Suffering Sixteen

in Marathon Training

Somehow, I survived my horrendous long run this morning.


It was rough.  I really didn’t know if I was going to make it through my long run this morning.  Since I am in Florida, I missed my half marathon and the chance to run in cooler, less oppressive weather.  Sixteen miles in Florida was ROUGH.  But I pulled through, reminding myself that what metaphorically doesn’t kill me makes me a stronger runner. 


Pre-run breakfast:



Pretty standard bowl of oatmeal:


  • 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup soy milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 banana
  • Toppings: berries, almonds, brown sugar


Now, normally I go for a more stick-to-your-ribs pre-run meal (PB sandwich), but at this point, I wasn’t sure I was actually going to go running.  After consulting with the family, everyone agreed it would be best for me just to get my long run out of the way.


Once it was agreed that I should run, I ate an English muffin for extra fuel:


Sophie (my sister-in-law) and the Husband followed me the entire time on their bikes.  It was nice to have company even if I felt way too overwhelmed by the distance to do much talking.


My goal was to run 16.0 miles at “dream” marathon pace (10:30).  I don’t have a true goal for my marathon, but of course, I like to fantasize about beating my previous marathon time of 4:54.  A 10:30 pace would put me in around 4:35, and I would be thoroughly impressed with myself if I could actually do this.


I decided to bring about 300 calories with me on the run.  I have definitely been skimping on mid-run fueling (mostly out of sheer laziness), but I knew 16.0 miles would require lots of fuel.


The run was… trying.  Emotionally and physically.  Around Mile 12.0, everything (EVERYTHING) started to hurt.  My butt was sore, my arms were sore, my back was sore, my freaking lips were sore from breathing too hard.  I decided to start implementing a walk/run strategy in which I would walk every mile for 0.05 miles.  It was a nice boost and didn’t seem to impact my overall pace.


The last mile was the worst.  The worst.  I was alternating between feeling great and feeling like I was going to hurl all over the sidewalk, and if I didn’t have the Husband right by my side, encouraging me to hold on, I would’ve walked the entire last mile. 


Funnily enough, the Husband has actually never seen me do a long run before (besides watching at races and whatnot) and said he was pretty impressed by the whole thing.  “I never really realized how long it takes to run so far!” he said. “When you leave for a run, I always end up doing other things and don’t really appreciate how long you’re gone for.”  You’re telling me!


Finally, I was done.  I collapsed on the sidewalk and begged the Husband to bring me water and bread.


  • Distance: 16.0 miles
  • Duration: 2:47
  • Average Pace: 10:27 (with walking breaks! Booyah!)


I showered and got dressed as quickly as possible, and then the family went to the beach for a late lunch.


I ate almonds on the way:


And iced my knees in the car (now they feel fine.  Ah, the power of ice!):


Lunch was at my favorite little beachside joint, the Java Joint.  We’ve been eating here for years, and it’s always nice to go back when we’re in town with my in-laws’.

IMG_2772 IMG_2773


I started with a side salad:


And ordered the HUGE Burrito (the official name), which comes with eggs, hash browns, sour cream, and cheese:



After lunch, the family somehow convinced me to go for a walk on the beach!  The last thing I wanted to do was move my legs some more, but it’s really true that the extra circulation does your legs wonders.  I feel so much better now!







Gonna catch a few Z’s before we go to a neighbor’s dinner party… I hope they know that I plan to demolish their buffet with my marathon appetite!



  • Joanne September 25, 2010, 5:37 pm

    You will do GREAT in your next marathon. I’ve followed you for so long and the endurance events you have accomplished are amazing. Set 3 goals for yourself in that marathon. I bet you’ll really be surprised at what that body can do.
    Florida looks wonderful. Relish the time with family. It’s so important.

    • Caitlin September 26, 2010, 10:33 am

      That’s a good idea… An A, B, and C goal

    • tina September 26, 2010, 6:02 pm

      So true! I always have 3 for the marathon… A) Pipe dream goal… under 4 hours… someday. B) realistic but really pushing it. Last year it was 4:10 and I beat it by 2 min 13 seconds last year and my C) I can totally live with that time… this year its 4:30 after an injury the front part of the year kept me out of the training I had hoped for a strong base. But Guess what? The fact that we can even RUN 26.2 miles is extraordinarily amazing in itself.

      • Joanne September 26, 2010, 7:35 pm

        What a great outlook. Those goal definitions: pipe dream, realistic, and liveable, are what my coaching buddy tells me he sets for himself. It’s tough not to keep playing that “pipe dream” over and over in your mind. I guess it comes down to mile 23, then see if there is enough left to make that dream a reality. Good luck in all your runs. Injury free!

