Sunday, September 16, 2012

Romping And Stomping Through 20 Miles

I tried playing with my race belt, but was unsuccessful in figuring it out so I decided I would just use safety pins to keep my Ready To Run 20 Miler bib in place. Everything else was set. I jumped into bed at 9:22p.m. and attempted to sleep. I tossed and turned for about an hour before I fell asleep. I woke up at 4:30a.m. and slowly began to move around. Of course, before getting dressed, I checked Facebook. Eventually, I put on my race outfit, had some breakfast, then made my way out the door at about a quarter to six. I met up with Andrew Murray who would guide me for the first ten miles. We made our way to our wave a few minutes before it went off and we were set. I was excited to follow Jenna's instructions on how to handle this run. Both Andrew and Jenny were excited to follow the plan for a successful run. From the moment we started, Andrew and I found a comfortable spot in the back of our group. If there were going to be sudden turns or footing issues, we did not want to cause problems for other runners. We started slow as our group went out, but every so often, we would work our way back to the back of the group. We sat there perfectly as the next wave caught up to us. At one point, their runners merged with us. We kept running smoothly as both Andrew and I felt very comfortable with the pace. Eventually, we started getting boxed in and found some difficult spots as only five miles into the run, people were starting to slow down or walk. Andrew navigated us around and soon we found ourselves pushing away from the group which had caught up to us. We charged ahead and even found ourselves back with our original group. Soon we were almost at the front of that group. The miles kept going. Andrew and I were excited. Little-by-little, Andrew had us push. We were moving swiftly as we crossed mile eight then nine. Before reaching the tenth mile, Jenny Pfaff greeted us and ran with us for a bit. Jenny would take over the guiding duties at the midway point. Andrew said our time was 1:37 for the opening ten miles. We started slow, but picked it up the last couple miles. When Jenny and I started running, the pace quickened that much more. I knew I had to stay steady to have enough to finish strong, but I also knew Jenny would want me to push a bit harder. Sure enough, we were doing just that. Jenny told me my pace and I was a bit worried that I was pressing too fast too early, but I kept going. The miles were flying now. I had a wonderful experience at one of the aid stations when Jemma Lotzer of imerman angels greeted me. So cool! Jenny and I would slow down through the aid stations, but then push hard out of them to get back on track.

Two years ago, I reached mile seventeen before I had to start walking. I jogged then walked before fighting through the final mile where Jenny would not let me walk at all. Last year, it was much worse as I reached mile twelve and started to walk. The final eight miles were tough. In both years, I was running about one minute slower than I was today. I was worried, but I kept trying to tell myself that because of Jenna's coaching, I am much better prepared. I kept feeling strong. I kept trying to dig deeper. We had reached mile eighteen. Suddenly, my left calf gave me problems. I wanted to slow down and shake it out. Jenny would not let me. No walking! I had trained to hard to walk. I pressed on. The more we moved, the closer we were to the end. Traditionally, this is when I would be fading yet here I was still romping. We entered the final mile. Jenny wanted me to push like I had not done before. I wanted to do so too. I kept telling myself, I can do this. Jenna has given me the tools to achieve this. This is a training run. No pain. I kept digging. Jenny informed me of the distance left. I knew this was my best performance in any 20 miler and I had to finish strong. That is what Jenna had taught me. I was doing it. As we reached the final hundred meters which were uphill, I pressed on and crossed the finish line. I had done it. I had run the entire twenty miles for the first time ever. I had not faded. I had run the fastest mile of the day in my final mile of the day. I was so proud of myself.

Thank you Andrew Murray for guiding me the first half and Jenny Pfaff for taking me the second half. I love this trend of getting faster in races. I love negative splitting these long runs. Thank you Jenna Parker for helping me achieve those.


  1. Extremely excited for you, Israel! You are lucky to have such great people to push and inspire you! And great job pushing yourself and your limits!

    1. Thank you Sarah. I have been blessed beyond belief by having some of the most amazing athletes who also happen to be some of the warmest kind hearted people in the world take the time to show the way towards my goals. I can not say enough about how grateful I am for each individual who has helped me grow as an athlete and person.