20 Miles and Getting Lost Is Worth the View

When I commented for a chance to win an entry to the Blue Ridge Marathon. I though my chances were limited but I figured why not? When I received the email that I won an entry I thought “Shit! I’ve got to train!”.
I wanted to run the marathon. But I wasn’t sure I could. My longest run had been 15 miles and months ago and while I somewhat maintained half marathon level I also had to take some breaks and was actually in the middle of Christmas vacation, at home, in France, eating my weight in French food.

So I approached this a little differently than my half marathon. I didn’t tell as many people that I was training for it to start with. I also took the approach that I would train and see where it would take me. I have to say, the training has been going fairly well. Oh I’ve had unpleasant runs, don’t doubt that. But so far my body seems to handle it well.

My training called for one 20 miles run on week 4. However I spoke with a running friend who told me she followed the same plan and felt it would have been better with two 20 miles run. At that point I had limited options to add it, but it sounded sensible. So on week 5, I replaced the 13 miles run by a 20 miles run. My first ever.

I’ve also done most of my long runs on trails because it’s something I enjoy more and find more challenging. However the Blue Ridge Marathon is a road race. I knew I needed some long road runs to test my body and my gear. So I mapped a course going from West Asheville to downtown, then up the hills behind the Grove Park Inn going back by way of Montford. I packed gels, water, Gu Brew and directions and went my merry way.

It was a beautiful day and the run would have been a great run had I not gotten lost. Ok not lost lost, but unable to find the road I was supposed to take. Lesson learned: when exploring new routes, can’t hurt to drive them first! I had to call my husband for directions, like me he thought the road would be easy to find. It wasn’t. In the end he directed me a different way. While it got me back on the loop I did miss some of the elevation I was counting on. But I did have a beautiful view over downtown Asheville so I can’t regret it too much.

But overall it was a good run. So much easier than my 18 miles trail run. Less elevation changes helps! I did really wanted some cold water in the end. I almost stopped in fact, but with only 2-3 miles to go I just pushed it all the way back home. I surprised myself in finish in 3h 10mns 19s. One minute faster than I ran 18 miles.

Recovery included a smoothie with GU recovery, greek yogurt, frozen raspberries and a splash of juice. I realized it’s hard for me to eat solid food after a long run beyond 16 miles. I also plopped myself in a cold bath for lack of icy creek. Given that I still pulled an 8h shift at work after that I felt pretty happy with myself.

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