18 Mile Run–A Strong Effort

18 Mile Run–A Strong Effort

When I started running Sunday morning one of the first things going through my mind was… what I was going to call the 18 mile run blog post?  I have to admit my initial ideas were a bit ambitious; “18 Amazing Miles” or “18 Mile Run – Today was a Fairy Tale” were the front runners.  Turns out that was a serious case of optimism on my part because by mile 8 those titles were way on the back burner.

Now I don’t want you to worry, I finished the run and I didn’t feel that bad afterwards.  I’ve had plenty of BAD runs, especially way back in
April and May for my 9 and 10 milers.  My 18 miler wasn’t bad, but it was tough and I had to put some serious physical and mental power into keeping my goal pace.

I got up early because, while it was a mild morning in the 60’s, I knew as soon as the fog burned off that the sun was going to be blazing.  I had the runners breakfast of champions.


                                                                                      Oh, peanut butter, how I love you!

I head out and it’s still dark.  I haven’t had a lot of time to think about this run with everything going on, but I know I need to get my game face on.   I kept thinking that 16 miles was fine, so 18 wasn’t going to be that much different.


Woops, I keep forgetting sunrise gets later and later this time of year!

And, wearing the sunglasses seemed like a good idea at the time….


I put on my game face and gear.


Yes, I know this resembles a glorified fanny pack. 

The fashion gods are frowning on me.

I felt very quick and light when I started my run and probably went out a little too fast.  I caught myself making my legs slow down frequently.  By mile 5 this light feeling is long gone and my hips are starting feeling stiff.   I also started feeling the small blister on my foot that had popped up on a random 8 mile weekday run a couple weeks ago.  It’s a problem I have been having on and off since June.  I had coated my feet in the anti-chafing stuff and put a piece of mole skin on the problem area. But even with those precautions, I could feel it getting sore.

But I kept running…. and running… and running.  I stayed with my plan of gu every four miles and water every mile.  Eventually, I found if I was not paying attention to my pace I would start to fade off to almost a minute slower than my goal pace.  I had to really pay attention to keep my feet moving forward.  I focused extra attention on my form because my gut feeling was that the end of the run was going to be tough.

I was right.  I was feeling those miles at the end.  My hips were tight and I knew something was going on with my foot.  I did push through and made my last mile one of my strongest.

When I got home I was scared to take off my socks, thinking I was going to have a popped blister with raw skin.  What I found was much grosser in my opinion… a pretty large blood blister.  I really didn’t even know that was possible.


This is where I should put a picture of my gross blister, but who really wants to see that anyway….

Instead, here is another picture of Rhett and Reina because they are way cuter than my foot.

Today I dealt with the blister because it was pretty red.  I had a doctor look at it and it needs a little tlc (I’m once again sparing you gross details.)  I’m going to take a couple day break from running to let it heal back over.  I think that will be good for my foot and my tired legs.  Sometimes your body is trying to tell you it needs a couple days off.

I wasn’t upset that this run was tough though.  Although I did mutter to my husband…  “why am I doing this again…?” just once while I was stepping into the ridiculously frigid ice bath.  But I think sometimes in running, a struggle may be good for you.  I had to fight fatigue, stiff hips and a gross blood blister on my foot.  I proved to myself that I can be tough and stay with it.  I didn’t slow down or stop… I fought for my 18 miles.  So my 18 miles may not have been amazing, but it felt strong.  And I’m proud of that.

Maybe I’ll be able to pull out the title “20 miles of Awesomeness” in a few weeks Smile


Leave Comments below or answer these questions….

How do you overcome challenges like those I face on this run?

Runners— Have you ever had a “strong” run?


By | 2017-08-15T14:04:36-04:00 August 27th, 2012|Chicago Marathon, Fitness, Marathon Training, Newbie Running, Running|15 Comments


  1. Ken August 29, 2012 at 2:43 pm - Reply

    Have you paid attention to what your eating the day before? Seams like that makes a difference on how I feel on the long runs- the carb loading thing i guess?

    • JulieWunder August 29, 2012 at 7:43 pm - Reply

      Hey Ken,
      Yes! I have had to pay a lot of attention to what I eat and drink the day before. I eat high carb, but not excessive the day before and try to drink a lot of water. I’ve had some of my BAD runs before I figured out how important this is.
      Thank for the tips! I’ll have to include that on my next post.
      Thank you for reading!

  2. Julia Dennis August 29, 2012 at 2:54 am - Reply

    Way to go! You did much better than me. I ended up walk/running the last three miles or so…but I finished! Had stiff hips also, and knees that felt like they were blowing up like balloons, which isn’t usually the case with me. Eighteen miles is hard…but done!

    • JulieWunder August 29, 2012 at 7:41 pm - Reply

      Aw man! Finishing is all that counts! I was hoping you got it done– you looked so strong!
      What was up with the stiff hips? Have you tried yoga? It helps me SO much. I’m going to write a post about how it helps.
      20 miles soon?

      • Julia Dennis August 30, 2012 at 11:55 am - Reply

        Yep–I’m doing the Chi Running marathon training plan, so I get a week where I don’t increase my mileage on my long runs. I’ll drop down to 16 this weekend, then head up again the following weekend. Yes, I used to do yoga, years ago. You’re right–I should start doing it again. Pilates too, for the core training. Sorry about your blood blister–I hope it’s feeling better now!

        • JulieWunder August 30, 2012 at 1:42 pm - Reply

          It’s getting there. I think I’ll be able to get back on the road today 🙂 Keep me posted on your marathon! I’d like to hear how it goes!!

  3. Dan August 28, 2012 at 9:12 pm - Reply

    Great job Jules! I always start out too fast as well!

  4. James cannon August 28, 2012 at 3:04 am - Reply

    Keep up the good work. You have almost inspired me to start running again. I stopped when I had a foot injury 3 years ago. But because of your blog, I may start again.

    • JulieWunder August 28, 2012 at 2:01 pm - Reply

      Good Luck James! Start slow and I’m sure you will fall in love with it again!

  5. Madeline St Onge August 28, 2012 at 12:32 am - Reply

    Julie you are my hero and inspiration, I really want to start runnign again, maybe not 18 miles, more like 2 or 3 LOL
    You go girl

    • JulieWunder August 28, 2012 at 2:00 pm - Reply

      2-3 is awesome too!!!! Not everyone needs to run a marathon– run to just run! I’m thrilled my blog has inspired you 🙂
      Thank you so much for reading!

  6. Sarah August 27, 2012 at 10:36 pm - Reply

    I find that my long runs go a lot better when I don’t target a goal pace for them. I mean, the purpose of long runs is really to log lots of time on your feet, so really there is no “too slow,” I don’t think … (None of my long runs in my last marathon cycle were faster than a minute slower than marathon pace, and my final 18 miler was over 2 minutes/mile slower). I don’t know what your goal pace is in long runs, but maybe allowing yourself to back off from it a bit will help you enjoy it more? Just my two cents. Enjoying your blog!

    • JulieWunder August 28, 2012 at 1:59 pm - Reply

      Thanks Sarah! Good advice. I have been aiming for 45 to 1:00 slower than marathon goal pace. Good to know you had it all come together while running long and slow. I’ve been worried how I’m going to run faster for so long on marathon day. I appreciate the advice and comment!

  7. Rachael Wunder Evans August 27, 2012 at 10:12 pm - Reply

    You Go Girl!!1 So proud of you, but will “watch” from a far:)

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