The Hotlegs Runner The Wall | The Hotlegs Runner

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Wall

I did my very last and longest run this Monday -- 20.3 miles or 32 kilometers, to be exact -- 3 weeks before my marathon.  Right after, I tweeted that I wish I could say that I kicked the 20.3 miles in the butt, but it was actually the other way around.

The Good
I prepared all week for this.  I injured my knee 2 weeks ago.  I rested for 4 days and it resurfaced again.  So for this week, I rested one whole week to give it ample time to recover.  I was feeling great when I hit the half way mark of my long run.  No pain whatsoever! I even saw my fiance  (well actually he saw me) on his way to work, "Hey beautiful!", he said, and pulled over to give me some encouraging words, gave me the thumbs up sign, and told me I was doing an awesome job.  I will never EVER get tired of hearing words of praise from my love.  It really stimulates my spirits and makes me feel like I'm invincible!

The Bad
By mile 12 (19.2K), the pain on my right knee decided to resurrect itself again.  And just when I thought it disappeared forever!  I told myself, "SUCK IT UP, BUTTERCUP!"  And so I did for the next few miles.  I tried.  Really I did!  But by mile 17 (27.2K), my 5:1 (5 mins run & 1 min walk) Galloway was completely thrown out the window.  I stopped when the pain was no longer bearable, stretched it out a bit, and then ran again.  So it was more of a run-stop-stretch interval.  This kept on until mile 19 and that's when I met it....

The Ugly

"Oh why hello there, Wall!  So not happy to see you!"  Yes, I hit the wall.  At first, I wasn't sure what I was feeling.  My mind was so willing but my body was beginning to stiffen.  It felt very heavy, like cement.  My feet felt like they were 5 sizes bigger and I could barely lift my legs.  I took a GU Roctane energy gel (which is 2x caffeine) and it didn't help at all.  That's a first!  Apparently, this is what you call the "muscle-glycogen bonk" wherein the brain works fine but the legs quit (  They say when you hit the 20 mile mark, it's all mental from there.  I'd like to think I've got that covered, but man oh man...for the life of me, I could barely put one foot in front of the other!  So I'd like to thank my willful mind for taking me from 19 miles to 20.5.


I was really set to do 22 miles (35K) that day but I thought that given the circumstances, it's best to not push it and just listen to
my body.  3 weeks before the marathon, 20.3 freakin' miles should suffice! 

I am going to admit that what happened this Monday (knee pain + hitting the wall)  is causing some anxiety.  I know that my mind is strong.  But I also need my body to get me to that finish line in time for the 5:30 cut-off. 

On the up side, I know this may sound weird, but I'm a bit thankful that I hit the wall.  At least now I know what it feels like and hopefully, I'll be able to deal with it better if it happens during my marathon.  So I've got that covered!  I hope.  My only problem now is my knee. 

I'm hoping that the 3 week taper before the marathon will help.  Please, oh, please!

Ugh!  I hate being injured!  It just opens the door to more negative self talk and self doubt!  --> This is just the "I'm only human" side of me talking.  But I have faith.  I know I can do it. I got this!  I so FREAKIN' got this (right, Emz?)!

  • Did you ever experience "hitting the wall?"

30 Days of Thanks (Day 10)

I am thankful for GOALS -- the kind I set for myself on a daily, monthly and yearly basis.  These goals help me turn the impossible to possible, they help me move forward, makes me more pleased with myself and makes me more eager to keep aiming for more in life.



    has.been. made.

    "YES, you've freaking got this[add "beautiful" as needed/wanted]!!"

    You rock Julie!!

  2. Stay strong - the most important thing now is to get your knee in shape - you should have all the hard work in and just tapering down to the marathon. Perhaps look at your diet during the final week and ensure you fuel adequately. I'm sure with your determination and the work you have already put in you will reach your goal

  3. Way to push through the wall, and you're right, now you know what it feels like, so that's good. Lots of rest for the next 3 weeks!

  4. Yes, I know the wall! I met the wall at mile 20 too:) It is like all of a sudden your brain and body says...hold on....We have gone far enough! Nice job:)

    My hubby calls me beautiful too. He needs to call me beautiful more often...maybe I need to remind him:)

    Have a great week Julie!

  5. I know all too well what a hard 20 miler feels like. Good luck with your upcoming marathon

  6. nope never hit the wall. but i'm terrified i'm going to. congrats on the last long run. i think i'm doing mine this weekend

  7. Congrats on your long run! Way to push through and get it done. I hope your knee heels up during your taper!

  8. Congratulations on the 20! I'm so sorry your knee flared back up. This stuff is really starting to piss me off!

  9. I feel your pain. I'm scared to death of mile 18 because that is when it happens to me. Maybe it's partially psychological, but I hate feeling like you are running in waist deep water.

  10. Thanks everyone! will be needing your prayers on Marathon Day.

    @Tom: YES! That's exactly how it feels. Thank you for describing it for me. I hope I do not feel it again.

  11. Aaah... I wish that wall could be moved out a bit - pretty amazing that we all hit it about the same mile point! Ibuprofen around the clock for that knee! And definitely rest - your body is ready for the race - don't over do during the taper!!!!

