This week’s long run was suppose to be 18 miles (per the training plan I created for myself) but I kind of always knew that it would really be a 20 miler.  After all, I’m only 3 weeks out from my marathon, and it’s pretty much now or never!


For my first (and only) marathon, Megan and I ran our 20 miler in 3:27:48, but that number is kind of deceiving because we really pushed it the last 5 miles (not a maintainable race day pace).  Realistically, it was more like 3:32 or so.  And of course, around Mile 18 of the actual Disney Marathon, my pace completely fell apart, climbing as high as 13:55/mile.


But today was SO different. With a little help from Nicole and Emma, I smashed 20 miles in 3:25:34 – an average pace of 10:17!

IMG_3597 IMG_3595

(Side note: Emma’s trophy is because 1) she’s awesome and 2) she won it at the Half Marathon were suppose to do together a few weekends ago, but Jen gave it to me to give to her because she missed the award ceremony.)

(In case you can’t tell, that’s a painting of Nicole and I! Hehe)


Honestly, I feel like I borrowed someone else’s body for this 20 mile run.  I felt so ridiculously strong the entire time.  I took walking breaks every now and then, but at no point did the run feel like torture.  <– Evidence that I’ve been fueling right and treating my body well!  Good 20 mile runs do NOT happen on accident.


I ran the first three miles with Nicole, and then Emma joined up to do 12 with me (her marathon is in December).  I was alone with my iPod for the last 5 miles, but it was fine!  I actually relished being able to pop my earbuds in and just zone out.


I took walking breaks when I wanted to up until Mile 15, but then I started to walk/run with regularity.  Every mile, I took a 0.05 mile walking break, but it didn’t impact my overall pace at all.


Newer runners – don’t ever let someone telling you that you aren’t “allowed” to walk.  Walking is the bomb!  Repeat after me:  It is OK to walk! 


Pre-run snack was the usual PB sandwich with a banana:


Mid-run fuel included about 200 calories of Gatorade and a bag of dates, which actually worked out quite well.




  • Distance: 20 epic miles
  • Duration: 3:25:34
  • Average Pace: 10:17


Came home, ordered Thai food, showered, and then walked to get Thai.  Yes, walking to get Thai food after running 20.0 miles is kind of a sick joke on your legs.  But the place is sooo close to my house that getting into the car felt like a waste of time.


No, Thai food.  Thank you.


Wonderful bowl of Tofu Pad Thai with extra veggies, extra sauce, and a spring roll on the side.  More food will be going inside my belly as soon as there is room!


Feeling on Cloud 9… Marathon, here I come!  Only 3 weeks to go!


(If anyone else is going the Spinx Marathon, Half, or 5K, e-mail me! I’m organizing a pre-race meet-up!)



  • Freya October 8, 2010, 12:44 pm

    Wow. So well done to you!! You are seriously incredible! I’ve got my 1st 20miler on Sunday (my marathon is the 31st) and I’m SO scared!! What are your top tips!? And you said you’ve been treating your body right/fueling well etc – kind of a big question, but what exactly did that involve? Like, lots of sleep or lots of pasta!? I really really want to rock Sunday, cos I had an awful one last weekend 🙁

    • Caitlin October 8, 2010, 12:48 pm

      Get in a good head space. That’s the most important thing. Build it up in your mind like it’s going to be freaking awesome.

      In terms of eating right, I mean overall over the last few weeks. I think eating a bit more (but not a ton more because that can lead to poop issues) the night before is good, too.

      I’m sure other people have good tips, too! I hope they share them.

      • Freya October 8, 2010, 1:11 pm

        Ok, thank you 🙂 I kinda think 80% of long run success is mental – I sure discovered that last week!
        And major LOL, ”but not a ton more because that can lead to poop issues’ 🙂

  • amanda @ Hungry Vegan Traveler October 8, 2010, 12:44 pm

    If I had a good Thai restaurant within walking distance of my house, I’d be in trouble!

  • Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday October 8, 2010, 12:46 pm

    First congrats on your AMAZING pace!!

    Secondly, holy yum! Now you have me craving some thai

  • Cyndi @ Weightless Life October 8, 2010, 12:47 pm

    Congratulations! Don’t you love it when runs feel amazing?

  • Kristina @ spabettie October 8, 2010, 12:48 pm

    AWESOME! that is such a great feeling when you feel so strong… if that were me I’d be eating & sleeping & exercising EXACTLY the same as you have been… for the next three weeks! 😉

    your thai is making me hungry… it’s only 9am here.

  • Megan (The Runner's Kitchen) October 8, 2010, 12:49 pm

    Congratulations!!! These are the kind of runs that keep us coming back for more 🙂

    And your thai food looks like a delicious way to refuel, yum.

  • Sarah October 8, 2010, 12:50 pm

    Thank you for continuing to remind us that it’s okay to walk! I used that mantra during my most recent long run and it made all the difference in the world!

  • Leanne @ Simplicitlee October 8, 2010, 12:52 pm

    Great job Caitlin! The longest I’ve run is a 10km but I know what you mean when you have a run that comes so naturally you have moments where you truly think “is this me running?”

    I can’t wait to hear your recap in a couple weeks!

    And to think, you thought you would never run another marathon again! 😉

  • Exercise and Eat October 8, 2010, 12:54 pm

    Congrats, Caitlin! You’re amazing – can’t wait to see you do that well in a couple of weeks! And your Thai looks delicious:)

  • Julie October 8, 2010, 12:54 pm

    I’m doing my 1st of 2 20-milers for the San Antonio Rock n Roll (11/14) tomorrow! So 20 this weekend, 12 the next, and 20 the week after. While I’ve done lots of 20’s over the past couple of years, they are always daunting but maybe about half of them turn out surreal like yours.

  • Alexa @ The Girl In Chucks October 8, 2010, 12:55 pm

    Congrats on your strong 20 miler!

    I really like reading on HTP about the fact that it is okay to walk. I just feel so lame when I set out for a run and I wind up walking. When it’s only 3 miles (and I’ve run 2 5Ks now without stopping, so I know I CAN do it), I just feel like I should push through that. Thing is, sometimes I just want to walk.

  • Jessica@tastyandtrim October 8, 2010, 12:56 pm

    You are amazing! You seriously inspire me to go out and run! Reading posts like this shows me that it is possible to work up to running long distances comfortably. Can’t wait to hear about how great your marathon goes – I know you will rock it for sure 🙂

  • Holly @ couchpotatoathlete October 8, 2010, 12:56 pm

    Congrats on a great run Caitlin! When I was training for my marathon my 20 miler went badly — I stopped at 16 because I had unbearable knee pain. Looks like you are READY for that marathon!

    I do have those feelings of “having someone else’s body” when exercising — it feels amazing!

  • Mama Pea October 8, 2010, 12:59 pm

    “No, Thai food…thank you!” I spit out my oats.

  • Shelly October 8, 2010, 1:00 pm

    Man, that pad thai looks amazing. Maybe that’s what I’ll have after my 10 miler this afternoon.
    Glad you had an awesome run!

  • Stacey @ The Habit of Healthy October 8, 2010, 1:01 pm

    Woohoo! You rock girl! EPIC!!!

  • Callie October 8, 2010, 1:02 pm

    I think it had something to do with the Bondi Band. 🙂 Great job!

  • Wei-Wei October 8, 2010, 1:03 pm

    Congratulations on the awesome run Caitlin! You seriously are ROCKING those distance runs!

  • Ali October 8, 2010, 1:04 pm

    Great job on the 20 miler. My run was super fast last night (8:57 min/miles) and felt like I has borrowed someone elses body too. I know the feeling!

    I am totally craving Thai food now that looks amazing!

