the big 2-0

Sunday, I ran my first ever twenty miler! It was awesome. As you read on, keep the following warning in mind:

Do not do anything I did to have a great twenty miler. Or run of any length, for that matter. 

Did it work out for me alright? Yes. But, I have no idea how. So, just do the opposite of what I did and you should be fine on your own twenty miler. Sound good? 

The one thing I did right? I wore my new Garmin 210! It was so cool to have feedback on pace at any given instant, and to know that i really, truly did run twenty miles on the dot!

Isn’t it pretty??? My outfit actually matched all these colors exactly, which made me feel…I don’t know, organized. I’m not sure what the 20:41 means, maybe my walking pace in the parking lot as I sipped, I mean chugged, Nuun after I stopped the watch?

Just seeing 20.00 miles is pretty awesome. So now let me talk write your ears off with an unabridged tale of what actually happened before and during those twenty miles. Well okay, I won’t make it totally unabridged….

The plan: meet Kate and others at 8:00am for 13 miles and then continue, picking others up at two intervals along the way. This plan was ideal because it also meant I wouldn’t have to carry water or Gu, I could leave it on my car windshield. I let Kate do the planning since she always maps and times everything out so perfectly. Great plan, right?

Insert plan two: I was invited (like, at midnight Friday) to the grad college formal. I wanted to go, I wasn’t going to say no because of a twenty miler in the morning. I just thought I would wear relatively comfortable shoes, hydrate…with water, and not go to sleep super late. I could do it all, no big deal. 

What not to do to prepare for twenty miles, #1: Don’t have dinner. Decide to instead spend your time after a crazy busy eight hour work shift on your feet running around buying a nice black dress to wear since you basically have broken every other black dress you own (true story). Text your date and tell him to find you some food – anything! Because “anything” is fine before running twenty miles. Even a Clif bar and half of a small bag of Doritos (wait why did I not finish the bag?). 

Fish face. It was “Under the Sea” – themed….If you were wondering, I did actually find Nemo that night.

#2. Have a girl stab you in the foot with her high heel before 11:30pm. Seriously, no one was even on the dance floor yet, how did this happen?! I freaked out because it hurt so badly, and almost cried. I assessed the situation in the light and saw that she had indeed broken through the skin. My foot hurt when I flexed my toes, and I really thought I should get ice on it. What if everything is ruined now? I was freaking out inside. The twenty miler, the marathon, everything….After the initial shock, and maybe a couple beverages, the pain subsided, and I only felt it if I pushed on it. I was still rather concerned but remained calm and enjoyed the night. (I have a picture of this wound but again, my phone decided to die, so…photo evidence to come. In the meantime, I’ll share my fish face with you all. You’re welcome.  

#3. Not have water like I planned. Enough said. 

#4. Still be awake at 3:30am.

I woke up at 7:10 and assessed the foot situation. It was a bit swollen. I jumped and ran around. Had ibuprofen, wrapped some KT Tape around it. Tied my shoe not as tight as normal. Wore my usual compression socks. Ate a chocolate Gu. Time to rock.

I promise I won’t do my “OMG, Garmins are so cool” thing again, since most of you have been running with Garmins for years and are over it. I am a kid with a new toy; I am not.


Our route looks convoluted, but it was basically an eight-mile loop with Kate, Nick, Sarah, and Phil that was Pretty Brooks with a bathroom stop/nick drop-off. At around 9:10 we were back where we started. We dropped off Sara and Phil and picked up Jack (my 17-mile running buddy from two weeks ago!) and Daniel. We ran a five-mile loop and then returned, where Kate and Daniel stopped and Jack and I kept going. I hadn’t mapped a seven-miler…and maybe I should have, but we decided to run up to Herrontown Woods. After a tiny loop in the woods (visible by the tiny little circle) I decided screw it, I wanted to stay on roads to mimic what the marathon will be like. I was also mad I dropped an 8:54 mile on those trails, since we had dropped to 7:45s after dropping off people at 13 miles. At around 18 miles, things started to feel tough. If I had water, I think I would have felt fine, but I was just really thirsty (understandably so…). Thinking back, I think that was the only issue. My legs felt fine. We needed to add on some more for twenty (which is the worst, adding on at the end when you can see where you parked…), and I am so grateful I had someone there for finish up with! I would have done it, but it was much more enjoyable to have someone right next to me. I was excited to plug in the watch and look at how the run went after:



The first loop was kind of all over the place; I didn’t know how to stop the watch at one point (I forget why I needed to), so that mile was kind of off. Mile 5 was a big hill, so that’s strange it was faster. Mile 8 was slow because it was the start of the second group’s run, most likely, and we were settling into our pace again. The next 8 miles were all around or significantly under 8:00, which is nice. If you take out the trail portion (all of mile 17), the last 12 miles of the run were at 8:08 or faster except for mile 19, which is when I struggled a bit. But hey, if my “bonk” was me running 8:14 + 8:03…I can deal with that. At the actual race I will take more water and another gel, so that eliminates the thirst I had at the end, which is mainly why I struggled. If I can call it that. It really wasn’t so bad. At any point in the run I could have easily picked up the pace to 7:30-40 if I wanted to or needed to.


Overall, this was such a great learning experience for me as a runner. I am much more confident that I can run this marathon and be fine. Of course, part of me is saying, if you did all those things wrong and still managed to feel great and even pick up the pace the second half…this is good. Hey, if that’s what gives me confidence….In all seriousness though, I will not be preparing the same way when I do an eighteen miler in two weeks. 

More Garmin awesomeness:



If I told you I didn’t satisfy my runger (and make up for earlier bad choices?) the rest of the day by consuming a 10″ pineapple-spinach-jalapeno pizza from Naked Pizza, buying lots of healthy food from Trader Joe’s, and going out to dinner for some fish tacos (accompanied by three large glasses of water), I would be lying. 🙂


I’m in the 20 mile club, woo!!! It’s a thing, I swear.

Now, back to attempting to figure out how my weekend is going to pan out given that I have 1.) a ride to Boston, 2. A ride from Boston, and 3.) No place to sleep? Should be interesting, especially without a mobile device.


4 thoughts on “the big 2-0”

  1. Awesome job on your 20-miler! Doesn’t it feel so good to make it into the 20-mile club?! Also, isn’t it amazing how sometimes the run just seems to *work* even when you don’t actually prepare for it in the *right* way?

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