The Run That Tells You

This training cycle has played a tough hand; I’ve had my fair share of days where I’m not thrilled about running for hours, or planning weekends around training, or looking ahead at the miles to come.

All of my long runs in DC have gone well, but the last 20 was a challenge. Slightly jaded at this point, I approached it without much thought; I didn’t pace myself well, and the last quarter of the run was a test as to whether or not this marathon thing would actually be “fun”.

Doable? Totally. Enjoyable? Well, that’s up for debate.

This exact sentiment ran its course last Fall, and I had one last long run to combat it. That last one turned into a 21, and I instantly knew I was ready, and able, to tackle 26.2 again.

So, this time around, what trick was waiting up my sleeve?
A 22 mile test, of course.


This time I actually spend the week acting as though I’m in full training (ah, the epiphany!). I got enough sleep, paid attention to drinking more water, planned the mileage & meals, and had a low-key night before it all went down. Pizza dinner date, movie with friends, cupcake for dessert – that was my recipe for preparation.

Pizza never fails me. Nor does actually adopting the training mentality.

The Plan: meet Kate, run 10 miles around Northwest. Head into Rock Creek Park, run the next 12 on the trail, through the Mall, across bridges and back.


The Strategy: Race-sim! I didn’t stop to refuel; I did it on-the-run (no unnecessary stops on race day!). I mapped a route with minimal stop-light-pausing, hills (see above) & plenty of DC sight-seeing.

The Fuel: Camelbak with two Nuun tablets + water; 1 mini peanut-butter cookie Larabar (mile 8), 1 package of lemon-lime Shotbloks (miles 14,18).

The Result: perfection. This was the run that told me the legs & mind are ready, this race will be a challenge worth completing.


Kate & I kept the pace easy, tackling the ups & downs of that portion. I made one Garmin mistake, forgetting to restart after pausing at an intersection.

When I left her, and “only” had 12 miles to go, that was just fine.

I cruised along, totally taken back and charmed by the pure bliss of running in DC, in the fall. Changing leaves, green grass, sunshine bouncing off of the Potomac, and the monuments beaming because they know it’s Saturday and everyone is admiring them. If there is a perfect Fall day, this was it.

I texted D at mile 19, “Feel amazing, 3 to go!”. I resisted the urge to keep running until Garmin said “22”, because OCD runner I am not (right?). 22 done; if there were 4.2 more on deck, I would’ve happily kept going.


How do you flush out the legs after 22 miles? Hop on the bike!
When Fall says “play”, we don’t argue.


Join Ivan & Epod, head to Gravelly Point – eat, and let planes fly way too close overhead.


Marine Corps, we’ll be good friends. Countdown: 13 days.



Filed under DC, marathon, MCM, running buddy, training, weather love, weekends

26 responses to “The Run That Tells You

  1. SO EXCITED for you! That’s a great long run, and a perfect confidence-booster as you head into taper mode! Also, I share your epiphany that actually spending the week acting as though I’m in full training leads to greater training success. It’s like we assume our bodies still remember our last training cycle, and we can therefore get away with murder (and by “murder,” I mean “six-hour nights of sleep” and “going out the night before long runs”).

    • Heather C

      Thanks, Amy!

      Yes, “murder” has been committed a few times during this cycle – hah. Learning as we go, even the third time around…

  2. You have got to love a confidence building run like that! Way to go girl, you are SOOO ready for MCM!!! Can’t wait to see you next week!

  3. gravelly point! i hope you weren’t like everyone i see there and sitting in the MIDDLE OF THE TRAIL taking pictures. congrats on your 22! you are def ready.

    • Heather C

      Psh, please. We were among the brilliant who sit in the grass directly below all the ginormous planes that are flying in! Safety first.

  4. Dear Superwoman, did I really just read that you went on a leisurely bike ride AFTER running forever?

    I’m impressed and will need sometime to digest that info. WOWZA!!!

    • Heather C

      Ha, I wondered how the ride would go – but we kept it easy, just cruising along…

      The ride home? Not so bueno. Tired legs followed.

  5. Awesome job squeezing out a real solid training run. Those make all the difference when race day comes!

  6. Can’t believe MCM is so soon, it really snuck up on me! Enjoy the tapering 🙂

  7. Awesome work, H!! Those photos are fun and the one with the jet doesn’t look real. You must of done a little color editing?

    Sounds like you’re ready for that marathon! PS- You’re making me crave love grown granola. I really want some. Maybe I’ll need to order more. Just wish the store would carry it here. I’ll try to put a bug in their ear for my own good. 🙂

    Happy tapering!

    • Heather C

      Ivan took the pic with his iPhone – he has a few photo-apps, not sure which one created this effect?

      Anyway, maybe I can find a way to get you some of that granola!

  8. Awesome post. I’m trying to keep my head in the game for my Half Marathon so this post came at the PERFECT time! So much of it for me is getting my head into it. I love that you adapted the “training mentality.” I need to add it to my long run on Saturday! Good luck lady! I look forward to following along!

    • Heather C

      Race-sim runs are key! You’ll toe the starting line much more confidently when you know you’ve prepared that way.

      Good luck on your Saturday run!

  9. D came SO close to touching that plane. Just a few more feet and he would have had it.

    • Heather C

      Had you given him that encouragement on Saturday, we would’ve lost his attention for the remainder of the picnic.

      Jump! Jump!

  10. oh this is such good news! you need this run “mentally” before a race. Feel good, feel ready, feel strong!

  11. Way to nail that 22!!! GREAT confidence booster. You’ve got this one!!

    Cool pic with the plane!!

  12. I’m so impressed by long distance running! My distance has been capped at 13.1 thus far, but I have some desires to push past it. We’ll see, I suppose. 🙂

  13. WOW girl 🙂 You are going to do fab 😀 Keep up the positivity xo

  14. Wow, great job! Way to go!

  15. Pingback: Do It Now! {3:39:59} | Dietitian on the Run

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