  • Lorinda October 8, 2010, 1:05 pm

    There is nothing better than a fantastic run followed by fantastic food. Congrats!!!

  • Kelly October 8, 2010, 1:07 pm

    It’s such an awesome feeling have a great long run! Awesome job!

  • Brittney October 8, 2010, 1:08 pm

    You ROCK Caitlin!! Great job! I am inspired (as usual!)!

  • Liz @ Tip Top Shape October 8, 2010, 1:08 pm

    Ha, love the painting! I don’t know how you run 20 miles straight. I know I could never do it!

  • JenATX October 8, 2010, 1:08 pm

    i LOVE hearing about the amazing things that other people are doing.. it makes me just want to go attack the day. So with that in mind, I am off to study an equivalent of 20 miles (outline the entire semester of Crim Law!)

  • Chelsea at Striking Balance October 8, 2010, 1:09 pm

    Wow! Good job, Caitlin! You are going to rock that marathon!

  • Tina October 8, 2010, 1:09 pm

    How fantastic. I would feel on cloud 9 too. 🙂

  • LindseyAnn October 8, 2010, 1:11 pm

    Thai food is a great post-long-run reward! Great job today! 🙂

  • Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine October 8, 2010, 1:11 pm

    Oh my gosh, congrats!! 20 miles sounds like such a daunting number, well done! Thai food sounds so good right now….I love me some spice 🙂

  • Jessica October 8, 2010, 1:15 pm

    Awesome job! Thanks for your notes on it being okay to walk.

  • Becky October 8, 2010, 1:15 pm

    Great Job! I’ve heard that the most important meal for fueling your long run/race is lunch the day before – I was just wondering what you eat for that meal? thanks!

    • Caitlin October 8, 2010, 1:17 pm

      Yesterday I had a cheesy/brown rice casserole + tofu + apple + slice of bread for lunch.

      • Becky October 8, 2010, 1:26 pm

        hm, maybe I went a bit overboard with the huge plate of whole wheat pasta marinara then! 🙂 I’m still working on the right fuel. Some days are great, some not.

  • Tay October 8, 2010, 1:17 pm

    Seriously walking breaks are great! I’ve been doing .05-.1 walk breaks throughout this whole training, and it really doesn’t effect much pace at all. It bugged me when my mom said “Are you going to run the whole race without walking?” and when I said “Well, I’ll walk about 45 seconds every mile or so. She was like “Oh.” Like it’s not RUNNING a race then. Oh dear.

    Great job on your run!!!

  • Jess @ atasteofconfidence October 8, 2010, 1:19 pm

    Awesome job! Your running stories are very inspiring for a beginner runner like me:)

  • Amanda Davis October 8, 2010, 1:20 pm

    Congrats! That’s really awesome!

  • Tiffany (Stuffed with Fluff) October 8, 2010, 1:22 pm

    First of all, great job on the run!

    Second of all (and most importantly), thai food sounds divine right now. I’m THISCLOSE to saving my packed lunch for dinner and getting thai food now!

  • Lindsay @ The Ketchup Diaries October 8, 2010, 1:22 pm

    You are so amazing! Congrats. The next time I’m struggling on a run, I’m going to say: Caitlin told me it is OKAY to walk. Seriously – I really am. You may here me all the way from MA 🙂

  • Lee October 8, 2010, 1:27 pm

    I always take walk breaks. They make running longer distances so much easier because you know that in X number of minutes, you’ll be able to walk again. Great job!

  • Carly (Swim, Run, Om) October 8, 2010, 1:28 pm

    I can NOT believe your marathon is only three weeks away, it feels like just last week when you announced you’d be doing another one. And I miss Thai food so, so much … the closest we have here is this rinky dink place with toucan wallpaper …

  • Nicole @ yuppie yogini October 8, 2010, 1:29 pm

    I kinda think we are hot little stick figures 😉

  • Gavi @ GaviGetsGoing! October 8, 2010, 1:32 pm

    Congratulations on the awesome run–it is the most amazing feeling, isn’t it?! I’m hoping to feel that way on Sunday after my first half-marathon! Way to go staying strong, fueling well, and keeping positive–it’s a recipe for success! 🙂

  • Lauren @ merrymishaps October 8, 2010, 1:33 pm

    That’s awesome, what a great run!

