This weekend, I ran 20 miles for my marathon training run. Like most sane people, I experienced some suffering during the 20 miles. This is the second 20 mile run in my training series and it is the signal of the three week taper until my race.
One would think that the mere completion of the run would fill you with exhilaration, relief and joy. One would be wrong.
I am full of sore muscles, fear of the future and loathing for miles 12-15. I run my long runs slower than my marathon goal pace, but I think like I am racing as much as possible in the way I mentally approach the long grind of energy expenditure.
The worst part of my long runs are always miles 12-15. There is some mental hang up as I near the halfway point (13.1 miles). Once I reach 13.1, the relief and expectation for the second half are eclipsed by the realization of what is to come and the fear that for some reason I will not finish.
This weekend, mile 12 found me cursing and spitting mad as I had to reroute my path. The steep hills here are a bit unpredictable when you have to make a 20 mile course and after I shredded my legs during my first 20 miler, I vowed to protect my legs by avoiding steep inclines this time around.
I mustered through and was actually feeling quite chipper again as quickly as mile 12.5. I picked up a second wind at mile 14 and coasted along all the way to mile 17. Then, the dreaded exhaustion set in. My mile splits started creeping up and it was all I could do to keep moving one foot in front of the other.
Finishing wasn’t even as climatic as I would have liked. I was disappointed how much my time slipped at the end and knew I had at least two days of tight and tender muscles ahead of me.
The best part of the 20 mile run is the instant respect and appreciation from others when they hear of the run. The clerk at the gym where I log my miles, our artist resident/houseguest, friends and family, and my colleagues. And when all I want to do is go back to bed, I ain’t too proud to beg for a few kudos from my blog readers, too. Show me some love in the comments!