This past Sunday was my longest Chicago Marathon training long run to date. And my first official run past the half marathon mark. For me it was very special because 13.1 had been the longest I have ever run in my 2 year running career and I surpassed that mark. Mentally it made me feel like I reached a very important benchmark. I am finally getting closer to being a Marathoner!
As per usual, I spent the week leading up to the run researching the best trail in the area for this run. I selected the Perkiomen Trail, took the 25 minute motorcycle ride to the trail and went 8 miles out and back.
The run was a very interesting one. I say that because it wasn’t just my normal out and back run. There were a few stops along the way and it was a real adventure. It started with getting to the 8 mile mark. I didn’t exactly map out the trail but based on my research it looked like there would be no issue. However unfortunately the trail ended around mile 7 and I still had a mile left to go. So I got to the end of the trail and just kept going. Ended up in some random suburban neighborhood for a mile.
I checked my GPS, saw 8.1 miles and decided it was time to turn around. As I got back to the start of the trail I noticed a convenience store and a local brewery. I knew I’d make a convenience store stop to refuel. I had 1 bottle of water in my vest and that had already been finished. So I made a quick stop and re-fueled my electrolytes thanks to Gatorade.
However as I also mentioned, I noticed a brewery. The Appalachian Brewing Company to be specific. As my twitter bio states; “I run for my love of Craft Beer”. If it were up to me I would quit my day job and travel the world visiting craft breweries. Unfortunately bills need to be paid. So the second best option is visiting all of the local ones. This is a brewery I had never heard of before so I knew this was an opportunity not to be missed. I paused the GPS, took a detour and stopped in. I asked for one of their lighter beers to not weigh me down for the next 8 miles. Ended up having a Wheat beer that was absolutely amazing. Paid my tab and got back on my way. I’d do it all over again in a heart beat.
I got back on the trail and headed for home. A few miles in and I could tell I was in need of water again. I remembered passing a water fountain at some point so I knew I would get some relief soon. About 4 and a half miles into the 2nd 8 miler I found it. Luckily they had a bathroom there as well. I paused the GPS once more and re-fueled.
However about another mile and a half in I felt like I needed a little more water. The trail runs behind a local town road with business. One business had an old coke vending machine, so I stopped real quick only to find this probably hasn’t been working since the 1990’s. A half mile later I came across a park. I slowed down my pace and looked around for another water fountain, but nothing. Then a mile later found another vending machine, and this one worked! I had a dollar on me, put it in and pressed the button for the water. I heard some noises, the digital display read “Vending”…..but nothing! The machine ate my dollar! I decided water just wasn’t happening and continued on.
A few miles later and here I was finishing up my first run beyond the half marathon distance. I did it! And overall felt really good. With everything that took place on the run, it was by far a memorable one. Sure my legs are sore and I was beat, but I accomplished my goal. So here I am, finally over the half marathon hump. This week was an amazing Marathon training week and with less than 2 months away from Chicago, my sites are locked in to become a first time Marathon runner!