Marathon Monday on the Mt. Vernon Trail.

I woke up yesterday with running 15 miles on my mind.  Unfortunately, mother nature threw a wrench into my plans.  The steady rain outside my window made it next to impossible to get motivated to run.  I know it is important to run in all conditions, but after running a full marathon in pouring rain, and having one of the hardest runs of my life, I haven’t quite readjusted to the idea of soggy running. 

The rain continued and the clock ticked by, and it became quickly obvious that my run wasn’t going to happen.  So I went about my day and did other things, but I spent my whole day with this nagging feeling that I hadn’t done what I really needed to do.  After running five marathons, the only piece of advice I ever offer new runners is do your long runs.  Skipping runs should not be an option. 

So I woke up this morning determined to get the monkey off my back.  The sun was shining, the weather was cool, and the conditions were perfect.  I made my standard pre-run breakfast – PB&J. 

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We picked up this delicious loaf of “Bird Seed Bread” at the farmer’s market on Saturday morning.  It is so dense and chewy – I can’t wait to get more.

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Since we were running low on jelly, I actually did one piece with PB2 and jelly, and the other piece with PB2 and some super creamy raw honey.  Yum.

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And with my belly full of fuel, I headed out the door determined to tackle 15 miles.  As it turns out, it was a little too much fuel.  Typically I’m used to eating more traditional store bought bread, and I think I underestimated the density of the Bird Seed Bread.  While it was delicious going down, it sat in my stomach like a rock for the first 5 miles. 

Even so, I jogged along and tried to forget about the weight in my stomach, because the surroundings were absolutely beautiful.  This was my first long run in my new hometown, and my first time venturing out on the Mt. Vernon Trail I have heard so much about.  I am happy to report that the hype more than lived up to my expectations – it was the most BREATHTAKING scenery and run!  My only major regret was not taking my camera.  Many thanks to Casey for snapping a few pics on his phone as he did the same route on his bike.

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I ran along side the sparkling Potomac river, watching ducks swim and geese fly in groups.  I saw boats sailing by, and the Capitol building in the distance.  For someone who didn’t feel like running when I woke up, I quickly changed my tune to feeling very blessed and fortunate to have a body that can run, and to live in a place that is so magical that it gives me goose bumps.

I ran aaaaaall the way past the airport, and up the coast of the river, crossing the bridge and landing at the base of the Jefferson Memorial.  Even though I knew it would add to my mileage (since my Garmin had reached my 7.5 miles already), I couldn’t resist paying Mr. Jefferson a visit since I was right there.

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It was early in the morning on a Monday, and I was literally the ONLY person there when I arrived.  It’s a pretty incredible experience to have a national monument all to yourself.  I spent a few minutes reading and reflecting, and then headed back towards Virginia for the second half of my run.  Just as I came back over the bridge and headed back towards home, look who came riding up…!

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My knight in shining helmet!  :)  It was perfect timing to see Casey, since I was starting to get very sore and tired, and he offered some timely water and motivation.  Major regret #2 for this run was that I completely neglected to plan properly for fuel and water (big surprise).  I have run five marathons and still can’t quite seem to figure this one out – not sure why.  I was so wrapped up this morning in making sure I went the right way on my new route, that I didn’t think to plan accordingly for needing fuel.  Casey handed me some much appreciated water, but I still had 8 more miles to go on am empty stomach.  At least I had a pretty view!

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The second half of my run was a lot less successful than the first half, which is in no way surprising.  It was stupid of me to think that I could possibly run 15 miles without a single piece of fuel or drop of Gatorade.  Hopefully it is a lesson learned.  And it’s ironic that I was so wrapped up in studying my route that I forgot my Gu’s, because on the way back I took a major wrong turn.  I realized it after about a half-mile when the route no longer looked familiar, but I had to backtrack and ended up adding almost an extra mile to my distance – gaaah!

NINE very painful and slow miles
later, I arrived back on my doorstep – sunburned, sore, and starving.  And of course, I ran in my newest favorite tank top.  I now have five of them, so you can plan on seeing them quite often.

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Even though it wasn’t a great run, I still covered the mileage and when it comes to marathon training, mileage is really what matters.  Sixteen in the books!

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I think you can all guess where I headed next…

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My fabulous jacuzzi tub!  Yes, I know I should have probably done an ice bath instead, but my muscles were screaming for warm bubbles and I obliged.  And the only thing better than a post-run jacuzzi soak…

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Is doing it with a giant recovery smoothie perched on the edge!

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The Mix:  2 scoops Chocolate Vega Shake & Go Smoothie Mix, 2 tbsp PB2 powder, 1 ripe banana, a handful of frozen strawberries, 1/2 cup Almond Breeze, and a few splashes of water.  Just what I needed!

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Now I am off to inhale some lunch and do stretching to try to avoid being too sore. 

Today’s run wasn’t the greatest training run of my life, but having three hours to myself to think and reflect on my running is always a good thing.  It really all comes down to this – regardless of my oversights on fuel and hydration, I am sixteen miles stronger than I was when I woke up this morning.  And for that, I’m pretty proud.