And so, I begin my taper.

Yesterday morning was my running club‘s big 20 miler. I’ve actually be doing most of my long runs with the local CARA group, but all of the CARA groups were doing 20 miles as part of the Ready to Run 20 Miler on Sunday (today). I had a wedding last night, so I knew 20 miles on Sunday was not happening.

A couple super awesome ladies from my club decided to make our 20 miler more than just another Saturday long run. They were able to reach out to a couple local businesses (Berkots and Running for Kicks) to have water, Gatorade, bananas, oranges, apples and GU donated for four aid stations (three along the route that we would hit up twice, and one at the finish). Many of the club members who weren’t running volunteered at our aid stations, and brought their kids along. It was truly a team effort!

We also invited all the other local clubs to join us (including the other CARA folks who couldn’t make the Sunday 20 miler), and I think members from at least three clubs joined us, which is always fun.

I felt good going into the run. I’ve run 18 miles continuously (for my 19 miler, I ran 18 with the group and walked around to make up the last mile), mentally I was ready, the weather was great, I ate a lot of carbs on Friday, I had support from other runners and the aid stations … I was ready to tackle 20 miles.

We started at 6am, right before the sun came up. I was really impressed with the turn out! I’m in the front on the far left.
The first aid station. Don’t mind my Rainbow Brite inspired outfit.
Aid station
I did the entire 20 miles with Julie (middle), and Kim was close behind us.
Kelly W. (on the right) jumped in at the turn-around, and joined Julie and me for the last 10 miles. It was SO GREAT to have her (and her energy) there!
Yay! I’m F’N awesome.
Finished!
With some of our support crew.

I ended up doing 20.41 miles in 3 hours and 41 minutes. Average pace was 10:50. For my own reference: I ate pretzels, orange slices and Clif Shot Bloks during the run, and the rest of my pretzels, more orange slices and my usual chocolate soy milk afterward. I figured out a way to carry pretzels without overstuffing my SPIbelt … staple a baggie to the waistband.

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Also, I figured out a way to not freeze too much during an ice bath … arm warmers. (Or, in my case, old soccer socks with the feet cut off.)

Ice bath survival = arm warmers and reading material

Now that that is over … I feel really great. I know I can tackle 20 miles. After a taper, with fresh legs, I should be able to do 26.2. I’m still going into the race without a time or pace goal, and plan to run by heart rate. I have a general idea for what heart rates to target, but I want to see if my “coach” has any advice, since I know she keeps track of heart rate while running.

As I mentioned, we had a wedding Saturday night. The Sailor’s best friend was marrying one of my friends that I’ve known for 16 years. I actually took zero pictures of my own. My camera broke at a wedding in May (I dropped it one too many times), and I didn’t feel like taking cell phone pictures, besides, our friend Teresa was the wedding photographer (and our friend Jill was there snapping photos too), so I’m sure there will be plenty of fun pictures eventually.

In the meantime … there was a photobooth.

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L-R: Me + The Sailor; Me + both sis-in-laws + Teresa + the bride; me + my brothers.

And despite the 20 miler, I still wore heels to the wedding. (The ones on the right.) They were glittery. I couldn’t NOT wear them. I made it 6 hours in them, and yes, my feet were killing me by then, so I stopped at the hotel to switch to flats on our way to a local watering hole.