To God be the glory, to God be the glory, TO GOD BE THE GLORY!!!!
Today I completed my first 18 mile run.  This is the longest I’ve ever done and it felt WONDERFUL!
My goals for today’s long run were to : 
1. Finish
2. Find my marathon pace.
Check and check!
I’m so grateful for today.  When I woke up it didn’t look good.  For the first time this training period, my legs were sore and knees felt off because I messed up yesterday. Instead of taking a rest day before this long run, I did 8 miles of intervals. Not sure what got into me, the run felt so good yesterday, I pushed – and felt it this am.  Tired, sore and it was going to rain.   Not good.
Showed up at 6:30 am and met with a large group of amazing women from Black Girls RUN! Baton Rouge.  They are so inspiring – just being in their company boosted my mood.  We started and I focused on staying slow and steady.  Keeping at a pace I could maintain for 18 miles.  This was sooo hard.  At several points it felt like a huge hand was on my back pushing me to go faster (strange huh).  But I held off, kept at a pace where I could talk, sing, eat a granola bar and drink without changing stride.
Mile 6 was the end of the 1st out and back loop.  The ladies from BGR!  were there rooting in those who were completing their run for the day.  It was great seeing their smiles. As I turned around and started loop 2, I drank a bit of water and ate a granola bar.  Still feeling amazing, I decided to walk up the hill around mile 7 to conserve energy.  Better safe than sorry was my thinking.
At mile 8 I refilled my water bottle at a fountain – still feeling like I could go on forever.
At mile 9 it started to rain – hard.  I talked to God about not giving up, put my jacket back on and kept on trucking.  Thankfully, the rain stopped after about ½ mile.  
Around mile 10 I ran past the carcass of a baby alligator.  Ewww.  With the rain gone, I got hot and took a quick water stop to take off and secure the jacket and drink abit.    MC Hammer told me I was “Too legit, too legit to quit!”  Started right back. With the exception of an ache in my lower back, I’m feeling really good.   Thinking the full water bottle back there is the culprit, I decided to ditch it on the last lap.
End of lap 2 and  I was back at my car.  At this point I had been running  ~2 ½ hours – so I drank some Gatorade.  Big surprise, my husband and the kids pulled up.  They drove down from Denham Springs to check on me.  Awwww…
Started the last loop.  Still feeling strong but walked the first hill (another better safe than sorry move). 
Around mile 15, saw the carcass again – decided it was a big lizard.  Tedd Winn told me “We’re not looking back, moving ahead… moving, moving forward”.   At the final turn around, I saw the South Baton Rouge Jaguar Track Club.   About 30 black children (ages 5-12) doing drills and training runs.  It made me smile.  
At mile 16 my stomach started growling.  Yolanda Adams told me “I’ve got the victory”.
At Mile 17, I went to down to River Road to avoid the last hill. Wimpy move.   Checked my Nike+, it said I had run 21.8 miles. Come on now!!!  I knew that was WAY off. No matter how many times I calibrate the unit, it over calculates. Arggghhhh.   My mind started scrambling to figure out how far I had actually gone.  Had I done 18 miles already? Can I stop now?  Should I stop now?  This was a mental mess.   I walked about 2 minutes  while the done/not done debate went on in my head.  Deciding to finish strong, I ran back to the car. 
NJ after first 18 mile run 020412
Aside from the mental break at the end – it was a really good run. I’m shocked as I honestly doubted I could do it. Thanks be to God. He carried me through and allowed me to enjoy it.
I stretched for 15 minutes at the car.  Removed shoes and saw my big ugly blister is back.  Took a picture of it to commemorate my first 18 mile run.   At home I did a stick massage on my legs for 10 minutes, ice bath for 15 minutes, hot shower, hair and I’m good to go. 

Mapped the route on http://www.mapmyrun.com/ and it says I did 18.22 miles. Thank you Lord!   Wow.   We never know what we can accomplish until we try.  I’m looking forward to the next long run.

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