  • Alayna @ Thyme Bombe September 25, 2010, 5:37 pm

    Congrats on making it through the 16! And can I just say, your knee band tan lines cracked me up. Hope that doesn’t make you feel bad, I think it’s kind of a badge of honor in a way. 🙂

  • Lauren (Clean Eats in the Dirty South) September 25, 2010, 5:45 pm

    i’m so glad i’m not the only person who has knee sleeve tan lines. just sayin.

  • Kristy @ KristyRuns September 25, 2010, 5:45 pm

    Great job! Although they completely suck, it’s runs like those that really prepare you for a marathon. Awww, yeah! 🙂

    Enjoy the rest of your time with the fam.

  • Sarah for Real September 25, 2010, 5:51 pm

    You freaking rock! Way to impress the boys 😉

    That was so sweet of him to join you! You are a very lucky lady.

  • Laurie September 25, 2010, 5:56 pm

    Your MIL is beautiful. Great job on the run!! I am glad you are able to have some nice time despite the family emergency.

  • chelsey @ clean eating chelsey September 25, 2010, 5:56 pm

    Nice job! I don’t think many people actually think about the actual long runs, even when they do watch you in a race because they only see you at specific points. Kudos to the husband for admitting that!

    Have fun at the dinner party – it’s great when there’s buffets and you don’t have to paaay!!!

  • Freya September 25, 2010, 5:59 pm

    What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger right?
    I seriously love how honest you are about you’re running – it is SO great (in a not-great way..) to hear that even amazing incredible runners like you hit problems sometimes! And the fact that you finished is awesome 🙂 I’ve got a personal record distance of 18miles to run tomorrow, and you’ve inspired me to finish it no matter what 😀

    • Caitlin September 26, 2010, 10:34 am

      I bet you’re going to kick that 18 milers’ butt!

      • Freya September 26, 2010, 10:54 am

        I did!! 😀 The first 5miles SUCKED (i felt hugely ill – 1/2hr is not enough digestion time!) but I finished in 2hr59 😀 😀 I kept thinking ‘Caitlin finished her 16, even though it was hell – so can i!’

  • christina cadden September 25, 2010, 6:00 pm

    Good job! That burrito really is huge!

  • Michele September 25, 2010, 6:04 pm

    Congrats on completing the run today.

    And you took some especially exceptional beach photos today. Isn’t it funny how sometimes every photo seems to turn out so wonderful? Today is one of those days for you.

  • Lauren @ September 25, 2010, 6:07 pm

    WOW! Great Job with all those miles!! I did 12 today and could barely finish..You Rock!

  • adriana September 25, 2010, 6:12 pm

    I also had a ROUGH 18 mile run. I also blame it on hotter weather and improperly fueling before the marathon. hey, we learn from these kinds of runs. like what not to do on race day!

  • Molly @fuelherup September 25, 2010, 6:15 pm

    I HATE sour cream, but so many people love it! The burrito does look pretty epic, though!

    16 miles is a tough one! Way to go!

  • Jessica @ The Process of Healing September 25, 2010, 6:15 pm

    You rock girl!! So many people have no idea how much it takes to run that far!

  • Rachel September 25, 2010, 6:16 pm

    I’m glad to hear you pushed through your run – congratulations! Looks like an amazingggg breakfast!!!

  • Gabriella Roselli September 25, 2010, 6:22 pm

    i’ve planned 8 miles for tomorrow which is my longest run yet. since i’ve only been running longer distances for 2 months, i’m amazed i can do that without thinking negatively but i do rely on walk/run a lot to get me through. i’ll just be happy to finish it, i really want to reach double digits by mid october. youre such an inspiration!

  • Camille September 25, 2010, 6:25 pm

    Oh man, that’s rough!
    I hate doing long runs when I’m just not feeling it.
    Good for you for finishing strong!

  • Katherine @ Left Coast Contessa September 25, 2010, 6:27 pm

    Congrats on making it though the run. I don’t know how people who live in warm, humid climates do it. Its going to be 90 degrees tomorrow and I’m too freaked out to even try for ten miles in that weather.

  • Rebecca September 25, 2010, 6:28 pm

    Congrats on the run!! I’m glad you had some support throughout. 🙂
    And I love, love, LOVE the beach photos, especially the first three! So cute! =)

  • sarah September 25, 2010, 6:29 pm

    is that really the sidewalk in the picture? nice job completing the 16!

    • Caitlin September 25, 2010, 6:40 pm

      haha yes.

  • Kristina @ spabettie September 25, 2010, 6:31 pm

    how do you like the Espresso Love gu?? I am skeptical until I hear a good review… 😀

    Woo HOO for a good long run!! that burrito looks like The BOMB.

    Hope all is well with your family, you are in my thoughts.

    • Caitlin September 26, 2010, 10:34 am

      it was alright. it wasn’t super thick, just coffee flavored. disappointed to see that there was no caffeine in it.

