about me

    Emily Malone

    culinary arts grad. nutrition facts lover. vegetarian chef. marathon runner. country music maniac. failed dog trainer. barre fanatic. loving mama.

    Contact Emily

    For general inquires, contact: EmilyBMalone@gmail.com.

    For partnerships, contact: dailygarnishads@mediakix.com.

    Looking forward to chatting with you!


    What’s Cooking?

    Personal Bests

    5K - 23:28

    10K - 52:35

    15K - 1:38:14

    1/2 Marathon - 1:57:39

    Marathon - 3:50:58

    A Look Back.

An 18-Mile Success Story.

You may recall that two weeks ago I had one of the more hellacious long runs of my running career.  The kind of run that made me question everything – why I run, should I run, and do I even love to run anymore?

After a two week running hiatus (induced by a combination of the bad run and a nagging sinus infection), I got my answers Sunday morning.  With just four weeks left until the marathon, there were no more freebie weeks left.  If I was going to salvage my (lack of) training and see if this race was even possible, I needed to get out there and give it a real shot. 

It started like any other run…

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Before I even put on my running shoes, I made a vow that I was going to give it everything I had, no matter what.  Two weeks ago, a reader named Sarah sent me a long and brilliant email, urging me to not give up on MCM.  As I walked out the door to my run, her words echoed in my head – “In these events, I’ve always tried to acknowledge that the most important aspect to marathon running is the mind.  If I let doubt and negativity in, it’s over before it even started.”

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This whole running dance can be funny sometimes, and often you know whether you’re going to have a good run or not the minute your feet hit the pavement.  On Sunday, I decided I was going to have a good run…and I did.  On a different reader’s suggestion (thank you, Melissa!), I decided to not return to the “scene of the crime” and run the same route that did me in a few weeks ago.  Instead, I headed south on my trail towards Mt. Vernon.  I figured it would be nice and scenic, but I honestly wasn’t prepared for the beauty and peaceful surroundings that were waiting for me down there.

It was one of the first crisp, fall mornings, and I actually ran in capris and long-sleeves for the first time since last season.  I felt amazing – properly fueled, the right temperature, and mentally on point.  My pace felt steady and as I ran past empty marshes and over wooden boardwalks, my watch beeped to tell me that my miles were ticking by.  I felt awesome.

Just before the 6 mile point, I decided to turn around.  I wasn’t going to make the same mistakes I had made so often in the past.  I knew that in order to continue to feel my best, I would need fuel beyond the trail’s water fountains.  I headed back up the trail towards my house, where food and hydration were waiting for me.

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I have never been a huge Gu or gel fan, but with a stomach like mine, solid food is not an option.

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At this point I was halfway through my most successful MCM training run to date.  I was somewhat amazed at how well I was holding my pace – right around 9:30 average at 11 miles.  Much slower than I was a year ago, but much faster than I’ve been running recently.  After a short break on the front porch, I headed back out on the streets of Old Town to finish up the last seven.

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I have always been a firm believer that in order to have a good run, you have to run FAR away from home.  Otherwise I am always too tempted to cut it short and head home early.  I ran up to the marina, and looped all around the north end of my neighborhood for miles and miles.  Every time I got closer to my house, I would force myself to turn the other direction, so I wouldn’t be tempted to give up early.  I had already made it SO far – I was going to finish this thing.

The best part?  It really wasn’t that bad.  Those last few miles hurt, but I definitely could have kept running.  I ran miles 15 through 18 with a huge smile on my face, and (finally!) the confidence to know that I will be just fine on marathon morning.  I got to my doorstep and chugged another bottle of Spartos water (recovery drink).

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Still out of breath, almost ready…

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There we go!  An 18-mile success story.  :)

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Because the second half of my run was done in the neighborhood, my pace dropped a bit due to stoplights and traffic.  Here are the official mileage stats for the entire run (my Garmin didn’t load for the first few blocks, so the final stats are off by about half a mile.):

  • Mile 1 – 9:21
  • Mile 2
    – 9:04 (feeling good)
  • Mile 3 – 9:07
  • Mile 4 – 9:23
  • Mile 5 – 9:44
  • Mile 6 – 9:59 (turn around point)
  • Mile 7 – 9:17
  • Mile 8 – 9:08
  • Mile 9 – 9:45
  • Mile 10 – 10:18 (slowing down in the neighborhood)
  • Mile 11 – 10:16
  • Mile 12 – 10:14
  • Mile 13 – 10:32 (feeling sluggish)
  • Mile 14 – 11:27 (walking break)
  • Mile 15 – 10:41
  • Mile 16 – 9:53 (almost there)
  • Mile 17 – 10:48
  • Mile 18 – 8:57 (oh my god make it end)

Total run:  18 miles (Garmin says 17.41)

Time:  2:52:36 

Average Pace: 9:54/mile

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I know that had I stayed on the trail the whole time, I could have kept my pace closer to a 9:30, and if I can do that on race day I will be over the moon.  After I recovered my breath and slammed my sports drink, I came inside and got into my favorite post-run recovery position – feet in the air.

