it. You were reminded of how important fueling is and you know you can finish any run in any type of weather. You are preparing yourself for an epic experience in three weeks. So so proud of you


  6. Oh, Michelle. I just finished writing my blog(3 days later.) It is almost exactly like yours. Don't forget you were only going to run the half, but late into training you changed it to the full and successfully completed the training. It was a HORRID day and a lot of us broke with the weather. It does suck when you see everyone go ahead and your behind. I hate that also. You got this! Remember that…..YOU GOT THIS!!We NEED to have a girls night out when this is all over. xoxo


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