  • RhodeyGirl September 25, 2010, 6:34 pm

    I hope everything is ok with your family. Keeping you all in my thoughts!

    I sent this post to PB. He ran 15 miles for the first time today and was feeling discouraged at how difficult it was. I think he will feel good to know that even a really experienced runner like yourself has good runs and hard runs. Thanks for being so honest!

  • Marie-JourneyToBodyZen September 25, 2010, 6:35 pm

    Caitlin, how long do you wait after eating to go on your runs? I *finally* made it to 3 miles today! Super excited. I’ve noticed that I get really nauseated if I eat too soon (between a half hour to an hour) before running. So, today I had the not-so-wise idea to not eat at all. It definitely impacted my stamina. So, I’m trying to find that balance of when to eat. 🙂

    • Caitlin September 25, 2010, 6:40 pm

      i can eat soon (30 minutes) but generally i have a stomach of steel!

  • Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen) September 25, 2010, 6:41 pm

    Caitlin, you are truly an inspiration! I hope things are ok with your family. I know things are tough and you all being together on so many levels is really the best.

    Congratulations on the run. Have mercy on that buffet!

  • Alice September 25, 2010, 6:44 pm

    WOw I am so impressed! Even though it was a hard run you still beat your ideal time!!!! YAY!!! Go girl!

    I hope I can run that far some day! Setting off for a 10k this morning in the new Spring sunshine. 🙂

  • mindy @ just a one girl revolution. September 25, 2010, 6:44 pm

    Great job toughing it out!!! 🙂

  • sarah k. @ the pajama chef September 25, 2010, 6:47 pm

    good job on that run!

  • MegaNerd September 25, 2010, 7:02 pm

    Great job on the run this morning! We missed you at Miracle Miles! I wish you could have been there. It was a really tough race for me, though.

    Ps… LOVING the knee sleeves tan line 🙂

    • Caitlin September 26, 2010, 10:36 am

      I missed you more!!!

      Knee sleeves forever.

  • Kate D September 25, 2010, 7:04 pm

    Great job on the run! My mind can’t fathom running that long.

    I really need to visit Florida. Its about time I go somewhere with a real sandy beach.

  • Liz @ Tip Top Shape September 25, 2010, 7:12 pm

    That “pretty standard” bowl of oatmeal looks delicoius!

    Congrats on completing the 16 miles!!

  • Jill September 25, 2010, 7:21 pm

    I am a true believer in the walk-run method for long runs. I walk for 1 minute every 10 minutes/mile (if I know the mile markers) on any run more than 6 miles. I did this method in a half-marathon last spring and set a PR! 2:04- my previous had been 2:11. In fact I’m running a half tomorrow and plan to use this method.

    The toughest part is to take the walk breaks in the first few miles when I feel great. But giving your ‘run’ muscles breaks from the get-go is the key to staying strong at the end. Check out anything by Jeff Galloway for more on this method.

    (I know there are some people who think it’s against the rules to walk during races, but who cares what other people think?)

    • Caitlin September 26, 2010, 10:36 am

      I heart walking… a lot.

  • Stacey September 25, 2010, 7:30 pm

    I’m glad that you decided to go on your run after all. 16 miles is a LONGGGG way to go, and if the weather here in NC was in the 90’s, I can’t imagine what it was down there! How sweet of the hubby to follow along with you 😀 Next time I go for a long run, I’m askin Jason to do the same, haha 🙂 Hope you have a good rest of the day Caitlin!

  • Heather September 25, 2010, 7:31 pm

    I know others have already commented on it but I love the knee sleeve tan lines, too funny! love the family beach pics, so cute!

  • Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin September 25, 2010, 7:43 pm

    Way to go on the 16 miles! You’re amazing for pushing through, even when it got tough! I can’t even wrap my head around that distance. I did 4 miles today and I was totally beat afterwards. 😛

  • Cheryl September 25, 2010, 7:57 pm

    Great long run…Have to laugh at your knee-band tanned legs though in the first picture! I used to walk in my Keen’s until someone asked me if I had a skin disease. The tan lines were pretty funky.

  • caronae September 25, 2010, 8:06 pm

    Hang in there girl — sometimes the long runs ain’t pleasant, but you got it done and that’s what matters. I, on the other hand have not run in two days and am feeling major marathon-training guilt. Ugh!

  • Annie@stronghealthyfit September 25, 2010, 8:18 pm

    Great job! You continue to inspire me as a runner 🙂

  • Nicole of Raspberry Stethoscope September 25, 2010, 8:35 pm

    Do you use frozen berries for your oatmeal? I notice you always have them and was just curious. ps: you rock!!

    • Caitlin September 26, 2010, 10:37 am

      No they are fresh. It’s kind of still season down in the South. They aren’t ridiculously expensive yet.

