The 20 Miler that Shouldha Been…

Or the case of the stolen water bottle…

The Plan:

  • Wake up early
  • Drive to Geneva, IL (1 hour away, site of my marathon in 3 weeks!)
  • Complete 20 mile training run with the sponsored training group out there.  Run starts @ 6:30 AM.
  • Drink recovery drinks and snacks, then go home, eat some more, shower and enjoy rest of day.

The Reality:

  • Wake up early – check.
  • Get in car – check.  But with some roads near me blocked, my 5:15 AM brain couldn’t figure out how to get onto the highway I wanted to get on.  Finally I realize I have 50 minutes to make the 1 hour drive & I’m not even on the right highway yet. Drive home. Time: 5:45 AM
  • Set alarm to begin my run in Chicago at 6:15 AM.  I needed time to have the peanut butter & bagel thin breakfast digest.  Fall asleep (had been on compter). Snooze on alaram somehow until alarm goes off.
  • Don’t wake up until 9 AM.  Roll over and go back to sleep.  Wake up again at 10 AM.
  • Get ready again: more sunscreen, a gatorade pre-run drink, and some swedish fish. Get a stomach cramp, but make myself leave home at 10:50 AM for my planned 20-miler.
  • Head out on my run. Run started out very comfortable and well.
  • Around mile 4, take my first 2 shot blocks.  At mile 4.5, stop to use the bathroom at the Belmont Boathouse.  Place water bottle next to sink (so I don’t have to hold while on the toilet).  Come out, water bottle (w/ shot blocks, Gu, Nuun!) is gone! 
  • Feel lucky I keep my drivers license, key, $$ in my shorts pocket rather than water bottle, and also realize that I have 1 Gu in my shorts.  1 Gu for 16 more miles…
  • Decide to continue on run. Plan: hold off as long as possible to take Gu, and stop at many water fountains along course.
  • Run. Run some more.  Get to the Hollywood turnaround at the end of the lakefront path – I’ve run 8 miles at this point.  Turn around. 
  • Hit a wall at 9.5 miles, and take my Gu at 10 miles.  Continue running, feel fueled by my Gu. 
  • Get to Oz Park at 14 miles, run a few laps around the park.  Starting to feel loopy at this point.
  • Stop by Running Away Multisport in hopes that they have a replacement water bottle. Plan was to by that water bottle & Nuun tabs, and be magically energized for a little longer.  They don’t have my water bottle, and I disregard all other fueling options that they DO sell. 
  • Hit 16 mile mark, want to start crying.  I sit down, and then get up and do run/walks, with more walking then running.  Walk/Run home – last mile took me 20 minutes.
  • Make a Nuun glass of water, try to drink, lie down on living room floor. Mike passes me rice krispy treats & banana muscle milk (ew) while I’m on floor. 16.7 miles completed.

What Works Well:

  • My outfit worked great!  Will wear on race day
  • Handheld water bottle is good.. until stolen!
  • Chocolate Cherry Turbo Clif Gel – I also like their double expresso gel!
  • Overall I felt good until I was quite literally, running on empty.  I had visions in my mind of being on a military march through the desert.

What Not to Do on Race Day:

  • Eat a PB bagel thin for breakfast.  Stick to my standby: Clif Bar!
  • Leaving your water bottle in a place where people will steal it.
  • Only take 200 calories on a run. Stupid me for not running to a running store to get more fuel – before I hit 16 miles. 

I’ll see how my legs recover, and may consider re-doing my 20 miler next weekend potentially.  I certainly won’t be letting my handheld water bottle leave my sight ever again…


8 thoughts on “The 20 Miler that Shouldha Been…

  1. Samori

    SD, my (unsolicited) advice is to go ahead with your taper as planned. You did your 20 miler – just not as you had planned. You got plenty of “time on your feet.” And after today, you need the recovery time.

    1. Lauren Post author

      Your advice is completely solicited — otherwise I wouldn’t be posting! I am inclined to agree with you… and also that I’m not sure I want to put in another big day of training at this point!

      I’m sorry I missed you up in Madison last weekend! I miss you a ton and think back on your advice from my first marathon training experience in 2006!

  2. Erin

    Oh no! I can’t believe someone stole your water bottle. Geez, people really will take anything, won’t they? I’m impressed you are always able to list lessons learned from your experiences.


    Who steals a water bottle?! That’s insane! I’ve left my bottle in that same exact place at the Belmont Boathouse dozens of times before. I’m impressed you carried on as long as you did without your usual hydration and energy gels. I think we all have logged training runs that don’t go exactly as planned, but you definitely rolled with multiple punches on this one and still managed to finish what you started!

  4. kilax

    Ugh, what a tough run! Like everyone else, I cannot believe someone stole your water bottle. I wouldn’t want someone else’s bottle! But it does sound like you learned some good lessons, which always makes a run worth it. What were you wearing that worked out so well?

    1. Lauren Post author

      I was wearing my new “favorite” top – a purple flowy tank top from Athleta and my compression shorts. The tank top hides any bulges/pooching that happens in the tummy area!

  5. Cate

    Yikes- what a run! Glad you made it home ok.
    What a lame person that would steal a water bottle :/ At least you learned something from the whole experience though.


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