18 Miles – Reaching New Distances

Yesterday morning I got up and ran 18 hardcore miles along and around Kelly Drive. I still can’t believe I am already up to 18 miles! It feels like just yesterday I was running my first half marathon – Time sure has flown by since that race!

I learned so much fun my first half marathon and I have learned so much from every race since, but its still so hard to prepare for these new distances I must face while training for my first marathon!

Even with all my previous training runs, its so hard to prepare for my long training runs – mentally, emotionally and physically. This week 18 miles seemed so much longer than the 16 miles I did the week before in Chicago. I know the 2 mile gradual increase is expected, but it just seemed like so much more!

At the same time 18 miles is so much closer to 26.2 than 16 miles is, at least in my head. I mean after running 18 miles in a marathon I feel much more confident about running 8.2 more than if I had run 16 and having another 10.2 miles to run. Does that make sense?

The run today went well for the most part. I met Lauren and Eric down by the Art Museum and I ended up running about 9 miles with them before we parted ways and I had to run the rest myself. It was awesome to run with them for half of my run, they helped keep me at an good pace for most of the time, and it was so much fun to chat!

Around mile 14 my legs started to feel so tired and tight. The same things happened last week. I am not sure if its the new distances, or all the marathon training in general, but its hard to push through when your legs are sore and you know you have miles left to go!

I was so excited when I saw Fiancé running down the path towards me to help me run the last few miles! I really needed him at this point so it was amazing to have his support.

I ran the 18 miles in a little over 3 hours. Most of the first 13 miles with Lauren and Eric were at about a 9:15 – 9:45 min/mile and then the last 5 miles were a little slower. I am happy with my time and am really committing to doing more speed work and weights during the week to improve my leg strength and time.

Any other suggestions with how to improve?


Another exciting part about this run was that I tried out a new product that was sent to me for review. My friend Ellen, who represents Nathan Sports products, sent me a bunch of products to review as part of my marathon training!

With my 18 miler I decided to bust out the Nathan Speed 2R Auto Cant. I always see runners out with these hydration belts and have always wanted to try one out for myself.

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I really liked the way that this belt fit me. The flasks are built into the pak at an angle so they are easy to remove and put back in, but are also never in the way of your arm swing.

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I also enjoyed the front pocket area. I put my iPod and keys in this area while running.

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It had a 2 separate areas to hold items snugly in place by Velcro.

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The entire belt is held in place by Velcro so you can fasten it in place on your body where ever feels most comfortable.

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I filled the flasks (I think its funny that these babies are called flasks! Haha!) with Zym tablets to give me a little electrolyte fuel while running. I have found myself craving something other than water while running so I thought this would be a good fix!

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I really enjoyed running with this belt. It was comfortable, fit me great, and it was awesome to have some additional fuel with me on this long run -  I needed it! 

Aside from this belt, I also had my CamelBak on me too, because I need to carry water with me on my runs, its one of my things. I felt like a camel running with all these fluids!

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What do you use for fueling when you run?

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  • Reply Becky August 22, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    Very impressive, my friend! Love the shirt…I ended up with the same exact one. Great minds think alike! I'm really nervous for when I have to run that distance.

  • Reply Brandi August 22, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    I love the tank top. Where is it from?

  • Reply Lizzy August 22, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    I usually carry the Nathan hand held water bottle because the belt usually rides up on me… but it would be easier! Good job on your long run! And this is my third training for a marathon and I always start to struggle after 16 miles. I think its natural to get fatigued after running for 2.5-3+ hours!

  • Reply Emily @ The Front Burner August 22, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    Love the shirt. 🙂

  • Reply Ashley August 22, 2010 at 4:04 pm

    Great job!! I know what you mean about the mental part of increasing distance. I ran 16 this week and next week is 18..i'm a little nervous! It is such a great feeling though when you finish and realize how far you just ran (and that you are still standing after). I am glad that you liked the water bottles..i have been making my hubs carry ours 🙂

  • Reply linds August 22, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    hey, i am a new reader. I am from philly too and currently training forthe philly marathon. way to go on your first 18 miles !!

  • Reply Meghann August 22, 2010 at 8:49 pm

    You bought the top! I looked for it at my target and they were sold out. Grrr…

    Oh yeah – way to kill 18 miles!! 🙂

  • Reply lpskins August 22, 2010 at 10:14 pm

    congrats dude. they say if you can do 20 you can do a marathon. almost there! how cool that you got hooked up with products.

  • Reply Melissa Cari @ Miles for Markets August 23, 2010 at 8:00 am

    Ahhh you did it! Congrats Leslie! Reading this made me jealous that I'm only at 12 this Friday!

  • Reply ladypurpl August 23, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    Leslie, so proud of you! Glad that fiance is helping you out with those last few miles of running. Just remember to train smart and safe. I'm pulling for you all the way!

  • Reply kilax August 23, 2010 at 6:23 pm

    I think as we increase our mileage, our legs just get tired and ask "what are you going to me?" in those last few miles! At least, that is what I am telling myself. I ran 16 on Sat (at a much slower pace) and had that tired leg sensation at 15.

    Congrats on your awesome pace!

  • Reply Evie Clercx August 25, 2010 at 5:35 pm

    I love my Nathan fuel belt. It has saved me on my long runs. I especially love how snug the velcro can get around my waist. I hate when things jiggle, so this is perfect for me. Good job on the 18!

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