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December 29th, 2014:

Marathon Training Week 15 Recap: The 20-Mile Run

0015_1 by Andreas Cappell from Flickr

0015_1 by Andreas Cappell from Flickr

About a month ago, I started getting chest pains after my long runs. A few weeks ago, my cardiologist told me that I have 2 holes in my heart. These holes may or may not be related to my pain. My doctor needs to refer me to a surgeon who can further evaluate my situation and determine whether the holes in my heart should be patched. For the time being my doctor said I’m allowed to run as long as I can handle the pain and I don’t have a stroke.

With his blessing (sort of), I’m back to running, and thank goodness for that because last week had my longest run of my training cycle – 20 miles. I did not want to walk that. Here’s how this week of training went.

Monday: Rest Day.

Tuesday: I had my first run in the real world since beginning to deal with my health issues. I ran 5 miles and it felt so awkward to run on pavement again. I felt like a baby deer just learning to walk, though it got better as I focused on my running posture. I had a touch of chest pain during mile 1. I worried it might continue throughout the run, but it seemed to settle down by the end of mile 2. I felt like I was running more slowly than before my running hiatus but I also felt like I could easily increase my mileage.

Black Cherry GU Chomps

Black Cherry GU Chomps

Wednesday: I ran 10.5 miles – 2 laps around Tempe Town Lake. I wanted to get used to this route because I planned to run 4 laps for my 20-mile run on Saturday. I had a bit of chest pain during miles 1-2 and 8-10 but it wasn’t bad enough to make me stop. I also had some pain in my left leg during the second lap. I could definitely tell I was slowing down by the end. I wasn’t sure how I was going to manage 20 miles on Saturday.

I also discovered my new favorite flavor of GU Chomps: black cherry. These things are caffeinated candy. They’re an awesome pick-me-up.

Thursday: I ran 5 miles while listening to the Dr. Drew Podcast with guest lawyer-turned-comedian Paul Mecurio. I laughed out loud several times during my run. It was a good run but I had some calf pain because I hadn’t been as diligent about my post-run stretching earlier in the week.

Friday: Rest Day.

Saturday: I was reminded that I don’t like running in the cold. I ran 20.5 miles – 4 laps around Tempe Town Lake – starting at 7:45 am on Saturday. It was 35 degrees when I started, and I was dressed in shorts, shirt, hoodie because I knew it would get warmer by the end. One of the upsides of running laps around the lake is I get to stop at my car every lap to get water and a snack if I need it.

My sweatshirt came off after first lap. It was still chilly in the shade but otherwise just a bit cold. During Lap 3, I refueled a bit with some strawberry GU Chomps and an apple pie Larabar. I kept myself entertained with an episode of the Dr. Drew Podcast during lap one and listened to my race day playlist the rest of the time. I finished my 20 miles in about 3.5 hours. I had some calf and quad pain in both legs by the end. It was definitely an act of masochism, but the pain was manageable.

I think there were some other runners who were training for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon and running laps around the lake. Every time we passed, we’d smile and wave. It was nice to know I wasn’t the only one torturing themselves that day.

Sunday: Rest Day. I was supposed to cross train today, but I’m freakishly tired. I’ll hit the elliptical at the gym tomorrow.

Weekly Totals:
Running: 41 miles