MCM Training Weeks 11 and 12: 20 Miles in the Books

by - Monday, September 28, 2020

If the title didn't give it away, the highlight of these past two weeks of training was my 20 miler from Saturday. 

I was so nervous Friday night as I got ready for this run. After a disastrous attempt at 18 miles two weeks prior, I didn't have a lot of confidence about running 20. 

But I followed my regular prepping routine, lots of hydration the day before (added some Gatorade to the mix this time too), plus a yummy spaghetti dinner, plus a decent night of sleep. 


When I woke up Saturday morning and checked the weather on my phone, I saw humidity was at 96 percent. I wanted to cry. It was bad humidity that had messed up my 18 miler. I told myself I was going to go back to sleep and maybe try doing the run on Sunday instead. 

But I spent the next 30 minutes tossing and turning and not able to fall back to sleep, so I put on some clothes and went downstairs to see what it actually felt like outside. It was a little bit cool, and the humidity didn't feel so bad because there was some very light rain. 

I decided to at least attempt the run, figuring if it sucked too bad, I could always stop and try again later. 

I turned on my audio book and braced myself for a slow and steady run.

Long runs during covid times are strange. No water fountains are on so I have a really hard time planning routes. What I decided to do for this 20-miler was two different 10 mile runs that were out and backs from my house. Not the most exciting plan ever, but it would at least ensure I could refill my water bottle half way through.

The first five miles of the first out and back were a net downhill. I had planned this intentionally, figuring it would help me ease into the run and leave me feeling decently strong. Of course that meant the second five miles were a bit of a slow and steady climb back home, but by that point I was warmed up, and while, I certainly slowed down a bit, I felt really good when I got back home. 


The second 10 miles were rolling hills. Certainly not my favorite option, but I wanted to stay around my neighborhood in case anything went wrong and I needed to hobble my way back home. 

Mentally I felt things getting tough around mile 12 or 13. I was following my run 1 mile, walk 1 minute system, and I was really focused on counting down to my walk break. I was also counting down the miles until I reached mile 15, which was my turn around point to head back home. 

The last five miles were definitely a lot of mental motivation and talking to myself counting down miles and minutes as they ticked by. Miles 19 and 20 were tough. I definitely increased my amount of walking, especially on the hills, but I finished. 

As soon as I got back home, I immediately sat down. It felt so good to be off my feet.

I have no clue how I will run an additional 6.2 miles when it comes time to do the virtual race though, especially without crowd energy to feed off of. But that's a problem for future Jess to tackle. For now, I'm just crazy proud of myself for knocking out this 20 miler. 

Week 11 

Sunday - 8 miles. Normally I don't start a training week on a Sunday, but I was at the beach and after that failed 18 miler, I wanted to take advantage of the nice flat ground to hopefully boost my running confidence. 


Monday - Rest

Tuesday - 8 miles. Back in DC and it was the first taste of fall! Was so excited that I average 9:30 pace on this run!

Wednesday - Strength training. 

Thursday - 2 miles. I think this was supposed to be a four miler but I failed so hard that I turned around and walked home. I didn't even make a note about it in Strava so clearly I wasn't happy about it. 

Friday - Rest

Saturday - 10 miles. It was another day of perfect weather, and I ran down to the Supreme Court to pay my respects to RBG.


Sunday - Rest

Total: 28 miles

Week 12

Monday - 6 miles. Mixed it up and ran a slightly different route, which was a nice mental break.

Tuesday - Rest.

Wednesday - 4 miles and upper body strength training. Four miles was the shortest distance I've run in ages it seemed like, so that was also a really great mental break.

Thursday - Rest

Friday - Rest

Saturday - 20 miles!

Total: 30 miles

I'm officially in taper now, and I'm really excited about that. I'm so looking forward to some shorter runs and a bit more rest of make sure I'm ready for this virtual race. 

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