The 1st 17 mile Run of My Life


Get your popcorn, this is a long one….

Up until today I have never run more than 13.1 miles. Why would I?! I’m only half crazy! Right? Wrong. This exact time last year I was just starting a training cycle for my 5th half marathon. A great deal of my friends were already half way through their full marathon training. I would see their posts on social media, see their training pictures and read about their adventures. To be honest, I was jealous. I felt like I had already mastered the art of the half marathon. I still wasn’t as fast as I wanted to be but I was confidant I could run one. The race most of my friends were preparing for was in late February and I was no where near ready to take on training for a marathon. I mean, I was just starting my HALF marathon training. It would have been impossible! I wasn’t in that kind of shape! Truthfully I felt left behind. I vowed right then and there that I would race my first FULL marathon the following year.

Fast forward about 12 months and here I am. If I felt left behind a year ago, I felt forgotten by end of 2014. This has honestly been the hardest year of my life. I have never worked so much and struggled more emotionally than I did in 2014. All year I looked forward to 2015 because I knew it would bring BIG things. I knew relief would come this year and I would finally be able to focus on some FUN goals.

I’m now over half way through my marathon training schedule. Up until today I still have not run more than 13.1 miles. To date, my training hasn’t really been all that great. I’ve struggled to get all my scheduled runs in and I’ve felt heavy and slow. I keep chopping away at it though. Week by week, I do the work…..most of it. I knew after the new year that I was going to  be facing some pretty long training runs. I gave my self the first week of the new year off so that I could relax without the stress of the holidays or training.

All week I have been staring at my training schedule. 17 miles. There it was staring right back at me.

“I know I can run 13.1 miles, I have done that several times. 17 miles isn’t much further than 13.1 miles right? That’s just 4 more miles. Four miles is nothing! I can do that any day! Easy!”

Still. There is was,  Seventeen MILES. I woke up this morning dreading it. I was thinking about cramping, not fueling enough, hitting a wall, calf cramps, having to walk, even pulling muscles. I was afraid of this run! You see the thing is, this run was uncharted territory for me. I wasn’t sure what it would feel like. People say that training for a marathon changes you. It changes your life. Up until today, I didn’t feel changed! I felt empowered sure. Have I felt strong? Yea! Proud that I’m ACTUALLY training for my first marathon? Absolutely.

Today though, today was a new experience. Today was what I needed. 

Miles 1-7: Easy! I hit a slow pace like everyone has been telling me. I found a nice stride got comfy and was able to just enjoy the run. I started eating around mile 7 so I didn’t feel hungry or thirsty or anything really! It was just fun.

Miles 7-10: Things are still going ok. I’m starting to feel some hunger now, trying to fuel a little more but I can feel that I’m still doing alright. The hunger subsides as I drink my mashed banana and nibble on these raisins I brought. That was such a good idea! Raisins are yummy! My knee is aching a tad and my hip is aching some. That’s a little odd but to be expected I guess. I’m a little out of shape.

Mashed bananas mmmmm

Miles 10-13.1: I’m hungry! A grilled chicken breast sounds awesome right about now. I’m having a weird craving for saltine crackers too. I never eat saltines??? I’ll just have more of my yummy raisins and mashed banana. 13.1! Alright! Time: 2:30…what?! That’s ok, I’ll just pick it up until I get home.

Miles 13.1-15: Ermagerd! My hip is so achy! I cant run any faster! I’m stuck in this pace! I wanna walk sooooo bad! Maybe I’ll just slow…! I literally cant slow down or go any faster, I feel like i’m 80. My middle toe feels like its broken and I feel stiff all over. No wonder all uncle Matt’s toe nails fell off when he ran all those marathons in one year. I’m sooooo hungry! I wonder if these people walking their dog have any saltines?! Why do those sound so good right now???? Who is BBQ’ing?! Oh man, I’m gonna eat so much food when I get home. Do we have any saltines?! I should have brought more food with me. I think I’m out of raisins. yup! Sh@#.

yup! Pretty much sums it up!

Miles 15-16: Good God this hurts. There’s no way in hell I could run 10 more miles right now. How the hell am I going to do this on race day?! Just get home Priscilla. WHAT EVER YOU DO DON’T TRY TO SLOW DOWN OR WALK! Why is this taking sooo long!

Miles 16-17.28: What. the. F@#$. I would kill someone for a cheese burger right now. And why the hell do I want saltines so bad?! I’m out of food, water, and energy. I just want to be hoooome. If I had to run 26.2 miles right now I would be dead. DEAD. No wonder that guy who ran to Marathon died when he go there! I feel like I’m going diiiiiiieeeeee! Please just keep moving, don’t slow down, just put one foot in front of the other. Move! Don’t slow down! There’s the house!

Finish time not really important, I’m  just glad I did it!
Trying so hard to look happy, I’m hurtin!

Post run…I got my saltines. HAHAHA I have no clue why my body was telling I needed them but they hit the spot. I’ve eaten half a sleeve. Ya know, it hit me today that this process is going to change me. It WILL change my life. I realize now just how hard race day is going to be. The relief of finishing is going to be so great and so gratifying. People always ask me why I do this, people ask that question of all runners. The honest truth? Going through that much pain just to say that you did something, you finished it, you trained for it week after week. You dedicated your self to to it! YOU DID IT! That is why I’m doing this. Up until today, there was no challenge in my training. I took it for granted. The coming weeks are going to hurt like hell. Hopefully I can relieve some of the aches and pains I felt today so that they aren’t so bad in future runs. I’m in uncharted territory now my friends. I can’t wait to see where this adventure  takes me!

Happy running!

Priscilla Askew, NDTR

Hi I’m Priscilla! Nutritionist, USA triathlon & RRCA run coach, fitness enthusiast, foodie, and owner of Askew Nutrition & Fitness.

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  1. Onelda L

    Searched for "my first 17 mile run" and came across this. I know I'm going to feel exactly like this when I take on that 17 miler tomorrow morning. Thank you for telling your story. It's giving me some hope that no matter how painful it will be, it's still doable if I stick with it.

  2. Priscilla Lovestorun

    Onelda, you CAN do it! Now that I have more experience I realize that my nutrition was way off this day and I was suffering from over-hydration but lack of electrolytes (hence the saltines cravings). Be sure to keep on top of those things and you will do awesome! Just keep moving, I believe in you!

  3. Natalia Gomez

    Same thing as the comment above, I searched first 17 mile run and this is what came up. I'm running the NYC Marathon in November and am running my first 17 miles this Sunday and am feeling nervous about it! The farthest consecutive run I've had is 14 miles and I was struggling with what seemed to be a hamstring strain so it got to be very painful near the end. That pain has gone away and my body feels normal but I'm nervous for what I will run across on Sunday, it'll be a learning experience for sure! Thank you for posting this I really enjoyed reading and laughing at your thoughts throughout the run, I've had the same :p

  4. Priscilla Lovestorun

    Natalia – good luck on your run tomorrow! im sure you will do great. remember training runs are for working out the kinks with your body. dont be afraid of what might come up, just think of it as a learning experience. plan for great nutrition and hydration and have fun!

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