Greetings from Minnesota. Our temps are pretty normal this morning – around 40 I think – but they say there’s a chance of snow in the forecast for Friday. Let’s hope not…

So eighteen isn’t a particularly scary number, right? For some of us maybe it conjures up memories of being 18 years old and senior year, high school loves, or the start of college.

Or, maybe 18 is a part of a significant date for you? Say because you were born on April 18? Or maybe because you’re running the Boston Marathon on 4.18.11?

Perhaps you’re a big Colts fan and know that Peyton Manning wears #18?

Or maybe 18 is just a completely arbitrary number and you wonder why I keep writing nonsense about it?

Well, this weekend I planned to 18 consecutive miles, and it scared me. Not only is it a new personal distance record (PDR), but for some reason it just seemed a lot further than my current PDR of 16 miles. Because of scheduling issues, I didn’t get to it until Sunday. Saturday morning I was at my parents and then Saturday afternoon yard work beckoned. The snow had melted exposing lots of dead branches, leaves, and literally days worth of work on our wooded property. JR assured me I could find time for my 3 hour run on Sunday, and I would have felt guilty leaving him to work for hours without me.

I did squeeze in a quick 3 miles before I started feeding calves on Saturday night. I guess I wanted to shake out my legs before the big, scary run, and the weather was just too beautiful to resist.

Well, Sunday came and went, and I don’t think it’s much of an exaggeration to say my body has never felt so weary as last night. In a nutshell, here’s how it went down.

  • Get up Sunday morning, ingest some coffee, eggs, milk, and toast. Drive to the farm and work for about 5 hours.
  • About noon, put on running shoes, clothes, and water belt. Scarf down 2 pieces of toast with butter and double-check I have my gus.
  • Set out for 18 windy, misty miles. The wind really picked up the last few and I was freezing, but I suppose that’s just good training for the winds of Fargo?
  • Arrive back at the farm a little after 3:00. Attempt to stretch, scarf down some more food, and shower. I don’t think I have ever been so hungry after a run. I suppose a proper lunch might have helped, but I couldn’t exactly eat a huge lunch and then go running for 3+ hours, now could I?
  • Put on barn clothes and head back outside for another 5 hours. Wouldn’t you know that there were 3 new baby calves waiting for me upon my return to the farm?

Now I think it’s possible that it might have done my poor legs some good to sit down and stretch a while longer post-run, but there just wasn’t time. 

But don’t think all our Sundays are like this. If it works out time-wise we try to get to church, and sometimes we even get to catch up on things like grocery shopping or housework mid-day on Sunday. But yesterday was just crazy at the farm for a lot of reasons. I felt bad about leaving for the time I did, but I guess that’s what I get for staying to help with our sad looking yard on Saturday. 😉 And the truly sad part is that is still needs a lot more work.

The details on the run, you ask? Well, my legs were tired the minute I started. After a few miles I finally felt more warmed up, I took a gu at mile 6, and felt pretty good up about mile 12. At that point, I just felt a huge energy zap. So, I took another gu (which I probably should have done a mile before), and was pretty happy again until mile 15. At that point everything just became a struggle. I was still running, but oh so slowly. The wind had changed direction on me, so I was again running into the mist and wind.

Early in the run, I snapped a picture of one of my favorite sections of  road. The strong pine smell of these lovely trees always makes me feel like I’m somewhere out west. (The drizzly weather also reminded me of Seattle.)

I do think it was a successful run. The overall pace was pretty slow (10:45ish), but I consciously kept it easy the first half and didn’t slow down much even at the end. I’m feeling pretty good this morning, but I still think I’m due for a rest day!

Does the number 18 have any special significance to you?

About Lisa

Hi, I'm Lisa. Dairy farmer's wife and Minnesotan to the core, I write about rural farm life, running down country roads, and the food, faith, and family that bind everything together. Follow along on my journey.
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8 Responses to Eighteen

  1. Heidi Nicole says:

    Hey…kudos to you for getting out there and getting your run in! Sometimes life just gets in the way, but you did great to make your run a priority…after all, you need to survive a full 26.2 in just a few more weeks! 😉

    And another kudos for getting home after a super long run and heading right back out to the farm!

    • Lisa says:

      Exactly right; it wasn’t so much that I wanted to run yesterday as I know I need to keep my mind on training to get through 26.2!

  2. Jena says:

    Great job on that 18 miles! I know you felt slow, but 18miles at any speed is awesome in my mind! What a busy Sunday you had, I can’t imagine how you are even functioning today!!

    The number 18 doesn’t mean anything to me, just a number, and an age where I had a crazy boyfriend! 😉

  3. Kierstan says:

    You are crazy lady! I would have used the run as an excuse to do nothing the rest of the day! Nice job on the run – and the route looks beautiful! I love country running.

    And Fargo…it is not going to be windy at all. Or flooded…

  4. Carolyn H. says:

    Way to go – 18 miles, is 18 miles. And props for training solo. I would never had been able to run a marathon without a training group!

    I second Jena on being 18 with a crazy boyfriend.

  5. ummmmmmmmmm when i do 18 miles that’s pretty much all i do all day. no wonder you were tired! so much barn/yard work. i’m in awe!

  6. Cassie says:

    Ummmm, I’ve said it before, but wow! I’m tired just from reading this post! I cannot even fathom running that far! Good for you for squeezing such a long run into a very busy sounding weekend. Ten hours of farm work, 18 miles of running, 3 baby calves…..someday you will look back and wonder how you did it all.

    And really, how do you consume enough calories to support all this training? It’s quite amazing to me!

    • Lisa says:

      Well… I think I’ve become a human garbage disposal! Seriously, I’m hungry all the time, and I probably eat every few hours. I don’t weigh myself more than about once per month, but I think I’ve actually managed to gain several pounds during training. Not enough to be noticeable, but enough to convince me I am eating enough. 🙂

      I should also add that the “gu” I reference is basically a little packet of frosting-like stuff that’s 100 calories of mostly sugar and electrolytes. If I didn’t consume calories on the run I wouldn’t make it!

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