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!

Contemplating the marathon.
Tartu, Estonia 2012



Filed under 5-100, Running

10 responses to “Twenty-twenty

  1. Ok, I might be re-training my body to workout at five fucking thirty AM, but you can’t MAKE me run. I hates it. I have no love for it. My mind doesn’t shut up and it isn’t enjoyable.

    So, I have major respect for people who can and do do it.

    But I’m mostly commenting because I like your top, a lot.

  2. great post! I was out for a long run this weekend and it blew…at mile 12.6… I gave up. But you have inspired me. I’m scheduling a make up long run for 20 miles on Thursday. It’s not just that your body can run 20 miles it’s that your brain made you do it too. Happy ice packs.

  3. jenny

    Way to go Jill, you can do it!!!

  4. I love that you were concerned about pace. You rock.

    Enjoy your taper. Tapering is my favorite.

    • not overly concerned, but yea, i’m watching it! isn’t it crazy! I just figured that once I hit 50, I’m just going to slow down.

      But get this, my mom just finished 3rd in her age category (50-59) in a local 5k! maybe i’ve got speedy genes after all…

  5. MariBeth Follmer

    Way to go!!! Those 20 milers are always met and completed with mixed emotion! I ran my 20 on Tues, and thought of you! My run got tough after 17 miles, and my pace suffered as well, but you know what??? We did it!! And when you think about it, it’s pretty awesome what your body and mind can do! Congrats, great job, and enjoy your taper! We love you!

  6. Anonymous

    Keep shredding it!!!!!!!!! YOU’re kicking ass, love ya

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