    And yes, walking is OK! It bugs me when people beat themselves up about having to walk during training runs or races. You’re still moving forward, it doesn’t matter that it’s slower!

  • Gracie (complicated day) October 8, 2010, 1:34 pm

    Great 20 miler! You must have a great tummy to handle dried fruit on a run. I ate prunes before a 20 miler once. Whatever you are imagining right now is pretty much what happened. Ugh.

  • Trish October 8, 2010, 1:41 pm

    I used to not be okay with stopping. But then I started seeing you taking breaks and I decided I wasn’t a failure for stopping or slowing down. And actually, taking a break to drink from the water fountain and catch my breathe actually helps me – I end up being able to go further because I gave my body a chance to recover. I take a break and then I am recharged.

  • Katie @ Healthy Heddleston October 8, 2010, 1:42 pm

    Great job Caitlin! You are going to rock that marathon!

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat October 8, 2010, 1:45 pm

    Congrats Caitlin! That sounds like an amazing run. I’ll admit, my runs lately haven’t been feeling too great – sort of like my legs are made of lead – but I think I just need a good day of rest this weekend. Can’t wait to get that effortless feeling back! Amazing job!

  • Heather October 8, 2010, 1:51 pm

    good job! aren’t thsoe the best runs? you feel on top of the world all day!!! I hope to have that feeling again soon (hopefully tomorrow at my race ha)

  • carlee October 8, 2010, 1:53 pm

    Good Job!!
    That painting is so cute. You should totally frame it!!
    I’m glad you are feeling so good on your race I know You will do great, you have prepared sooo much!

  • Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen) October 8, 2010, 1:58 pm

    That is awesome Caitlin! I am so glad you feel good afterwards! That is what it is all about. Enjoy the rest of your day and be kind to your legs this afternoon!

  • Callie @ Callieflower Kitchen October 8, 2010, 2:01 pm

    You’re awesome Caitlin! Sounds like you’re ready to rock your marathon 🙂

  • Tehsina October 8, 2010, 2:01 pm

    Wow! Congrats on your run! Your marathon will be a breeze =)
    Enjoy your Thai food!

  • Andrea (@ Puppy Dog Tales) October 8, 2010, 2:04 pm

    I’m so happy to hear that it’s really okay to walk some. Did you take walk breaks even when you did shorter distances?

  • Lily @ Lily's Health Pad October 8, 2010, 2:17 pm

    Wow! A 10:17 20-miler is NO joke! Kudos to you. I do have a differing opinion about walking though. 😉

    I’m considering doing the Spinx 5k, as I actually grew up in Greenvile…er, Easley, but I have to convince Stephen to travel there with me on Halloween weekend.

  • Kerry October 8, 2010, 2:21 pm

    I love those strong run days! Kudos! 🙂

  • Susan October 8, 2010, 2:26 pm

    I bet your legs needed some light movement after pounding out 20 miles! Sitting on my bum all day after running that far sounds way more torturous for stiff muscles. Also, I MUCH prefer dates and gatorade for mid-run fuel to icky gels. Congrats on the strong training run!!! 😀

  • Natalie October 8, 2010, 2:58 pm

    Your toes look so pretty after all the pavement pounding…I’m quite impressed! Mine usually look ragged and toenail-less 🙂

  • Eva October 8, 2010, 3:03 pm

    This post made me ridiculously happy — congratulations Caitlin! So good to have an awesome, strong, long run — you can do this!!

  • sarah k. @ the pajama chef October 8, 2010, 3:08 pm

    way to go!

