6 + 14 = 20 (miles)

9 04 2012

I did it! I ran my longest run of my training plan-  20 stinkin’ miles!! After struggling with a severe lack of motivation, I had exactly the kind of run I needed on Saturday to help me get excited about my upcoming marathon.

Early last week, I emailed my fellow Tampa bloggers asking them what their training plans called for this weekend. I knew I had 20 on my schedule, and there was NO WAY I could do it alone.

Meghann had 14 planned, and said she was going to head over to Clearwater at 7am Saturday to run the Iron Girl half marathon course. (Side note: Amy recommended that I go spectate a race asap for some motivation, so I actually signed up to volunteer at the Iron Girl in two weeks! Thanks for the suggestion Amy!)

What a great idea! No need to map a course, and we’d be running by the beach! SCORE! The only problem was, how was I going to get in my extra 6 miles? Would I run them after, as the Florida heat settled in, or would I get up at the crack of dawn and run them before meeting up with Meghann? I decided to run them beforehand, so we could go out to brunch afterwards. Brunch is definitely a motivator for me!

So, my alarm went off at 5am on Saturday morning, and I headed over to the gym to get in my 6 miles on the treadmill. I thought about running them in Clearwater, but running in the dark in an unfamiliar place didn’t seem like a good idea. Thankfully, these machines had TVs, so I tuned in to TV Land (possibly the only channel without infomercials on at that hour) and caught half an episode of Home Improvement and an episode of Three’s Company.  I don’t know if I had ever actually watched an episode of Three’s Company before then, but it was pretty entertaining (and super cheesy). It got me through my 6 miles just fine 🙂

Not too bad 🙂 I headed back to my apartment, quickly ate a piece of toast with peanut butter and banana, grabbed my gear and drove toward Clearwater (which is a good 40 minutes away). As I arrived at our meeting spot, I  had a smile on my face. I could smell the salt air, and I was surrounded by boats and water. Being that close to the water makes me SO HAPPY! On top of that, it was BEAUTIFUL running weather. It was cool, in the mid 60s. I had a feeling it would be a good day.

The bay at dawn is stunning. 🙂 See the moon?

Meghann arrived, and we got this running party started. She pointed out the big bridge, and told me we’d be going over that on our way back to our cars. Um. Great. I hope my legs hold up! She also told me there were a few more Florida hills (aka bridges) that we’d go over on this route. I was hoping that they would not be as painful as the hills in San Antonio.

Thankfully, my legs didn’t feel like I had already run 6 miles and then immediately sat in a car for 40 minutes. We ran through a GORGEOUS neighborhood in Clearwater and I spent much of that part of the run gawking at the enormous homes! We had to stop a few times to check our directions, but we finally made it to our first bridge at about mile 6 (I think?). I Gu’d up, and we tackled the bridge together!

Bridge number one- dominated! We posed for a picture, and took a few more shots of the beautiful views.

I ❤ the water.

When we made it to the other side, we basically had flat road until our next bridge at mile 11/12ish. I was still feeling good, and each time I looked down at my watch, I thought, “Wow, I did 6 + (whatever mile we were at). I think I’m going to make it through these 20 miles!”  We plowed through those next miles and the 2nd bridge. With one mile left to go, we got to the base of bridge number three.

Ok, we can do it. Only one mile left.

We posed for a picture to show we were READY to take on this bridge:

When it was all said and done, that last bridge wasn’t as bad as it looked! We did it!

14 + 6 = 20!! 20 miles DONE! BAM!

That’s the face of one happy runner 😉 I had sort of decided that I would see how my long run went this weekend, and then decide whether I wanted to drop down to the half marathon. With these 20 miles under my belt, I feel much better about my upcoming race than I did last weekend. I know they weren’t 20 consecutive miles, but hey, I still count it as a win in my book!

Thanks for being my running buddy Meghann!!

And, our splits weren’t too bad either!

Now, it’s brunch time!!!

Meghann suggested that we hit up Wildflower Cafe, and when I peeped at the menu earlier in the week, I had been dreaming about brunch all week long. Yes, food is a motivator for me. I’m sure it contributed to my attitude on this run 🙂 I guess I should start planning my brunch in Nashville then?

I started with an iced cafe mocha, and boy was it a treat!

mmm yummy!!

I was eyeing the french toast special, but opted to go for the deep dish asparagus and leek quiche. Meghann actually got the special; check out her recap for pictures. She gave me a bite and it was TASTY!

Meghann recommended we order some biscuits too, and I was not about to turn down some fresh baked goods.

Everything was DEEEEEEELICIOUS! The quiche hit the spot, and the biscuits- oh the biscuits! With their fresh honey butter and strawberry jam (which I’m pretty sure was homemade), these babies were PERFECT! I demolished my plate of food:

I was kind of sad when it was all gone; there’s no Wildflower in Tampa. 😦 I guess I’ll just have to go back again! (Maybe after my volunteer gig at Iron Girl is done?!!)

Meghann and I parted ways, and I knew what I was going to do next:

Ahhh….Perfect way to relax after a long run 🙂 I’m totally digging living in Florida right now!

PS- I updated my “About Steph” page, so check it out!

Question of the day: What was your big success this weekend? Don’t hold back! Feel free to brag!!