Longest Run Since my 1st marathon: A 21 mile journey

For runners, Monday's are usually set aside for the ultimate humble-brag: MedalMonday. I've done quite a few of those. Today is also Motivation Monday. I want to talk about all the things that went wrong on yesterday's run. It's not a complaint track,.... or a woe is me post. This is a testament to perseverance. Never give up no matter the circumstances. It might not look pretty, but get it done.
     The schedule in my training plan for the Publix Atlanta marathon in March called for a 21 mile run. So, I hook up with my Black Men Run group for a Sunday run along the Falls of Neuse trail which has plenty of room for long runs. It's a new-to-me start point in the trail so I throw on the GPS and ride out. I get a Mike from the house and realize GPS stopped working. It's an ongoing issue with my phone.
     So, I click on the turn by turn directions list and keep it moving. I finally get there to realize that I've left two water bottles at home filled with Nuun, my preferred hydration.
       It's too late to turn back so I grab a backup water bottle out of the trunk and one of my BMR guys gives me some water, I drop in a Nuun tab and get ready to ride out. The backup water bottle is clean, but it leaks. It's 30 degrees this morning,... so that'll be a problem down the road.
     After a selfie or two, I'm flustered. I double check everything and get my headphones set. I don't want anymore problems. The crew gets a head start. I try to catch up. My stupid little fanny pack thing -that I never wear- isn't cooperating so I stop to adjust. My hands are ice cold. I expect to be cold on a morning like this. I'm used to it. I grew up in Connecticut. But not like this. I check my gloves and they're soaked. That's why I'm cold. Keep it moving. The sun will be up soon. (Of my fingers will fall off)
      Mile 3, I've caught and passed most of the run group. After 4 miles I'm on my own. Me and my tunes. Skip to my 8 or nine. I'm feeling pretty good despite it all. Then my music skips back to the beginning of the song for no reason.
     That's a tell tale sign of a short in wireless headphones. It's a design flaw I've noticed in several models that I have reviewed. If the controls are on the cord instead of the earbud you're going to have this problem. The sweat from my hat and my ear drip on the controls for an hour destroying them from the inside.
    My hands are too cold to bother. So, now it's just me and the trail. The deer, the squirrels,.. the sound of kids playing soccer. The sound of bicycles coming and not calling out 'on your left.' I love running without music sometimes.
    So, I make it to the halfway point and it's perfect. If you know the area, from Anderson Point to the WRAL soccer field is exactly 10.5 miles. This gives me a place to fill up my busted water bottle and water the flowers - if you know what I mean.
     The hydration and fuel plan worked out well too. I went through 4 humagel packs- 1 every 5 miles. Nuun worked as usual. No cramps no other issues.
     So, now I'm mentally exhausted. I'm 2 miles from my house. I could go home and make my wife take me back to my car. But I finish it. The gloves eventually came off. Yes, I walked a little bit. But running is very much a mental sport. If you can remain focused for the whole race, you've lost.  The second half was supposed to be faster than the first. It almost was.
     Around mile 16 the battery on my Garmin died. I knew it was coming. I hadn't charged it the night before and only had one power bar. So,... making it to mile 16 was a tiny miracle. I ran with NikePlus as a backup,... but as you may all know. Nike GPS rarely agrees with Garmin.
     Every run can't be perfect. There's always an obstacle to overcome... but we get over it and move on.
    This was my first run longer than 16 miles in at least 10 months and I was still on track to beat my first marathon time. See you out there next time.


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