So a friend and veteran distance runner told me that reaching 18 miles is a milestone. I couldn’t wait to get there. I was nervous about it. And excited about it. 18 miles? That would be the longest run I’ve done plus 3 miles. Could I do it? Well of course!

But 18 miles wasn’t supposed to come this quick. It was supposed to wait a week. So I ran 8 miles on Sat., as my training scheduled called for 7. But when I reviewed my training schedule later that day, I realized that I had to make some adjustments for the ½ marathon I have coming up in May. That ½ fell on long 20+ run day. Two choices – move up the 18 miles a week or move it back. Being the overachiever that I am (and being so nervous and excited about that milestone), I chose to move it up a week. So today, I ran my 1st 18 miler. I didn’t know what to expect, especially since I had just run my 8 the day before. All I knew was that:

Yes. I was going to make myself proud. And that’s what I told my husband before I started. I’d be thrilled if I…. excuse me… WHEN I… completed it. But I would not be disappointed if my body wasn’t quite there yet. Either way. I’d be making myself proud.

Before I get into how that went (well, obviously I made it since I took the suspense out of that by titling this post “The milestone – I reached it”), let me give you an update on the last two weeks – and why I was probably more nervous about this 18 than I should have been. To begin that explanation, here’s another quote for you:

Two weeks ago called for flexibility… because I was wiped out of training for several days… thank you flu bug for hitting both my husband and I. We had quite a fun household for several days. So I couldn’t get my weekly miles in… but yet I was still scheduled to run a 15 miler that weekend. If I had just had a cold or something, I would have run through that. But the flu? No thanks. So I didn’t run. For too many days in a row. That’s my flexibility – listen to your body and let it heal! My stubbornness? I was running that 15 miles. And I did. And it went fine. But trust me, I was nervous after taking time off – what if I didn’t make it? And that nervousness spilled over into thinking about the 18 miler. Would that time off affect me at all?

To answer that question – it doesn’t appear to have affected me. This past week I slipped back into my weekly mileage. All was well. Until I reviewed my training plan that Saturday and realized that the 18 miler was coming up SOON. As in the next day.

So I prepped. I went to bed a tad earlier than I usually do on weekends. I woke up early. I watched the most motivating thing I could – something I had taped over a year ago – the U.S. Olympic Marathon Team Trials. Can you say inspiring? Especially watching the teamwork and dedication from Shalane Flanagan and Amy Cragg! I walked the dog and felt happy and peaceful that it felt so Spring-like this morning. I fueled up. I hydrated. And then I laced up my running shoes and was off. Less than 3 hours later (about a 9:30 pace until mile 17 when I slowed a bit for that last mile), I was done. DONE. I had done it! Not that it was easy. It wasn’t. Negative Nelly (you may know her. That little voice in your head that starts telling you that this is too hard, you have too far to run yet, why run so long when 15 miles is good enough, why in the world are you doing this again?) showed up. Several times. Oh yes, but I was ready for hero. I had also planned on my positive mantras, in anticipation of Negative Nelly making an appearance. And those positive mantras paid off. She was quieted just as quickly as she showed up. “You can’t do this.” “YES YOU CAN. YOU CAN DO ANYTHING. AND YOU WILL. I’VE GOT THIS.” Nothing like a good internal battle to start your Sunday morning, huh?! J

That was a challenge. And I did it. I can do anything. And I will. Next couple weeks are “easy”. (Ok, nothing is EASY, but no big long runs like that for 2 weeks). My goals for these next couple weeks? Chill out and enjoy the “shorter” miles. And continue to work on improving my nutrition so my body adequately recovers from this weekend and continues to allow me to reach my goals.

I’ll put this out there too – if anyone is looking for a slower-ish running buddy to make these miles fly by, let me know! I’m solo running right now, but would definitely enjoy fellow runners on some runs – longer runs, shorter runs, doesn’t matter to me!

See you soon! –Susie