13 miles to 15 miles to 20 miles! Oh My!

On Saturday I had an epic run and crossed a new distance milestone I wasn’t planning on crossing for another 7 days!

Here is the story –

My running blogger buddy Lauren and I met up to tackle a trail run in the Wissahickon Valley Park.

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We started by my apartment and made our way to the entrance of the park which is where the gold star is below.

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The last time I went on the Wissahickon Trail I did an 11 mile off road run with fiancé (he biked) last Fall, so it had been a while since I was out here! I didn’t realize there was so much history on this trail, I need to come back and explore these awesome sights.

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I definitely need to check out Lover’s Leap!

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And why didn’t anyone tell me about swimming in Devil’s Pool this summer when I was melting in the Philadelphia heat?! I definitely need to check this out while it’s still warm out. As we all know, apparently I will swim in anything, we know I have swam in some of the worst water there is!

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Anywho, back to our trail run! The run started off on some paved path’s taking us into the woods.

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Over the river and through the woods on a 13 miler we go!

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I love running with Lauren. We initially planned on running 6.5 miles out on the trail and then turning around to come home.

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About 4 miles in we ran right into the Valley Green Inn and had ourselves a little pit stop.

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We took a little running time out to re-fuel, fill up water and snap some pretty pictures.

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We believe there was a baptism going on upstream.

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I have plans to come back to this rock and play chess!

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  I also have plans to come back to the Valley Green Inn and eat lunch and/or dinner! The menu looked awesome and the place is just seriously so cute!

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After our little pit stop we got about a mile or so from the end of the entire Wissahickon Trail so we decided to go big or go home! 

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How sweet is this board? I love it!

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We added another 2 miles onto what we initially planned on running before our turnaround point, but it was so fun to get to the end of the trail and check out the area.

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We followed the entire orange line from start to finish along the water! It was lovely to run along the water.

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It was really fun to change up my running route from Kelly Drive to Forbidden Drive. It just sounds way cooler than Kelly Drive does, right? I was getting so sick of running along Kelly every day for the past few months, it was nice to change things up a bit! I definitely needed a change of scenery.

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The coolest part was finding The Cedars House, which is new at the end of the trail (or the beginning, depending on where you start!). It’s a little hang out or pit stop area for runners in training! They have food and coffee and nice places to sit outside and inside. They also offer yoga classes and massages too! I love that the entire concept of the house was started for runners!  

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After checking out all the fun new scenery it was time to turn around and head home. We passed all the fun new things we passed on the way towards the end of the trail and we knew we were heading in the right direction.

Eventually we passed into double digits and then we passed the half marathon milestone. Shortly after that I was able to witness a new PDR for Lauren. Her previous PDR was a little over 13.10 so the next 2 + miles were a new personal best for her! Congrats Lauren!

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Eventually the miles continued to pile on and then we reached home! We had set out to do 13 and ended up completing 15 together! Woohoo! 

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Throughout the run I was thinking about my upcoming running plans for the next few weeks and my schedule. Since I did 18 miles last week and we were already completing 15 during this run, I was starting to freak out about my 20 miler planned for next weekend that I would probably be running alone.

I tossed around the idea in my head of adding on another 5 miles to this training run and completing my 20 miler 7 days early. I talked it over with Lauren and even a few random runners along the route.

(This is my reenactment of that thought process!)

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I was having a really awesome run with Lauren. We did a killer 15 miler in 2:20 which is a 9:20 pace. I was really happy with that and I was feeling really good about it.

I made the executive decision that I would rather have an awesome 20 miler which I would mostly have run with a buddy than have to do a 20 miler alone next weekend and have it not be as good of a run.

The only question was – Am I Ready? 

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I decided to do the last 5 miles on the treadmill because it was a little later in the day for running outside and it was beginning to get hot. I also had to run inside and refill my H20 and grab some fuel.

It felt good to do the last few miles on the treadmill while watching some mindless reality show (Jerseyliscious anyone?). Before I knew it, my 5 miles were completed and I had successfully ran 20 miles!