  • Sarah (Running to Slow Things Down) October 8, 2010, 3:14 pm

    AMEN! Walking breaks are a-okay, and I’m glad to hear fellow runners spreading the news. 😀

    Great job on your fabulous 20-miler!! You’re going to smash that marathon. 😀

  • Stacey October 8, 2010, 3:25 pm

    Yeah for a good run! Slash good and put AWESOME there 😉 You go girl! Feeling strong after and during a 20 mile run has got to feel amazing 😀 Enjoy the rest of your day,you have definitely earned it 😉
    p.s. love the drawing 🙂 who knew that you had those sorts of artistic talents?? haha

  • Kris October 8, 2010, 3:29 pm

    Great job! Thanks for reminding us it’s okay to walk. I couldn’t run w/o a few walk breaks. I hate it when people say their goal is “not to walk”. If it helps, DO IT!

  • Kacy October 8, 2010, 3:29 pm

    It makes me happy that you advocate walking. I will running 16, 18 and 20 in the next few weeks and I don’t think I could make it without walking. Walking rules!

  • Jamie @ Food in Real Life October 8, 2010, 3:37 pm

    YAY! I’m so glad you had a great run 🙂 I mean an EPIC run!

    You are going to rock this marathon. And I totally agree, walking is fine!

  • Natalia - a side of simple October 8, 2010, 3:40 pm

    Awesome run! And even better post-run fuel. LOVE Thai food!

  • Amber K October 8, 2010, 3:43 pm

    I love exercising and feeling super strong! It doesn’t happen as often as I’d like (still working on fueling right for my exercise). But it’s awesome!

  • Jaime Runs October 8, 2010, 3:47 pm

    Congrats on a great run!

  • chelsey @ clean eating chelsey October 8, 2010, 3:51 pm

    Go you!!! That must have felt awesome to do so well during your run today. Take out after 20 miles? Well deserved!

    Thanks for all your help this morning – Kristien already emailed me. You are wonderful.

  • thetreadmilldiaries October 8, 2010, 3:56 pm

    Fabulous job with the 20-miler. It doesn’t hurt that you had a great pre-run and during run snack. 🙂

  • Cindy October 8, 2010, 3:57 pm

    Great job on the run! I could tell how joyous you were throughout your post 🙂

  • Julia October 8, 2010, 3:59 pm

    Great job on the run! You really rocked it. i was wondering if when you take walking breaks if it makes your legs cramp up? I’ve had to walk a few times on my past couple long runs and it seems that when I try to start running again that my muscles have just locked into the walking mode and hate starting to run again. Any tips would be more than appreciated?

    • Caitlin October 8, 2010, 4:01 pm

      I try to walk quickly while I take breaks and then I transition back into running – i.e. go from walking to speedy walking to jogging to running. also, do it on the grass if you can (its softer!)

      • Julia October 8, 2010, 4:13 pm

        Thanks, I’ll definitely try that method!

  • Carla October 8, 2010, 4:03 pm

    Congrats on a great 20 miler! That is amazing!! I’m doing the half-Marathon at Spinx! Hope to meet you!

  • Little Bookworm October 8, 2010, 4:09 pm

    Congratulations on the fantastic run! 😀

  • diana October 8, 2010, 4:29 pm

    oooh i miss eating spring rolls!!!!

  • Ramona October 8, 2010, 4:33 pm

    Amen to walking for beginners (or anyone who wants to do it)! My husband and I use the Jeff Galloway training plans and we have gone much farther than we ever thought we could. Good job on running 20 miles!

  • Linzi @ Destination 26.2 October 8, 2010, 4:39 pm

    Congrats on your 20! My legs always feel better after a long run if I am able to walk it off a bit. I will notice that I am less sore the next day. People think I’m crazy that I may have just ran 20 miles and still want to walk to around. But it helps me so much!

