Eastern States 20 Miler Recap

Eastern States 20 Miler Bib  happyfitmama.com

Going into Eastern States 20 Miler, I had one thing on my mind – What’s going on with my right knee?

Let me back track a bit. Thursday morning, I was doing what was supposed to be an easy 10 mile run. Around mile 6, my knee started hurting. No warning what so ever. Of course, in typical runner fashion, I pretended I didn’t feel anything. After about another 2 miles with the same pain that wasn’t going away, I decided that I should probably stop running. I did the usual routine – ice, stretch, etc afterwards in hopes that it was nothing. I also decided to take Friday and Saturday off from running to really let it rest.

Race day came on Sunday. My knee was feeling OK, no pain, just an occasional ache here and there. Sarah taped my knee up and we took off for the race. I forgot about my knee because it felt good.

I wasn’t really sure how I was going to run. Do I treat it as a training run that I just paid for or do I keep it long run pace for the first 10 and then drop down to goal marathon pace for the last 10? Sarah didn’t really have a plan either, but we both agreed that we wanted to just not get injured (she’s nursing an ongoing Achilles and bone spur injury). We’d go by what felt right.

Apparently, going faster felt right.

Eastern States 20 Miler Outfit | happyfitmama.com

The weather was almost perfect at the start – sunshine and temps in the upper 30s. I dressed just right – Saucony long sleeve top and capri’s. The fun thing about this race is that we run in 3 states (Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts), through 7 towns and the majority is along the beautiful seacoast. We had a short walk from bib pick up at a school to the starting line. It’s a very relaxed race. You line up and then someone shouts “go!” Or at least I think someone did because everyone started running. There is no timing chip or starting mat. You just go!

We ran along at a comfortable pace (although way faster than our usual long run pace) for the first couple of miles. (Thanks for the WOOHOO! Robin!) At one point I realized I hadn’t heard a beep or vibration for a mile marker yet. For some reason my watch was set to indoor and was essentially in stopwatch mode. After messing with it (thank goodness for easy touchscreen capability!), I got it started correctly. Since there were ZERO mile markers on the course, I assumed we were a little over 2 miles into the race at this point. I never realized how much I love seeing mile markers till this race. I need a countdown!

For the first 3 miles or so, there was not much of a wind. As soon as we reached the coast, the headwind smacked us right in the face and stayed for the duration. Sarah and I were trucking right along feeling good. We were in shock every time that my watch beeped (hers wasn’t working right either) with our splits. We tried to slow down but it felt so slow when we did. It felt good, so we kept it up.

Mile 1-2: ??? Mile 3: 8:17, Mile 4: 7:51, Mile 5: 8:15, Mile 6: 8:16, Mile 7: 8:13, Mile 8: 8:22, Mile 9: 8:11, Mile 10: 8: 18, Mile 11: 8:11

The wind really started to pick up at this point. We were completely exposed. In the previous miles, there were groups of people so it was easier to draft a bit. Not so much anymore. It was nice to see Kailey and her son at some point (mile 12?) spectating. Even if it’s for a brief second, it matters!

Eastern States 20 Miler  happyfitmama.com

Mile 12: 8:25, Mile 13: 8:20, Mile 14: 8:13, Mile 15: 8:25, Mile 16: 8:22

Around mile 16-17, Sarah and I both stopped for a water stop. I was trying to choke down some water and then stopped to fix my KT tape that had come loose on my shin. By the time I started up again, Sarah was way up ahead. I gave her the wave to keep going. Bad mistake on my part! Without having company, I started to think too much. Particularly about my knee. It was starting to bug me a bit. And then there felt like there was something stuck on the bottom of my shoe. No matter what I did to try to scrape it off, it just wouldn’t go away. I stopped to fix it and found some kind of gummy chomp stuck in the grips. Gross! After scrapping it on the curb, it finally came loose. Stopping that one time, threw me off. I started to have visions of calling Ron to pick me up and drop me off a 1/2 mile from the finish. I wanted to be DONE especially when a cop directing traffic tells you “1 mile to go!” and it’s really 2 miles.

Mile 17: 9:12, Mile 18: 8:53, Mile 19: 8:34, Mile 20: ?? Forgot to stop my watch!

Official time: 2:48:20.

Post Eastern States 20 Miler | happyfitmama.comAnd yes, that is a big pile of snow behind us!

