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A Frozen Progression Run

I woke up on Friday feeling a cold coming on. I figured it was coming sooner than later, because Marshall had one and I’m always all up in his grill like eating his face everyday. Day 2 of a cold is much worse than day 1 and I started thinking about how hard my 20 on Saturday would feel if I was in full blown cold mode.

Then I looked at the temperature…..  6 degrees, feels like -10. It was cold. The temperature on Saturday would be much more desirable to run in (around 21), but I didn’t think I’d be feeling it as much.

My mom agreed to be on Marshall duty for 20 miles worth of time. She thought I was crazy for running outside, said she’d suffer through it on the old treadmill if she were me. Then I called Glenn and he also thought I was crazy.You don’t hear that from him much, so I was a little concerned.

His text right before I left: “Be smart out there. It is really cold. Do you have something for your face? Your water bottles are going to freeze.” My response- “I’ll be fine.” (I wasn’t taking water… it was cold enough and I could stop somewhere and grab a drink if I needed) I think he might have just been acting concerned, because I always tell him I don’t think he gets worried about when I could be in danger. Like one time I said I was going to get my run in at 3am and he had no arguments with me out running in the dark, basically in the middle of the night in some so so neighborhoods. He also always tells me I’m silly for thinking it’s dangerous to run on the shadiest parts of the monon by myself.

ANYWAY- since I do most of my weekday runs on the treadmill, I try to always do my weekend long runs outside no matter what. Glenn says putting the work in is putting the work in… and he has a point. While he was bouncing off Ironman WI, he did nearly all of his training for the Monumental Half on the treadmill. And he majorly PRed.

There are a few reasons I like to keep the long ones outside though, one being the wind- Shamrock could possibly have a strong headwind. I need to be used to that as much as I can. I’ve definitely done some serious stroller runs into a headwind, which is great practice. (that was more last fall though) I also think the mind battle is totally different on a treadmill than it is outside. In my mind, the miles seem to go by faster outside but the distance seems more daunting.

Heading out the door. Scared my fingers might fall off.

What I wore:

  • The only two pairs of long running tights I own. Both are too thin by themselves for weather under 15ish. I should probably invest in a thicker pair. I don’t like to spend money on running clothes though. Babies are like really expensive.
  • Black wife beater tank (always start my layers with one, don’t ask me why)
  • Super thick Under Armour long sleeved shirt
  • Puma Rain Jacket thing
  • Monumental Marathon toboggan hat (should have worn a hat that was tighter and didn’t let air come in the bottom… or a skimask)
  • Super thick socks
  • Two pairs of gloves (and kept my hands balled up in a loose fist inside the outer pair. Was too cold to have them out in the fingers)
How many other crazies I saw out running in those temps:

  • 2


  • One Huckleberry Hammer Gel (not my fav, but what we had on hand) & One Glass of water at mile 14. (Shout out to my dad, who was home when I needed a pee/hammer/water break- I hardly looked at him though, in and out. I knew if I engaged, I’d want to stay and I still had 6 hard miles to hammer out)

When I started the run– I was heading west, making my way toward Pennsylvania St., where I planned to run south to downtown. The wind felt brutal and my face hurt it was so cold. I really needed a skimask.

At that point, a half a mile in, I thought I might go ahead and do the 8 I was scheduled for, because it was so ridiculously cold. I turned south on Penn, the wind didn’t feel as bad heading south and I got into a little groove. At mile 2 I decided I was in for the long haul. I knew I would be so pissed if I woke up Saturday morning having to do the 20.
This run was a scheduled 14 mile progression run. Progression runs are hard. They are supposed to be hard. This is how you run faster, you work harder in training. (DUH) 14 out of 20 miles of progression sounded scary in my lacking self confidence head. The idea was to slowly make my way to marathon pace- 7:26. 
At mile 7 when I was supposed to get started on the progression, I was aimlessly wondering the streets downtown and I wasn’t ready. So I told myself just hang out where I was and wait for it, I still had a lot of work to do.
Ideally, I would speed up by 5 seconds or so every couple of miles, but instead as you’ll see below, at mile 9, I just kind of kicked up the speed to 7:30ish and hung out around there for the rest of the run. It’s not technically a progression run, Glenn says I did it wrong. I don’t care.

I’m perfectly happy with it. My watch doesn’t give me automatic pace updates so I never know the exact pace I’m running at that time. (It’s like 20 seconds behind or something) I have a pretty good internal gauge of my pace though and was a little afraid if I lingered around 7:40s, which felt pretty decent at that time- that I wouldn’t get my butt to kick it up faster as the run progressed. Afraid my legs would say no. So I thought at least I’ll be better off if I run as much of it as I can at 7:30s. 

I was feeling pretty bad at miles 16 and 18. Funny, these also happened to be my fastest miles at 7:19 and 7:15. Fear instills the pressure to work hard- I was nervous I was going to slow down and so I kicked her up a notch. Couldn’t hold on to that 7:15 through 20 though. I was more than happy with a 7:30 finish though. 
Mile 1– 8:17 
Mile 2– 7:51 
Mile 3– 7:42 
Mile 4– 7:48 
Mile 5– 7:48 
Mile 6– 7:54 
Mile 7– 7:43 
Mile 8– 7:49 
Mile 9– 7:31 
Mile 10– 7:33 
Mile 11– 7:23 
Mile 12– 7:29 
Mile 13– 7:32 
Mile 14– 7:27 
Mile 15– 7:32 
Mile 16– 7:19 
Mile 17– 7:28 
Mile 18– 7:15 
Mile 19– 7:25 
Mile 20-7:29
Usually on a 20 miler, there is some sort of note worthy side story-  

On Friday, it was the guy running toward me who looked like he just stole something. (go ahead and picture him in your mind, you can stereotype  yep that’s it, that’s what he looked like)  I was in a somewhat shady area, that I run in often and am never scared. I am always on the lookout and very aware of my surroundings. He wouldn’t have been able to catch me if he wanted to anyway.

I speed up so his run wasn’t heading straight toward me. Then he flags me down. I turn and kind of listen, but can’t really hear him. Then I think maybe he is warning me about whatever it is he is running from. So I stop my watch jog a little closer so I can hear him and he asks me if I want to buy a brand new laptop. I give him a dirty look, say, “what… no” in an annoyed voice I’m sure and off I go. For the love of God- do not stop a girl on mile 15 of a 20 mile run to ask her to buy your stolen laptop. Especially when she looks like she should probably be scared of you… running toward her. Hope he found someone to buy his laptop.

Once I got home, it took me at least 30 minutes to get back to normal. My face was frozen, I literally couldn’t talk right because I couldn’t really open my mouth all the way. And the old legs were tight. Like, I just ran a marathon tight. Some hot chocolate and oatmeal warmed me up pretty quick and then Marshall and I headed out to run some errands. 

And in case you forgot- Marshall is still really cute:

He was cracking me up in this little seat at the store. His little nose is roughed up from his cold. 

Turns out I was smart to get the 20 in Friday, because Saturday night I slept probably 4 hours total. I finished off the weekend though with an easy 8 on Saturday and 13 today. 41 miles in 3 days…  that’s a lot of running. I’m ready for my rest day tomorrow!

Anyone else get a 20 miler in this weekend? 
What’s your favorite part of the long run? (Mine is finishing)
What is the longest run you do for marathon training? (I stick to the good old 20)
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