Ask A Marathon Mommy: Sweet Sixteen

Yesterday was a big day – my group’s 16 mile training run! It was really a beautiful run. Most of it was through a lovely state park, and we got to watch the sun rise as we ran across the pier.
I must admit, I was quite intimidated at the thought of a 16 mile run. After all, the half marathon two weeks ago was the longest distance I’d run yet, and I really struggled with the last couple of miles. How could I possibly add on another 3 miles? But much to my surprise, yesterday’s run was significantly easier (relatively speaking) than the 13.1. Here’s why:
Cooler Weather: It was actually quite cool outside (for Florida, anyway) when we began our run yesterday. Many of us even started out in sweatshirts or long-sleeve shirts. There was a cool breeze for most of the morning, and much of our run was through a shaded, tree-lined park. It only really began to get warm and sunny during the last couple of miles. In comparison, while the weather was deceptively mild at the beginning of the half marathon, it quickly crept up into the 80’s, and we ran on city streets with little or no shade. Even the veteran runners in my group struggled in that heat and blazing sun.
Slower Pace: My group trains at a nice, easy 13 minute/mile pace. Yes, sometimes it feels a bit slow, especially during the shorter runs. But believe me, it’s the perfect pace for a long training run. In comparison, my average pace during the half marathon was 11:53. Still relatively slow, but even that extra minute made a world of difference, especially when it came time for post-race recovery.
Better Socks: Around mile 5 of the half marathon, I began to develop blisters on the backs of my heels. By the end of the race, both heels were bleeding and I was in terrible pain. Unfortunately, I didn’t take my own advice about wearing the proper socks. My socks slid down my foot, and my sneakers were rubbing directly onto my heels. Ouch! You can bet that I remedied that problem quickly. I found these (in pink, of course), and they seemed to do the trick yesterday. No blisters whatsoever.
With these three conditions improved, I felt noticeably better at the end of the run. Tired, sore, some general aches and pains. But this time no one looked at me and asked if I needed a medic, which DID happen after the half marathon. It wasn’t a perfect run, though. I still have a couple of issues to address before my 18 mile run in two weeks.
Sliding Feet: Despite my fabulous new socks, my feet are still sliding forward a bit in my shoes as I run. My running friends recommend Bodyglide or a similar anti-chafing product. If this doesn’t work, I may need to look into getting inserts or orthotics for my running shoes.
Chafing: Speaking of chafing…ouch! Inner thighs, underarms, under the bra…let’s just say I have some shopping to do before my next long run.
I’ll keep you posted, friends. Time to rest and rehydrate.

Sharon is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with a background in mental health, substance abuse, and child welfare.

“I tried my hand at being a work at home mom, but in 2009 I decided that being a stay at home mom is what works best for me and my family, at least for now. As my kids like to say, I’m “The Boss” of the family, which includes my husband of 9 years, two daughters (ages 4 and 6), and a giant goldfish named Princess Leia. My girls are beautiful and curious and wild and exhausting, and life is never, ever dull! I love reading, traveling, trying new restaurants, and shopping for bargains. I’m also training to run my first marathon in February 2013.”

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