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

    EmilyBMalone@gmail.com

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    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

Jen     at 5:15 pm

YAY Emily! I’m so happy that you had a good long run. I was also seriously starting to doubt my ability to run MCM but after my awesome long run last weekend I am so ready to get it done. It is amazing what a good run can do for you mentally! I started reading all the race day information online today and got so nervous and excited. I can’t believe that it’s almost time!

I agree with you that Gu is gross but it’s the only way I can take in calories on the run without getting sick. I can’t even stomach sports drinks. I have learned to tolerate the plain and vanilla flavors.

Again, congratulations! You’ve definitely been an inspiration to me throughout training – you’ve trained through heat, tons of travel and moving. Incredible.

See you soon in DC! :)

[Reply]

Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

We’ve got this girl. The weather here is perfect – we are going to have SO much fun!!

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Runeatrepeat     at 5:15 pm

Great job! I love reading your long run recaps – good or bad, they are learning experiences for you and other runners like me.
You are going to rock MCM :)

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Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

Thanks Monica! When is YOUR marathon? Must be soon, right?

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April @ Crazy Fabulous Life     at 5:16 pm

You are so fabulous. Your blog is my absolute favorite. I always leave your posts feeling inspired!

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Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

Awesome! Thanks April. :)

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Babs     at 5:26 pm

Your comment at the end about appreciating the good because you experience the bad, made me think about one of my favorite lines from Vanilla Sky (love that movie) “the sweet isn’t as sweet without the sour”

Congrats on the great run

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Annie     at 5:30 pm

Hurray for a good run! Glad to see you are feeling better and ready to tackle the marathon. :)

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Laurab @ foodsnobstl     at 5:44 pm

Way to go! When i get frustrated or have a bad run, I just tell myself that I am a marathoner and NO ONE can ever take that away from me.

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Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

Amen.

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Corey - The Runner's Cookie     at 5:45 pm

So true that the awesome runs would not be as glorious without the disastrous ones!
Yay for the post-run bliss and confidence boost!! You have an amazing attitude and are also honest with your struggles, which is so helpful for other runners. Thanks, Emily!

[Reply]

Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

Thanks Corey!

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Chelsea @ Strawberry Sweat     at 5:46 pm

Congrats on the run! I’m very impressed how well it went, considering the two week running break. The struggle between the mind and the body is definitely what keeps me running–glad to see you put mind over matter for this run!

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Sherry C     at 5:54 pm

Reading your recovery run was inspiring. Although I am currently not aspiring for a marathon, I worked up to my first 5 K run for the Cure. What kept me motivated was what I was running for: so many who couldn’t. Being so greatful for my health and being able to use it for someone else’s benefit! My time was not great, but I ran the whole thing and proved to my 48 year old legs that I could do it and much more!

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Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

That is awesome! Congrats on your 5k. Running for a cause is such a great feeling. :)

[Reply]

Summer     at 5:58 pm

I’m glad you had better luck this go around! I tried a Power Gel for the first time this weekend—blech :(

[Reply]

Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

Power Gel Vanilla literally makes me puke. Soooo gross.

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coco     at 6:08 pm

congrats on the 18 miler. It’s so true that the mind is what governs everything! Love when you said “On Sunday, I decided I was going to have a good run”. You made your mind and you did :)

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Anne     at 6:15 pm

Yay!!! Glad to see you get your groove back :)

[Reply]

Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

It about time, right? :)

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Maryea (Happy Healthy Mama)     at 6:16 pm

Isn’t it amazing how much our mental state can affect our running?! Great job getting through!

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Anna @ Doing Good & Living Well     at 6:24 pm

Congrats on your awesome run! This is such a great post — I’ll be coming back to it when I have crappy runs (like I did today). You’re going to do so well with MCM after this run to build your confidence.

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Alayna @ Thyme Bombe     at 6:39 pm

Congratulations! You are an inspiration to runners of every experience level. You have taught this novice runner so much and I’m so grateful for it.

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Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

That means a lot. Thanks Alayna!

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Michelle @ Chasing Ambulances     at 6:45 pm

Wow! Great run and report :) I loved reading this. p.s. You look adorable after running 18 miles. That is almost as impressive as running 18 miles on its own ;)

[Reply]

Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

HA – thank you! It was colder out, so for once I wasn’t drenched in sweat. :)

[Reply]

Kelli     at 6:47 pm

Yay Emily!

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Stacey     at 6:51 pm

I’m so proud of you! It’s great that you had a good long run :) remember: mind over matter! It goes to show that if you go into the run with a positive attitude, you’ll more than likely have a good run :) great job Emily!

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Chase @ The Chase Project     at 6:53 pm

You got this! I know you’ll rock out the MCM. I love hearing these training run recaps!

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Katie @ Healthy Heddleston     at 7:14 pm

Aww congrats Emily, I’m so happy for you! I completely agree about running far away from home — I actually don’t even return home and have my husband come pick me up!! Mentally, I like seeing new things while I run and it just makes me look forward to what’s next!

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Jocelyn @ EnthusiasticRunner     at 7:17 pm

You looked like you had fun!

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Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen)     at 7:21 pm

Congrats on the run Emily. I don’t run, but I completely understand having a drive to accomplish something physically and mentally…it is indescribable! Enjoy it!

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Laura     at 7:25 pm

Great Job!! You powered through that run!

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Heather @ Get Healthy with Heather     at 7:39 pm

Your last statement is so true! Way to rock your run, it is SO impressive girl.

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Lauren     at 7:46 pm

Congrats girl! I needed this tonight. I’m trying to find all of the inspiration I can get for my 1/2 this Saturday! :) You rock.

