The RunTex 20 miler is race number 5 in the Austin Distance Challenge. It was also Sandra's and my first 20 mile run. It was absolutely frigid on Sunday morning, 20 degrees and the weather said calm wind, but I could feel a little breeze at times.
This was by far the coldest weather I have ever attempted to run in! I was fairly comfortable in my compression socks, a pair of regular tights and a pair of fleece lined thicker tights over them, a long sleeved wool base layer, my warmest long sleeved fleece lined bike jersey and a fleece jacket over that, light gloves, a balaclava, a hat over that and a scarf. I hoped having a couple of layers over my face and mouth would warm up the air going into my lungs and keep my breathing working well. I hoped to be able to take off the fleece jacket after a few miles. I was only really cold for the first couple of miles but I never got hot and I didn't take off my fleece jacket until mile 13, so I guess I was dressed just about perfect for the conditions (and considering I have zero cold tolerance).
The first 10 miles went by quickly, Sandra and I were feeling good, chatting, noticing livestock and wildlife, and frozen ponds along the way. We saw Kristen and Kendra cowbelling around mile 2 and again a few miles later, of course it was awesome to see them! Both my breathing and my stomach were ok, not great but not terrible either. We made a pit stop at the mile 10 rest stop and I noticed my legs really didn't want to get going again after the stop. Not cool but I figured it would just take a minute to get them going again. Over the next 3 miles they just started to hurt more and more, very not cool because my legs haven't hurt like that in a long time, maybe since Longhorn 2008. They didn't hurt on our 16 mile runs, our 18 mile run, any of my half marathons, so why did they hurt today?? I was starting to think it was going to be a long last 7 miles. We saw Kristen and Kendra again just before mile 13 and we stopped at that rest stop for a few minutes.
At this point, Sandra was obviously feeling great and I was hurting, but she told me over and over that she didn't mind taking the last few miles slow "it's just a training run", she reminded me to drink, asked if I needed to stretch, told jokes, pointed out livestock, and everything else she could do to just keep me going. She talked me into a stretching break at mile 17, but honestly I think the most painful part of the run was getting moving again after that break, oh well, it was worth a try. I knew we would see Kristen and Kendra again between mile 18 and 19 and I just tried to focus on getting to them, since at that point I would have less than 2 miles to go. We saw them at 18.7, they ran/walked with us for a little while then we just had 1.2 miles to go. Finally we made it to the finish line! We ended up finishing in about 4:25, but about 15 minutes of that was pit stops and the stretching break.
I finished the run, and that was really my only goal, but man this one hurt! I don't know why my legs hurt today when they haven't in a long long time. I guess it just wasn't a great running day for me. Hopefully I got my tough run out of the way and the marathon will go well for me now.
Super Huge THANK YOU to Kristen and Kendra for coming out and cowbelling for us today, and especially to Sandra for everything today! You guys seriously helped pull me through today and I really appreciate it!!