Marathon Training Continues: 17 Miler

I officially have a new running PDR (personal distance record): 17 miles!!

By all accounts, this run shouldn’t have been that great. We did the run on Sunday evening because Matt and I were gone all weekend in PA for his friend’s wedding. On Saturday, instead of resting up, I played a couple hours of tennis with Matt, then spent the evening in heels, drinking wine, standing around, and doing some dancing. On Sunday, we were up early and then sitting in the car for 6 hours. My stomach was also a little upset from all the travel and random food. None of this should make for a great run, right? Well… wrong, apparently. Weird how that happens, isn’t it?

Kathleen and I were joined on the run by Kathleen’s future sister-in-law, Rachel, who is most likely going to join us in Richmond for the marathon. She’s an awesome runner – did cross-country all 4 years in college and has done a bunch of marathons and some ultra-marathons, up to a 100k, as well. She now has a 2 year old daughter but is still keeping up with the running, although she hasn’t done a full marathon in a year and a half. She was great company on the run – we all had a lot of fun chatting and it made the miles go by quickly! Her plan was that if this 17 miler felt good, she’d sign up for Richmond with us, so I think she’s in!

The other thing that helped make this run so great, besides the company, was the weather! We started around 4 p.m. on Sunday and it was an absolutely beautiful day. The sun was warm but the air was cool, and it was great that it got cooler as we ran, instead of the normal vice versa.

For fuel, this time I did a combination of shot bloks – the margarita shot bloks (nice and salty) and the orange shot bloks, which have a little bit of caffeine and also taste really good. It was a great mix – I took them both out of the packaging and put them in a ziplock baggie for easy access and ended up eating all of them but 3. I took one every few miles and that seemed to work well.

I also wore my Nathan HPL #020 hydration vest for water. Still loving that thing! I filled it the whole way (it holds 2 liters) and drank nearly all of it – was just finishing it as we ended the run. I also busted out my compression sleeves for the run, and they really helped with soreness/tightness, as always. I think I’ll be wearing them on all the long runs from here on out now that we’re getting into super long distances.

For the run, we did a simple out and back. We ran from Arlington down onto the Mt. Vernon trail, all the way to Old Town Alexandria, and back. It was SO pretty.

There were tons of people at Gravelly Point by the airport watching the planes come in! Nice night to hang out outside.

Blurry action shot:

As I mentioned, our turn around point at mile 8.5 ended up being exactly at the start of Old Town Alexandria in the park along the water. It was so pretty – great place to stop and stretch!

I really can’t believe how good I felt for this run. It was light years better than I felt when we did 16 miles two weeks ago! I’m sure a big part of that was the weather – so much cooler and less humid for this run.

Our last mile was uphill but we pushed through and finished just as the sun was starting to set. 17 miles – wow! Did I seriously just run that far?! And even more insane: did I actually enjoy it?!

So proud. I know we still have some serious miles to cover for the last couple months of training (um, hi, two 20 milers and one 22 miler), but this run helped me to feel a little more confident about tackling those.


  • Mile 1: 8:28 (<— downhill)
  • Mile 2: 8:42 (<— mostly downhill)
  • Mile 3: 9:08
  • Mile 4: 9:22
  • Mile 5: 9:34
  • Mile 6: 9:50
  • Mile 7: 10:05
  • Mile 8: 10:10
  • Mile 9: 10:00
  • Mile 10: 10:13
  • Mile 11: 10:23
  • Mile 12: 10:19
  • Mile 13: 9:42
  • Mile 14: 9:27
  • Mile 15: 9:40
  • Mile 16: 10:02 (<— mostly uphill)
  • Mile 17: 10:01 (<— uphill)
    • Our pace was a little all over the place but I was glad to see we sped back up again at the end. Overall, we did the 17 miles in 2 hours 45 minutes for an average pace of 9:43. Our marathon goal pace is around a 9 minute mile so this is right on track – 30 seconds to a minute slower than goal pace is what

Mary, my running coach

    , has us aiming for with training runs.


Besides obviously being really tired, I actually felt pretty good after this long run, too, both immediately and the next day! I was WAY less sore after this than I was after the Parks half marathon last weekend – a speedier pace makes me much more sore than distance, apparently. It also helped that all I had to do was eat dinner, relax, and then go to bed… that’s definitely the big benefit of doing a run at night instead of in the morning! ALSO – I did my first ice bath! It ended up being more of a cold bath than an ice bath because we didn’t have a ton of ice, but I think it really helped with immediate soreness. I’m definitely going to keep incorporating those after long runs!

I also wanted to mention that I bought a fabric velcro wrist strap for my new GPS watch, the Garmin Forerunner 910xt.

I have a really small wrist and the original band that came with the watch was way too big/awkward for me, so I was excited to find they sell a fabric strap that’s made for small wrists. Some of the reviews online say that the velcro wears out easily or that it can break off, but so far I’m really loving it – SO much more comfortable and fits way better. I’ll keep you guys updated on its durability, but as of now, I’d really recommend it if you have this watch and have small wrists!

Coming up next on the marathon training (click that link for more on my training plan & nutrition) docket is a 19 miler this coming weekend. Eek! Getting super close to that scary 2-0…

How is everyone else doing with fall race season training? Any great runs (or hard runs that you pushed through) to report?

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