  12. Nice job on the long run, Julie! I have never run that far before, so kudos to you and your hard work and effort!

  13. Although I haven't met that wall yet, I am sharing your problem of that knee pain. It is agonizing to think about it. I am going to a physical therapist to have this fixed. As for you, be sure to have it checked if it aggrevates. If you're really bothered by it, see your doctor. Better be safe than sorry. :)

  14. Oh yeah, the wall. We've already been introduced. Years ago near the end of a marathon that Hubbs and I were running "together", okay at the same time. As I went through a short underpass, BONK! STOP! It was terrible. I simply COULD NOT make my feet and legs work correctly. I grabbed onto the wall of the underpass to attempt to continue to move forward. I was crying. Hubbs caught up to me (what???). He helped me to the finish. It still stands today as my slowest ever road marathon distance finish. But I finished. Walls or no walls you will finish.
    Just take care of the knee. That's the bigger problem. Rest, rest, rest. You've trained already (My first 3 marathons I hadn't ran more than 15ish miles)
    You've so got this!!!

  15. Great job Julie. Very proud of you for sucking it up buttercup, but be sure to be able to tell the difference in the fine line between pain and injury.

    Three weeks of taper will help.

    Walls suck but you broke through this one and will break thru the next one at the marathon.

    Did you do this run at the same time marathon is starting? Did you eat properly before the run and have enough hydration? I found this to be my problem on marathon day and I am attributing my wall hitting to that.

  16. Oh I hit the wall in my 20 miler before my marathon as well. Don't worry-it wont happen in the actual race! way to much adrenaline & your positive attitude will kill it!! Hope to run into you in Vegas!! GOOD LUCK!

  17. Julie - there is a calculator at which allows you to calculate your own individual carb needs for race day - it may be worth checking out

  18. Julie, had the exact same experience the day I set out to run 22 miles... and you read about my wall... I literally got in the car and quit. LOL!!! But I got back out and pushed to 21 and figured that was enough for the day. Good for you to pushing to past 20. Rest up!

    PS I can't believe your marathon has a 5 1/2 hour cut-off... ours is 6 1/2.

  19. First of all, way to rock your run. Yes, you may not have felt great, your knee hurt and you hit the wall, but you didn't give up! You rocked it!

    You are going to do great!!

  20. Way to push yourself. I was experiencing my calf breaking down on my long runs this summer before I tore my hammy. I would just hit a point where I couldn't go anymore without my calf in spasms. never got to explore what was going on with it before my big fall but it was a definite wall! Good luck tapering! Thanks for your comment today. I really related to what you had to say.

  21. The adrenaline of race day helps a lot. You may also want to consider more carbs in the first 20. You don't want to try anything new on race day, but perhaps do your normal Gu schedule and alternate water & Gatorade (or whatever sports drink they have) at water stops. That might give you the extra boost of fuel you need. Helps for me.

  22. You guys are awesome! Thanks so much for all the advice and support. They are very much appreciated. =)

    @Alan: I've tried going to that site before but it doesn't work on my mac. I tried the troubleshooting advice specified there but still no calculator? =((

  23. Nice work pushing If you can do that, you got 26.2!!

  24. You can do this! I admire your dedication and strength already. I have never hit THE WALL, but then again, I never made it as far as you in my training!

  25. i have not hit the wall, probably because my longest running race has only been 13.1 miles. but i'm very experienced (unfortunately) in knee issues. :-(

  26. Hi Julie,

    Goodluck on your marathon!

    If ever you hit the wall, run with your heart!

    See you on the road!


  27. Congrats on a 20+ mile run and getting through the wall! I think it was smart to stop at 20.5, you really don't wanna make your knee worse right now. Get some rest and ice your knee! You will do great!! :)

  28. You have SO GOT THIS Julie!!! You're strong and you trained well! Great job pushing through the 32K! Take care of that knee.

  29. Congrats on getting the job done! You'll be great in the marathon!

  30. That sounds like something else Julie. Thanks a lot for sharing that with us. I hope that you can solve what ever is causing your knee to be like that. Congratulations on your long run = time on your feet. So you are doing a 5/1 run/walk strategy? I am doing a 4/1. It's easier to see by 5's. lol. So hitting the wall. Now I know what might to expect. Then again, I have taken my longest run up to 30 miles in the summer with no problems, just being tired. Might I ask how you hydrated before the run? And also how did you eat the day before? Thanks. Have fun recovering. Sorry for late comment.

  31. take it easy dont push it and you'll be all set for the Marathon. regards - patrick concepcion

  32. Our bodies are amazing and you'll benefit from this hitting the wall. Hang in there, you certainly got this! Take it easy the next few weeks and use Ibuprofen. It will help and you will have a great marathon.

  33. You do sooooo got this!

    My last half I hit the wall at mile 10 and pretty much crawled to the finish line, cursing myself, my legs, the running Gods, my first grade teacher - anyone and everyone. I vowed never to run again.

    But walls are just walls - you can scale them, go around them, or knock right through them - A wall is nothing compared to your will.

    So screw the wall - you do have this when you get to mile 20 during your mary you just give a double bird salute to the wall and keep on going. We'll all be with you!


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