For the most part, I felt really, really good for the duration of the race even if my knee wasn’t 100%. I’m actually shocked that I felt so comfortable and was able to run at those speeds yet still carrying on a conversation for almost the whole race. And the pacing? I’ve never been that consistent with pacing in my life! That truly was marvelous.The part that makes me worry is how much the wheels fell off once I didn’t have someone to run with. I won’t have Sarah to rely on Marathon Monday. Her wave starts way ahead of mine. My mental game, as usual, still needs some work before race day.

What would you rather run in – cold, snow, heavy rain or wind?

44 comments on “Eastern States 20 Miler Recap

  1. It’s such a high difference, when you’re running high mileage, when you’re alone vs with even just one friend!! But, those long runs with just your mind are so beneficial!! I know you know this…
    Also, I hate the wind. I would rather run in almost ANY condition if there was no wind!!
    Allie recently posted..The Rundown – Stay the CourseMy Profile

    1. I had a friend purposely run her last 22 miler over the weekend by herself. She felt like she relied on too many long runs with friends for training. She had a good point!

  2. Awesome, even with the knee! I had a knee thing pop up with 3 weeks to go until my last marathon, it wound up hurting on and off but didn’t bother me at all for the race itself. Something always pops up! I’m also really bad with remembering to stop my watch at finish lines.

    1. I’m hoping this is the case with my knee. I’m taking it extra easy for the taper… which is going to drive me nuts but I know it’s for the better.

  3. I mich rather run in cold vs most other types of weather. I had a windy day running a race this weekend. It’s tough when those headwinds start. Congrats on an amazing race!!
    Melanie recently posted..Weekly RundownMy Profile

  4. You did pace this like a champ! I always remember you saying that you struggle with going out too fast, but you were very consistent for most of it! In the race you will have people all around you who will help you keep up the momentum, but most of all, just happy your knee behaves. You will be ready to go! Excited for you!
    Tina muir recently posted..Meatless Monday- Healthy Mexican PizzaMy Profile

    1. It’s quite funny that Sarah and I were both saying we were going to reign it in at the start since we always start out too fast and end up positive splitting. Guess what we did? Ran the first 2 miles sub 7:30! Whoops.

  5. Angela–I think you did an amazing job! You were very consistent and even after stopping, it’s not like you had some precipitous fall in pace. Very well run and it should be a confidence booster for Boston! Now just take advantage of the taper–even taper more than you might, so that you can get that knee healthy. You have done the work and it’s rest that matters from here on out.
    misszippy recently posted..The week of running that somewhat wasMy Profile

    1. Thanks Amanda! I’m fully embracing this taper. No running for at least a couple of days to see how my knee is feeling. I’m on the defensive with it right now.

    1. I don’t mind the rain just as long as it’s not the driving, monsoon rain that blinds you and soaks you within minutes. It’s a miserable way to run a marathon. Trust me, I’ve done 2 like that!

    1. Thanks Lisa! I’m kind of shocked how comfortable it all was. Now I just need to lay low and let me knee calm down…I always seem to jinx myself in some way!

  6. You two were moving- what an awesome confidence booster! And if you want a Boston running buddy, I’m up for running together. πŸ™‚ I started this cycle with goals but at this point I just want to have fun and run it for the experience. So I don’t know if I’ll even be keeping up with you!
    Laura @ Mommy Run Fast recently posted..6 Signs of Over TrainingMy Profile

  7. WooHoo – great job on that 20 mile race! Sounds like a very fun race.
    Hopefully your knee is 100% and you don’t have any more problems with it.
    I don’t really like running in any of the conditions you listed – I’m a huge wimp!
    Kim recently posted..Ditching Labels and StereotypesMy Profile

    1. Thanks Kim! I’m taking a couple days off from running with hopes that will clear it up. And I hardly think you are a wimp – you are way stronger just for lasting as long as you do on the TM.

  8. You rocked that race….mental game and all!! Good thing for you that the last 6 miles in Boston is PACKED with so many amazing spectators that they will get you through it!!! You’re going to do great!!! So excited for you!!

  9. Are you starting your taper now? It will be good to give that knee a little rest. I hope all is well.

    Nice job on the run! Though the thing that stuck most in my head was “almost perfect at the start..in the high 30s! Ha! Um, no.

    I would rather not run in any of your options. I did the LA Marathon years ago in pouring rain and 40 degree temperatures. My friend and I were sodden and freezing at the end. But, it’s also one of my proudest because we still pulled out a 3:33!
    Debbie @ Coach Debbie Runs recently posted..Recap: The Week in Training and LifeMy Profile

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