  • Tonyne @ Unlikely Success Story September 25, 2010, 8:36 pm

    I have a 12 mile run in the morning, it will Be my longest run yet. I had planned to cut it short for various reasons, after reading this, I changed my mind. Thank you for that.

    • Caitlin September 26, 2010, 10:37 am

      <3 wahoo!

      • Tonyne @ The Unlikely Success Story September 26, 2010, 2:12 pm

        I did it! I actually thought about this post during my run too, especially the parts where you described your struggles and how the husband and your sis-in-law cheered you on! I felt like I had imaginary you guys with me. Weird, but Those last few miles left me hallucinating a wee bit. :p

  • hippierunner September 25, 2010, 9:04 pm

    Awesome job for reaching your goal time! Sorry that the end of your run was so difficult but high-five for persevering!

  • Wei-Wei September 25, 2010, 9:05 pm

    Wow, that’s amazing! Great, GREAT run. Even if it was hard, you got through it, AND at a pace that you’re happy about – it’s not easy! You’re awesome 😀

  • Runeatrepeat September 25, 2010, 9:07 pm

    I had a super rough long run today and the last mile was the worst too 🙁 Glad we powered through it!

  • Alexa @ The Girl In Chucks September 25, 2010, 9:14 pm

    Good for you for not quitting! That’s pretty rock star of you. Awesome.

  • Mary September 25, 2010, 9:20 pm

    Way to power through! that is exactly how I felt on my 20 miler on tuesday.

  • Michele September 25, 2010, 9:32 pm

    CONGRATULATIONS – you rocked the day! Way to stick it out and push through!!!

  • Susan@MomSwimBikeRun September 25, 2010, 9:48 pm

    Way to push through a tough run! I’m “skeered” of marathon training so it’s nice to know it’s possible and there will be bad days but you get through!

  • Monica September 25, 2010, 9:53 pm

    Great job on your run! So impressive that you ran that distance, especially in Florida heat!

  • kirsten September 25, 2010, 10:07 pm

    congrats on pushing through your run!!

  • Caitlin September 25, 2010, 10:40 pm

    Breakfast Burrito! Man’s greatest foodie feat. Good job finishing your run, and what a nice husband for accompanying you!

  • Marina September 26, 2010, 2:09 am

    Congratulations, you are really amazingly strong.
    I hope everything is ok with your family!

  • Stacey (The Habit of Healthy) September 26, 2010, 3:29 am

    Well done on the long run! The shots of the beach look stunning.

  • Little Bookworm September 26, 2010, 4:47 am

    Congratulations on the sixteen miles!

  • JL goes Vegan September 26, 2010, 6:54 am

    Great job on that run! (nice pace!)

  • Jen September 26, 2010, 9:38 am

    Great job on the long run! And trust me, the half marathon did not offer cooler temps 🙁

  • Natalia - a side of simple September 26, 2010, 10:46 am

    Pretty sure I’m going to be dreaming about that HUGE burrito until I get one…

  • Missy Miller September 26, 2010, 11:37 am

    Welcome to Florida!

    It is pretty great that you got your run in anyway –I hope it alleviated some of the stress of the unexpectd road trips and family issues.


  • Clare September 26, 2010, 4:06 pm

    1) I had to laugh when you described as not fueling properly during a SIXTEEN MILE RUN as “lazy.”

    2) I really admire how you keep up your workouts even when life interrupts your plans.

  • Aj September 26, 2010, 9:12 pm

    Just catching up on missed HTP posts! I have been struggling in the heat here in LA too. Luckily I too have had company. I am impressed your goal for your full marathon is 10:30 pace. I am aiming for that for my next half! I can’t imagine going one step beyond 13.1 at that pace (heck I’m not even sure I can make 13.1 at that pace!). Way to stick out the long run. They suck – both time and emotion – but it’s nice to have them done and feel proud for the rest of the day!

  • Lisa September 27, 2010, 2:02 pm

    Well it sounds like you’re having a hard time emotionally with what’s going on with your family. No wonder your run suffered! Don’t feel too bad. The next run will be better.

  • Larissa September 27, 2010, 4:11 pm

    Hye well i recetnly have read about a cure to osteocondromalacia of the Patella aka Runners Knee. I thik this is someting you have mentioned and wasnt sure if this is a cure you have tried before. The pain comes from lateral patella tracking cause by hyperpronation. the hyperpronation of the foot causes excessive rotation of the tibia and femur moving the patella out of place= pain. Anyway a lot of people were experiencing this in the late 70 when there was a running fad and the solution was simple- ORTHOTICS. Orthotics prevent the hyper pronation and can be a great cure for many with runners knee.

    Congrats on beasting your run!

    • Caitlin September 27, 2010, 6:56 pm

      i’ve got them and they really help!!! 🙂

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