8+ Miles Down – Alive and Kicking


I was going to play off of Eminem’s 8 Mile song here, but it was hardcore for my first-world challenges of being a novice runner…

OK, the use of the word “running” is quite liberal here. While as of late I’ve found a decent stride, I sometimes feel like I more “fall forward” or “lumber in forward motion.” I’ve never been a runner, but 8 weeks in I am starting to feel like I am part of the crowd.

Last Friday night, two friends and I set out at 7:30 PM to strategize for our first super-long run at 8.3 miles. For all of us, this was the longest run of our lives to date. First, we knew we either needed a circuit or a very long straight distance that was also safe to run in the dark, as well as in the Summer heat of Tampa Bay.

We chose to run the Courtney Campbell Causeway Trail – one straight, 9-mile shot across the bay where we could stash a lunchbox of liquid refreshment at the ½ mark. We were able to park cars at either end of the route to stow belongings and additional cold drinks, as well as to give us starting and end points that would get us to the required 8.3 miles according to Olympian Jeff Galloway and his 13.1 Half Marathon Training ap.

My friends are the superior runners – each circled back to me as I lagged behind barely getting my feet off of the ground. I’ll never finish first, but I am determined to finish. They brought music and conversation, which kept me from peeking at my phone the entire time lamenting how far we’d traveled. My only distance markers were the guess at the county signs and knowing the foot of the bridge was ½ way done. Jeff (we’re on a first name basis now, it has been 8 weeks) kept encouraging me through the training ap that played on my phone as we made it across the water from Clearwater to Tampa.

It took 1:48 and we finished the longest distance of our lives. First, we finished – being the biggest victory. I was so nervous about my stamina on this run that my sister was on alert in case I collapsed or some other calamity overtook me. Second, we did it 12 minutes quicker than I thought we would. It was before 10 PM when we arrived at the car and chugged both water and Gatorade – but we made it.

Things I learned – it’s OK to drink sports drinks, but I will allow myself that ONLY on long runs. (For the regular person, go for it. For me, who’s battled weight my entire life, I am skittish about beverages that have sugar and calories – it’s engrained, leave me be.)

To start off last Friday, I had barely slept the night before as I was so nervous about the run – which is the worst way to start. I did drink water all day long, and ate oatmeal with peanut butter 2.5 hours before the run to help fuel me up. I can’t stand being hungry when working out, I get hangry real quick and everyone suffers.


After I parked the car to start the run, I chugged the new Energize pre-workout formula from the Team Beachbody Performance Line. I believe this helped to keep me going without any surge or crash throughout my workout. I didn’t stop or quit the entire 8 miles, and Energize helped to keep me focused and motivated the entire way. (This is an informative review of my experience, but I am also a Team Beachbody Coach if you are interested.). I finished and felt better than expected at the end, again considering this was my longest run EVER!

I was a hot, sweaty mess, but I finished. I didn’t collapse, no ambulances needed (which was a real fear for me before starting), and my sister received no emergency calls. This was a victory all the way around.

By the time I got home I was thoroughly nauseated – it was the most grueling physical experience of my life. I sat in a bath of Epsom salts and watched Netflix feeling too wired to sleep, but too tired to move. I knew I was bound to wake up hungry, so I sipped my dinner of Vanilla Shakeology blended with the Recover (Speeds muscle recovery, promotes lean muscle synthesis, combats exercise-induced muscle soreness, and improves muscle strength recovery.) while trying to calm my body down.

The next day – I didn’t hurt. I was stiff, and my hips a bit sore – but that’s more from the weight I gained during the challenges of the past two years. Late in the day I suffered from a migraine, but that’s par for the course in my world. Overall, I would do it all again. Which is a good conclusion as I have 9.8 miles in two weeks! Thanks, Jeff;)

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