I survived 15 miles and have five lessons to share

by lachicaruns on


That’s a number that’s taunted me for the past few weeks. A number that I’ve obsessed about, worried about and, frankly, dreaded.

It’s been on the marathon-training plan all along, so it’s not like it came as a surprise, but it’s a number that had consumed me.

A half marathon once held similar mystique in my mind. It was something other people did. Then it became a “someday” goal. One that seemed unattainable but one which I eventually conquered.

But 15? Only crazy people go out to run 15 miles, right?

El husbando, who’s been ever so supportive through my marathon training, even questioned my sanity (not for the first time, mind you). “You’re crazy,” he said, shaking his head.

But I still set out to run my 15 miles this morning. It wasn’t pretty, but I learned some lessons. So gather around me, grasshoppers and learn from my mistakes.

1. Don’t go out on a long run by yourself if you’re really nervous about covering the distance. I was really nervous about covering the distance, so my friend Janet met me at 7 a.m. for 12 of the miles, out and back. I would not have come close to finishing without her support.

la chica with janet

2. Bring more water than you could possibly drink or plan your route so you can get some. I brought two small-ish water bottles in my luggage, which was not nearly enough. Thankfully, Janet knew the location of every single water fountain on our route so we were OK, but I would have definitely suffered had it not been for her.

la chica river trail

3. Use the water to cool down even if you think you’re not overheating. The temperature was already 67 degrees, so we heated up pretty quickly. I didn’t realize just how hot I was until I followed Janet’s example and drenched myself at the water fountains. The liberally applied cool water helped make me more comfortable.

4. Eat beforehand and bring fuel. I ate a typical before-a-long-run breakfast for me (coffee, homemade banana bread and peanut butter) and brought three packets of Sport Beans. Again, not nearly enough on both counts. Because I’d planned on a 13-minute-mile pace, I knew the run would take me over three hours. By mile 10, I was starving and dreaming of a big Whopper and fries. The beans were a nice boost but I finished my run with a completely empty tank.

5. Plan, then plan some more. I should have researched the route to know that other than the water fountains, there was no place to get or buy water or Gatorade. I also could have avoided running the last three miles by myself in full sun. Lastly, I should have paid more attention to the training plan on my fridge. Had I done that, I wouldn’t have committed to a 5K walk on Saturday so I could run the 15 with the local running store’s Team Playmakers, which includes aid stations with water and Gatorade every Saturday morning.

la chica by the rock

Let’s see if I can take my own advice for next week’s 16!

I did finish and mustered a fake smile.

I did finish and mustered a fake smile.

What’s your longest distance? Did you learn any lessons? What do you wish you could do differently?


Written by: lachicaruns

My name is Gisgie. It's pronounced geese (like the birds) and gee (like the letter). Now that we've met, I'm glad you're here. I'm an injury-prone runner who manages to find reasons to keep coming back to the road despite ongoing challenges. Most recently, I've struggled with piriformis syndrome. I'm currently winning. Most days.



Way to push through and thanks for the tips. I will be using them for my 1/2 training. πŸƒπŸ½πŸƒπŸ½πŸƒπŸ½


So glad to hear it. You’re going to love the half! May I suggest you book a massage for the days after (I’m partial to Divine Essentials here in Lansing)? I wish someone had told me that before my first half and am taking my advice for the day after my first full in September.
Happy running, chica!


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