I am training for my sixth marathon. One thing that doesn’t change is that twenty miles is still a very long way. It may sound crazy, but it is those super long runs that
I was concerned this week when our schedule was turning out that I couldn’t run with the group for the long run. I have done plenty of long runs by myself. In fact, I have trained for two marathons pretty much on my own. But I have been spoiled this year and rarely run by myself. I put a plea out to my facebook friends for someone to run at least part of my run with me. The thought of running 3+ hours on my own was a bit overwhelming. One of my friends, Angela, made a comment that if I didn’t live so far away, she would join me for 10 miles. Ummm…I am totally willing to drive a half hour to run with a friend. Ironically, Angela and I have never run together. She and I are colleagues through Body Back. She told me she was nervous that she would slow me down. When I heard about her 3:51 marathon and 1:41 half marathon I thought I would slow her down. It didn’t take long before we were running, talking and going at a perfect pace for both of us!**
Before I knew it, we had chatted away the entire ten mile loop. Isn’t that the best thing about good running friends? A long run doesn’t seem so long anymore. And had she been ready for it, I think we could have run the second loop without having much of a lull in conversation. It was a great start to my long run.
After saying goodbye, I headed off to run the same loop again. We were at Newport’s Back Bay, which I always love. I didn’t notice the scenery much the first time since we were chatting so I turned my music on and really enjoyed the route. It wasn't as fun as the first half, but I was feeling great!
Around mile 14, my IT band started bugging me. I stopped at miles 15 and 18 to stretch. It helped, but the pain was a good reminder that I need to roll my IT band every day.
The last few miles were getting painful. Between IT/knee discomfort and the regular hip-to-toe pain that comes with a really long run, I was ready to be done. I wanted to see if I could kick up my pace again. I sped up for the last mile. It felt like sprinting, but I was able to run mile 20 at a 8:32 pace!! That is 10 seconds or so faster than my marathon goal pace. I am not sure if I could keep that up for a long time, but at least I knew I had it in me.
I finished. I was done. My legs hurt all over, but I was pretty happy with myself. Once again, I had that familiar desire to stop a random stranger and tell them I just ran twenty miles. I didn’t, but I wanted to. Oh…and I ran it about 30 seconds faster than marathon pace. I’m a happy girl.
So now that my first twenty miler is in the can for this training cycle, I will be back to my regularly scheduled obsessing about Hood to Coast. Did I mention that it is in five days??
*And even without the extra “roughage” I still had to stop at a bathroom! Ugh…more TMI.
**We ran just over 9 minute miles, which is a bit faster than I had planned, but it did wonders for my confidence.