[Reply]

Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

GOOD LUCK this weekend. Sending good vibes your way.

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Michelle @ IronDivas     at 7:51 pm

I love hearing stories like this. It’s good to know that while it is challenging, that it is in fact possible. I hope to next year do my first half marathon and I know that half the battle if not more is being able to handle it mentally. Congrats on a great run today!

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Elizabeth     at 8:10 pm

Congrats Emily! I love reading about your run recaps. Get’s me motivated to get my workouts done. Off to karate class!

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Liz @ LBBakes     at 8:19 pm

Way to go! You must be thrilled. I just did a 15 miler this past weekend and may attempt 17 or 18 this weekend. :)

[Reply]

Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

Awesome – good luck!

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steph @ goeatapeach     at 8:35 pm

WOOHOO! So great to see it. Totally true that you can often tell immediately if you will have a good or bad run. Can we do a DC-area blogger run soon? Preferably when I’m not gallivanting around Charlottesville?

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Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

Yes, absolutely! Good idea. :)

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Holly @ Self-love and Running     at 8:46 pm

Awesome! Go Emily!

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thetreadmilldiaries     at 8:52 pm

You’re absolutely right – this was an 18 mile success story. Great job!

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Lindsey @ Eat, Read, Run     at 8:56 pm

YAY – so glad you had a great run! I totally agree – we actually NEED less than stellar runs to remind us how good a good one feels. During my last marathon training I had some bad ones, but it makes the grand finale that much sweeter as well!

[Reply]

chelsey @ clean eating chelsey     at 8:58 pm

YES!!! I knew you could do it! Awesome job – positivity does something great, right?

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Erica     at 9:25 pm

You did FANTASTIC! Go Emily!

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Jen     at 9:31 pm

Yay, for a good run! I am so, so, so happy for you! I hope that your marathon training turns around from here at that you kick serious booty at MCM.

So, I’ve never tried Gu because I worry how it’ll affect my sensitive stomach. I guess I should give it a try? I don’t know why it makes me so nervous!

[Reply]

Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

I mean the texture is terrible and you have to gag it down, but it doesnt sit in my stomach or slosh like sports drink does.

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Susan Reply:

The texture is terrible! Depending on my distance, I’ll put 2 – 3 GUs in my GU flask, mix them with water and carry the flask in my pocket. I find it a lot easier to take this way.

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Melissa R.     at 9:38 pm

So glad you ran south on Sunday! Isn’t it a great place to run?? I’ll have to join you at some point. My marathon is on SUNDAY!!!!! and you are right…a lot of running IS mental. People don’t get that and it’s why the marathon is so hard. The last few miles come down to mental fortitude. Glad you found yours!

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Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

Thank you SO much for the advice!! The water fountains were amazing. GOOD LUCK this weekend – I’ll be thinking of you. :)

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Lee     at 9:50 pm

It’s so nice when you have a run that makes you realize why you love to run. It kind of makes up for the bad ones, right?

I sort of like the way GU tastes, but only the chocolate one.

[Reply]

Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

I secretly like the chocolate ones too. Tastes like frosting!

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Krista (kristastes)     at 10:34 pm

Yay!! Congrats girl, great job :) I am in the same boat — I just hit 18 miles (most ever) on Sunday in prep for the Philly Marathon. I have til November 21st, but I know the feeling of ‘okay no more slacking/putting off the long runs!’ You’ve got this one in the bag!

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Alice     at 10:45 pm

Awesomeness!!! Sending good running vibes your way!

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Amber K     at 10:51 pm

This is incredibly inspiring! Way to get back out there! :)

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Rachel     at 10:55 pm

woohooo!!!

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Caitlin     at 11:27 pm

I LOVE the feeling when everything lines up on a good run. When I can go in the evening and it’s cool out, I feel like I am flying. Your attitude is encouraging and motivating. Congrats on a great run!

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Lauren     at 12:03 am

Congrats on the run!

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Lisa (bakebikeblog)     at 12:12 am

YAY YAY YAY !!! I am so pleased to hear that it all went well!

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Lani     at 12:12 am

Congrats, Emily!!

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Freya     at 5:33 am

You have just given me confidence! I had a hellish run on sunday, and so have been dreading my final big one – 20miles – tis sunday. I’ve been doubting my ability for the MCM too, but since reading this, I feel 10x more positive! Thank you so much :)

[Reply]

Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

Nooo Freya don’t lose hope! ONE more long run – we can do this. We will be out there together!! :)

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Laura@keepingslimandgettingstylish     at 5:44 am

Yey for a great run! Well done for getting bcak on out there and rocking it :-)

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Brittney     at 8:24 am

Great job Emily! I’m totally inspired by you! Also, I love the picture of you with the GU, too funny. I have a pack that I haven’t tried yet, but I’m thinking of trying it on my next long run.

[Reply]

lauren     at 8:37 am

Great job, Emily! You’ll definitely rock it on the 30th!

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Heather     at 8:45 am

Great Job! Even though my runs are much shorter than your’s, I love the way I feel when I can finish with a smile on my face and know that I achieved my goal.

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

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

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Annie@stronghealthyfit     at 9:06 am

Great job! So inspiring :-)

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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.

Congrats!

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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 :)

congrats!!

[Reply]

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..

[Reply]

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.

[Reply]

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!

[Reply]

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!!

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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

[Reply]

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!

[Reply]

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!

[Reply]

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.

[Reply]

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!

[Reply]

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.

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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. :)

[Reply]

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.

[Reply]

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!

[Reply]

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

good job!!!

[Reply]

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