On Top of the World

TODAY I RAN 18 MILES – THE LONGEST DISTANCE I HAVE EVER RUN! I still can’t believe I ran the whole thing, I feel like I am on top of the WORLD
(And the top of the world hurts – a lot).
From the moment I woke up this morning and looked out the window (wind, rain, and gray skies too!), I thought about what a great run I was going to have. After all, that type of thinking was exactly what carried me to a PR in the Emerald City Half with Duane last year, and I didn’t think I had tried to be that positive since then. I knew negative thoughts were lurking in the back of my head, but I kept them back there. I didn’t even wait to hear what they had to say. Every single thought was positive – and that, my friends, was a tough way to start the morning!
I ran the first 10 with my Pace Group:
1          12:57  
2          12:55  
3          13:06  
4          13:02  
5          13:46  
6          11:55   (I had to use the porta-potty and SPRINT back to the group – woo!)
7          13:04  
8          13:18  
9          13:07  
10        13:19  
For most of my runners, it was the farthest they had ever run. Duane was able to join us for the first 2 miles out, which was awesome! It was great to have him back running with us, and I am hoping he is on the road to recovery. I am so impressed with my (yes, you are mine! HAHA!) runners that they ran 10 miles – it was amazing! I have never been more proud of them. I love hearing things like, “I remember when I couldn’t run 2 miles,” and “I remember when this was hard,” and “I can’t believe I am running this far.” I love hearing these things because I hear myself, and I remember how far we have all come, and I remember how we can all do whatever we set our minds to. 

WAY TO GO LUCKY 13’S!! You guys are amazing. I’ve watched you grow so much since December and there is no doubt in my mind you are all going to not only finish, but ROCK the Cap City Half!! The first 10 miles went by pretty quickly and easily for me – Robert kept us going for the final 3 with the Rocky theme song, which was just what we needed. No one can sing it like him in his cheerful British accent! Puts a smile on my face each time I think about it still!

Still no negative thoughts. If I wanted to complain, I told someone else something positive instead. I felt a pain or was tired, I told someone else how great they were doing. Drizzling again? At least it wasn’t snowing. Chocolate Gu, again? Nothing sweeter in my book. 

I brought the 13’s back and rested for a minute. Wendy told me she was not running the next 8 due to what could be a stress fracture in her foot. I am really hoping it is not and she gets better soon too. She asked me if I was still going back out for 8 and I wanted to say no with all of my heart, but I said yes with a smile on my face. Jeff (our Head Coach) hooked me up with GPS in case something happened to me, he would know where I was, and he gave me some advice for running long by myself. I tried not to let the worry show on my face. I ran down the hill – with my sister driving beside me – and off I went. Into the unknown alone. I was determined. I started this day with positive thoughts and I wasn’t going to let a negative one ruin my run.
I started talking to myself about mile 14 or so. Things like, “You got this,” “If Terry can run 75 marathons in 75 days you can do this,” “It’s really only one foot in front of the other,” “You rock,” “Be somebody’s hero,” “You’re the bomb (.com),” “You’re doing it, you really are,” and of course, Rocky!
I made it to the turnaround at Henderson, grabbed some water (it was still out – thanks Jeff!!) and turned around. I got a text from Wendy and Jeff that reminded me I really wasn’t alone. I was on the downhill slide. I kept talking to myself. It kept working. I kept running. People passed me back and forth on the trail and I made it a point to smile and wave and say something to each one. One guy on a bike asked me what MIT was and I think he was sick of me talking about it (he rode away while I kept rambling, he wanted a quick answer), but I kept telling him about it long after he was gone. For almost another mile in fact. I thought about the Lucky 13’s AND ALL OF MY RUNNING BUDDIES! I thought about how they would be asking me how it went and how I didn’t want to let them down. I kept running. I stopped briefly to get a pebble out of my shoe and then I kept running. I remember that pebble was the Devil.
I started to feel a bit dizzy at Mile 16 and I felt my breathing quicken. I told myself not to panic because I had done this before. That seemed to help. And that’s when I saw her – my MOTHER running towards me on the trail. She had a banana. It was marvelous. I think I swallowed it whole. It was gigantic and I thought, “Just eat half since you have never eaten a banana while running before,” but I inhaled it ALL. Thankfully, my stomach didn’t hate me for it. My body hated me, though. My mom was talking to me. I don’t remember what she was saying. Something about puppies (mine) and Chrissy (THE original running partner) and Wendy and Duane and the weather (the sun was peeking from behind the clouds). I needed to hear it, even though I don’t remember it. My mind wanted to run faster, but my legs protested. My mother pulled out ahead of me at Antrim Lake and I followed her. As long as I could see her, I could keep running. I never let her our of my site for one second.
We finished running together. It was the longest my mom had ever run – 5 miles! She said, “You’re the one that got me out here in the first place.” Then she said, “I’m sure you’re swearing me out in your head.” I wasn’t, but it struck me as funny. She never doubted I could do it. I wouldn’t have made it without her. Thank you, Mom. 
The final 8 miles:
11        13:24  
12        13:42  
13        13:40  
14        14:01  
15        14:32  
16        14:28  
17        15:23  
18        15:24  
I remember my mom gave me water and cookies. I think they were good, but I’m not sure. I drove home in a daze.
I called Wendy and recounted the miles. She told me about breakfast. That was funny too. Wendy said to me, “I am so proud of you. I think you kind of needed to do this on your own to realize just how strong and capable you are. You are amazing – never forget that!”
Wendy, I think you’re right!
Duane said, “Good Job!!! Now wait a minute, I know you always think that something is wrong with you when people say that, however, 18 miles is terrific! See you just have to have a little faith in yourself, we do.”
[Insert: When people on the trails say “Good Job!” I always assume it is because I probably look like I am about to keel over!]
And Duane, thanks for reminding me what a little faith from myself can do. 
Until the next mile maker,


  1. Congratulations Sara!! That is so awesome!! You are going to ROCK your marathon!!

  2. I assume when people say good job that it is because I look like I’m dying. Probably because I usually feel like I’m dying!

    You rocked it today!

  3. Anonymous says

    What a beautiful story and I felt honored to run with you! And I am happy that I could help you if only with a little chatter, food and water. The chatter was to try and make your mind travel else where. Proud of you! And yes, I knew you could do it! And now you know it too.

    ~ Mom

  4. You rock, Sara!!! You amaze me–you are going to ROCK Pittsburgh!!!

  5. Christina says

    GREAT JOB, SARA!!! Holy cannoli, 18 miles!!! I am so proud of you. You rock hardcore, lady! Solo runs are the best, in my opinion. You did FANTASTIC! I loved reading your recap!

  6. Great job! There is no better feeling than comnquering a distance that you used to think was impossible, don;t you think? Way to go 🙂

  7. Great job on your run!!

  8. That is so awesome!!

  9. HOORAY SARA!!! 18 miles is amazing and so cool your mom came out.

  10. TutuRunner says

    woo hoo! way to go! hope you’re fully recovered by now. =)

  11. That is so awesome!!

  12. Great job on your run!!

  13. I assume when people say good job that it is because I look like I’m dying. Probably because I usually feel like I’m dying!

    You rocked it today!

  14. TutuRunner says

    woo hoo! way to go! hope you’re fully recovered by now. =)

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