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Unlike my recent training runs, this one didn’t end in puking or tears.  It ended with smiles and confidence, and the reminder of why I love this sport that challenges me to push myself both mentally and physically.  The thing about running is, we wouldn’t enjoy the good runs nearly as much if we didn’t have to learn from the bad ones.  That’s just the way it goes…

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86 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Andrea (@ Puppy Dog Tales)     at 9:05 am

Yay…I’m so proud of you. what an inspiration. I bet you feel wonderful!!!! :)


Annie@stronghealthyfit     at 9:06 am

Great job! So inspiring :-)


Heather     at 9:18 am

Thanks so much for this story. I am working on the barefoot running thing and had been dealing with some knee issues. For the longest time, I couldn’t get past 2 miles (I know much shorter than your distance). I’ve run 2 half marathons, so this was super frustrating. But, recently, I’ve made it to 3 miles with absolutely no issues. It’s such a great feeling.



Karen     at 9:29 am

great job! I am kind of going through the same weird rough patch with my long runs. I may have use Sarah and you as inspiration on Saturday :)



Katie     at 9:57 am

Mentally good runs are so important to training…for me, I always leave a good run feeling like I can conquer the world..whether it is only 3 miles or 10, I always feel accomplished if my mind was in the right place. Funny how that works..


Ashley @ Nourishing the Soul     at 9:58 am

Amazing, Emily! I love the suggestion of not returning to the scene of the crime. I know that seeing a course that kicked my butt recently only makes me anxious and engage in negative self-talk. If I can try a different route and restore my confidence, I’m definitely better for it.


Adrienne Foley     at 10:40 am

Hi Emily, I”m new to your blog, having learned about it from sparkpeople.com. I like the photo of the PB&J in your post. I have a feeling this is a special concoction. Do you have a recipe for it or can you tell me which products you use? Thanks!


A Better Me     at 11:17 am

Great job! I’m training for a half now. I have troubles with solid food too & hate GU! But you do what you have too :) Congratulations!!


Paige     at 12:08 pm

I am SO glad that this run turned out well for you! You seemed really down after your last long run and I think this is just what you needed to get through the rest of marathon training. Keep up the good work! :D


Ashley M. [at] (never home)maker     at 12:11 pm

GREAT JOB! It’s a story like this that helps me get motivated for my next marathon. Knowing that I can keep going despite some setbacks. Thank you, Emily. I really appreciated this post! And you TOTALLY rocked that last mile!


Katie     at 1:34 pm

Congrats! That is so awesome you had a good long run. I still don’t see how you can do 3 hours of running, I think I’ll stick with the half for a while. ;-) I’ve been eating gummy bears during long runs…those goos are nasty.
Can’t WAIT to see you next week…AHHHH!


Marci     at 2:11 pm

So glad you had a great 18 miles! That distance is unfathomable to me. MCM has nothing on you! I re-read your Taboo post. Do you drink coffee? That works for me 90% of the time.


Heather     at 2:54 pm

great job! You are so right about the bad and good runs. I had an AWESOME one two weeks ago and was so happy. This past weekend…not bad but not awesome, but if they were all awesome I wouldn’t appreciate them!


Robyn @ Wannabe Writer Runner     at 3:39 pm

So awesome! It’s always amazing to me how some runs can be great and others so sucky. You’re totally ready for your race.


Megan (Braise The Roof)     at 3:41 pm

Congrats on the run! Your running posts are always so inspirational- the good and the bad. Thanks for always putting your runs out there honestly and giving us non-marathoners a realistic view of what training actually entails. :)


Nichole @ Flirting with Food, Fitness & Fashion     at 3:50 pm

I admire your motivation! I am very new to running and even though I enjoy it once I am out there I find myself struggling with motivation.


Danielle     at 11:14 am

Great job!!! Running is funny like that… seems like it has a mind of its own sometimes. One more longer run (20 miles) and then taper, right? Wa hoo!


Sarah K. @ The Pajama Chef     at 2:46 pm

good job!!!


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