16 Miles Brought the Happy

Well, here we go. I’m getting into big fat milage now. There’s less than 50 days to the marathon. Time for a big fat 16 mile run.

I wasn’t sure I was ready. The prior week’s runs were challenging, and the week itself was an overachiever’s dream. 5 miles + 5 strides on bizarre run on Tuesday, a killer track workout Thursday, and 6 miles on Friday night just for sh*ts and giggles. And I’m not saying that because it was impromptu but because by the end I felt kind of sh*tty and wasn’t giggling at all.

But 16 miles- as much of a mind game as anything. When I did 14 last Sunday, the mental hurdle was low-ish. I knew that if I could do 13.1 (which I’ve done 4 times, including here and here) then 14 wasn’t such a stretch. But 16? My usual Yeah! Let’s do this!  was a little more like Sure, I’ll try.

I had the butterflies. I’ve also got a sore left hamstring and an index toenail that’s hanging on for dear life. But I also have friends that will relay this run with me, and they are just about the awesomest group of gals ever. I just…keep…moving…forward…

6:30 AM – dawn. Laced up. Hydrated up. Dorked up with my fuel belt. Inhalered up. (Cool dry air – YAY! Asthma trigger – BOO!)

marathon training long run

All reflective and ready to roll.

Ready for the 3.5 miles by myself. Man I was babying that hammie, going super-super slow, like almost 12:00/mile slow. But I knew I needed to save all my energy for the whole of the run.

I hate getting up early, but I like getting runs done early – therein lies the rub. But then, some mornings, I get rewarded with view like this:

marathon training long run

The ducks seem unaware of their artistic presence.

Nice and zen-like, eh? I just plodded along, waiting for the stiffness to ease, the creaks and twingies to go away. Usually it takes about a mile. It was taking a bit longer this time.

marathon training long run

The long road ahead.

I saw some creatures along the way…

marathon training long run

Hello, deer. Really glad you aren’t coyotes.

Running by concave driveway mirrors is a great way to startle yourself like a fool in dawn’s light.

marathon training long run

Does this mirror make me look fast?

Right around mile 3.5, I picked up these two troublemakers.

marathon training long run

My running buds Amy and Mary (holla Mary!)

Amy and Mary were aiming for 9.5 miles today. We’re all going to run the Ridgefield Half Marathon on October 7th.  Read! Write! Run! Teachers representin’!!

My hammies finally started loosening up at about mile 5, just in time for this fairly large hill:

marathon training long run

My shadow has betrayed me. I swear I’m not wearing palazzo pants.

So, we ran up into Main Street. I took a brief walk break at the top of the hill (I’ll admit I dislike walk breaks, but it had to be done). We started up again after a minute or so and we started talking teacher talk as only teachers can do (if you know of or are married to a teacher you know whereof I speak, and speak…and speak…) and before I know it, we’ve reached mile 6.5 which is the pickup point for this gal…

marathon training long run

Picking up the speedy one in the middle of the run – smart? or suicide?

Our fast friend Jen-with-one-n always has a smile waiting for us! And she should smile – she had just completed her first triathlon the week before! Yes, first-time triathlete!  Give it up for Jen, ladies and gentlemen!!

Jen’s a little faster than us, but the route flattened out a bit and we picked up the pace. The miles ticked by as we continued the teacher talk (Jen’s a teacher too) and I just kind of fell into what I call Run-Forrest-Run mode. I just kind of tune out of what my legs are doing, and let my mind roll with the conversation or just mull things around a bit. It’s a nice place to be, kind of like a pre-runner’s high stage for me. Then, of course, I had to pee. We’re on a semi-rural road that I run regularly, so I hit the “pee spot” – a lovely patch of pines in a small field. YOU GOTTA DO WHAT YOU GOTTA DO, PEOPLE.

marathon training long run

Sorry, mega-mcmansion owners. I’m sure there’s more coyote pee than human pee in your field anyway.

Then Jen’s 4 miles were over, we air-kissed her goodbye, and headed back into town. Back into Run-Forrest-Run mode. After a quick pitstop for one of the other gals (I wish I could’ve held it that long), we are back down the hill heading to the drop-off point. The pavement flattened out and I high-fived my buds. The sun got higher and I’m at mile 13. Just…three…more…!

marathon training long run


Now it’s just me. All things considered, I felt ok. The pace hovered around 10:50 for much of the last few miles – perfect for a long-ass training run. I felt my toes getting squished and pummeled in my shoes, but it was tolerable. The evil hammie was making its presence known but it was cooperating. Off I go.

There’s more traffic at this point, so I concentrated on making eye contact and being alert. I had one earbug in, so I could rock out that last three. Don’t stop, don’t stop, don’t stop…thank you Foster the People. Here’s the home stretch…

marathon training long run

Almost home.

The last mile I started feeling really, really…good. You know what that meansHello Runner’s High, I’ve missed you. You haven’t been around much lately. I know, you appear in small doses here and there, but you haven’t shown me the love lately…until now. You were waiting until I had Coldplay on my ipod, weren’t you? You snuck in during that boppy Every Teardrop is a Waterfall, just when you knew I couldn’t resist. You make me feel like I love everyone and everything and life is fine, oh so fine. Work that magic. Don’t ever leave me, R.H.

16 miles…DONE. The afterglow:

marathon training long run

It’s all good.

6 thoughts on “16 Miles Brought the Happy

    • Thanks! That’s part of the reason I bring the camera. If I think of it as just a run, it doesn’t seem as exciting. It sounds cliche, but I’m trying to live in the present and soak it in while it happens. If I think of it as something I can turn into a scrapbook, it sounds much more exciting! 🙂

  1. May I just say that Nancy is a badass!! I don’t even like to drive the 16 miles to my job!! Also, teacher talk is always a wonderful distraction… Nancy distracted me during labor via Skype with teacher talk for over an hour! LOL

  2. Pingback: 12 Miles and Back In the Game | See Nancy Run.

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