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It was crazy how fast I went mentally from doing a step back week and ‘only’ having 13 miles on the agenda to stepping it up to 15 miles to deciding to go big or go home and complete my first 20 miler!

I was at the point that since i was at 15, it was hard NOT to finish the last 5 and hit my 20 miler a little early because it was such a good run with a buddy!

I have another 20 miler planned in the next few weeks so I wasn’t worrying about peaking too early. It felt amazing to reach that new distance, it just makes me feel that much closer to the marathon goal.

Post 20 miler I enjoyed my standard ice  bath with a warm towel and macaroni and cheese. It’s a winning combination!

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And then I ate cake!

Because if a 20 mile run doesn’t call for a celebration, I don’t know what does!

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Anyone else out there eat cake after reaching new PDR milestones?

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What is everyone’s thoughts on me hitting my 20 miler a week early? I know the decision was made a little quickly but I would love to hear everyone’s opinions!

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Cheers to 20 miles! Woohoo!!!

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14 Comments

  • Reply Becky August 30, 2010 at 11:23 am

    You are a machine.

    I miss you.

    20 miles is possible. You've inspired to believe that. Now it's my turn.

  • Reply Kelly R August 30, 2010 at 11:27 am

    Wow, 20 miles! That is awesome. I'm going to be training for a 5K this fall, but am way nervous. Do you have any helpful hints for a non-runner to start running?

  • Reply Jen August 30, 2010 at 11:29 am

    You are so awesome! And speedy. Congrats on doing 20 miles early! And I usually celebrate with brownies, not cake 😉

    I think you'll be fine since you have another 20 planned. My marathon isn't til 10/30 and I did a 20 mi trail race at the beginning of August and an 18 miler this past weekend. Just add in some step down weeks, and you'll be good to go.

  • Reply Ashley August 30, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    Great job on your PDR!! Who knows, if Saturday long run is going well maybe I'll do the same this weekend! My goal is at least 15! Maybe I can recruit Theodora to run with me since Bo and Meghann will be ahead of me! 🙂

  • Reply Lauren August 30, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    As always I had a blast running with you! I'm happy we both set PDR's!

  • Reply Nichole August 30, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    You have superhuman power. 15 miles at 9:20?! Holy crap, that's amazing.

    And the ice bath pic, I mean that's too much, love it.

    The trail seemed SO beautiful, wow that's gorgeous.

  • Reply Ashley August 30, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    awww congrats! We have our 20 miler next week and I haven't ran that far yet so i'm a little nervous! that is so cool that you were able to do it early, it takes the dread out of it because you weren't expecting it! Great job and the cake looked yummy..although I have yet to try an ice bath.

  • Reply kristastes August 30, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    Congrats girl that's awesome!! I told Lauren I want to join you guys on a run soon 🙂

  • Reply Amber (Girl with the red hair) August 30, 2010 at 6:45 pm

    NICE job! I have 20 miles on deck this weekend coming up, which I will sadly be doing alone, and this post was super inspiring to me!

  • Reply Evie Clercx August 30, 2010 at 9:36 pm

    I think that is the absolute best way to handle that. You would have been stressing about it all week this week, and now it's done and you can just relax. Good job!

  • Reply kilax August 31, 2010 at 12:47 am

    Woo hoo! I think it is awesome you did the 20! If you are ready, you're ready!

    That path looks lovely – like something I would love to run on.

    Ha ha. I usually wrap a towel around myself during my ice baths too 🙂

  • Reply ladypurpl September 1, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    You are truly amazing! That trail looked like so much fun and glad you were able to share the experience with your friend Lauren. You both should be so proud!
    Continue to train smart and safe! Cake is an awesome reward for burning all those calories. Like they say, "Eat Cake".

  • Reply Kelly September 2, 2010 at 7:03 pm

    I love running along Forbidden Drive but have never heard of the Cedars House! I have to go look for it now- which end is it at?

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