    And yes – I think walking during marathon training is THE BOMB! I am currently training for my marathon using a 6 minute run/ 1 minute walk routine and LOVE it! 🙂

  • caronae October 8, 2010, 4:52 pm

    Nothing like a good long run! Yay! I have 20 on Sunday and am a wee bit nervous but am feeling hopeful after reading this. Positive thinking Caronae, positive thinking!

  • Leah @ Why Deprive? October 8, 2010, 4:59 pm

    Awesome job on the run!! That time is incredible.

    I WISH I had a good Thai place walking distance. Or even a short drive away. I LOVE Thai food, and I try and make my own but its never the same.

  • Lisa October 8, 2010, 6:24 pm

    There is NOTHING wrong with walking! Especially when in training. It took me a long time to be able to work up towards running 4, 7, 10 miles without walking. When I did the Hood to Coast relay race in August I successfully completed my 3 legs (17 miles total) without any walking. But if I had to walk, I wasn’t going to beat myself up. I wasn’t quite ready to be running 17 miles!

  • Aba October 8, 2010, 6:52 pm

    You did awesome job! Your running stories always inspire me. I love those strong run days, and love feeling on cloud 9. :-))

  • Suzanne October 8, 2010, 7:02 pm

    Thank you for writing this “Newer runners – don’t ever let someone telling you that you aren’t “allowed” to walk. Walking is the bomb! Repeat after me: It is OK to walk!”

    I’m a very new runner, just finished my first 5K and I always feel like I’m cheat when I talk a walk break. Thanks for saying it’s ok. It’s nice to know that long distance runners even take a walking break.

  • Caroline October 8, 2010, 7:30 pm

    I am so glad you said it is OK to walk! I have my second half marathon just two weeks away and I have been sick now for almost 3 weeks and haven’t run at all in over a week! But I know if I get better by this week…(I’m on enough medicine that this should be the case!) That I still hope to run/walk it instead of running the whole thing…because I still want to really do it!

    And how funny that I am in Charlotte and ate Tofu Pad Thai tonight too!!!

  • Jeni Wood October 8, 2010, 7:38 pm

    Congrats on the run!
    I’m running the Spinx HM. See you there!

  • Diana @ frontyardfoodie October 8, 2010, 9:07 pm

    Very nice!! I love those kind of runs! Of course I’ve never run twenty miles at once but I still know the feeling. hehe

  • Nikka B October 8, 2010, 9:43 pm

    You go girl!!!
    I LOVE this line, ‘Honestly, I feel like I borrowed someone else’s body for this 20 mile run.’
    Those moments are crazy when we feel thoroughly accomplished and powerful, they can kinda be an ‘out-of-body experience’ but they are so us…and this was SO YOU!

  • Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin October 9, 2010, 7:36 am

    Wow, you killed that run! That’s awesome that it went so smoothly. I agree it’s much better to take walking breaks than to push yourself and burn out.

  • Sana October 9, 2010, 12:46 pm

    You are so awesome!!! I am glad that you fuel and take care of your body! Run’s like that don’t just happen!

  • Monica October 9, 2010, 1:09 pm

    Congrats on the great run! It is always so refreshing when you feel the benefits of taking care of your body and giving it what it needs!

    Your thai looked super yummy!

  • Claire October 11, 2010, 11:24 am

    THANK YOU for constantly talking about walking breaks. All you ever hear is “I ran a x-miler…” and it’s disheartening for beginning runners that don’t understand that those runs have walks in them. I’m starting out and it’s so great to hear that you do a walk/run combo, even on or ESPECIALLY on your 20-miler run (congrats!)

  • Clare @ Fitting It All In October 11, 2010, 4:22 pm

    Congratulations!! I love getting in a good long run.

    Also – I’ve been wondering about the walking thing too. I always avoid it because I feel like my body CAN keep running, it’s just my mind telling me to stop. How do I know when I really should walk??

    • Caitlin October 11, 2010, 5:07 pm

      When I want to walk, I try to run for another 30 seconds and then reassess whether you still need to.

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