Yesterday I ran my first 20-miler of this training cycle. No matter how many times I’ve covered the distance, 20 miles always feels really far. Seriously – what is it about the 20 mile distance that makes it feel so much longer than a run of say, 18 miles? I ran 18 a few weeks ago and felt great. Ran 20 yesterday and was wiped out for the rest of the day. Exhausted, sick (well that may have been more to do with my choice of fuel than anything else…more on that in a minute), and unmotivated to do much else but lie on the couch. Funny how 2 measly little miles can make a world of difference.
Anyway…anyone who has ever run 20 miles knows that you don’t just go out and do it. Well, most of us non-elite recreational runners don’t. There’s the build up, the preparation, and then (typically) the roller coaster of emotions to keep you company for the 3ish hours of running. Running 20 miles is a process, a journey.
So, for your enjoyment here’s a glimpse inside the mind of someone who approaches these super long runs with a bit of trepidation.
Reader Warning: Proceed with caution. The following litany of crazy is real. Yes, all these things were really going through my mind yesterday. And yes, I talk to myself during runs. Doesn’t everyone?
Scene: Sunday morning. 7 am. Up, making coffee and toast, obsessively checking the weather.
My slight mental exaggeration of the conditions outside as I procrastinated the start of my 20 mile run 3 hours later… (10:00ish am). FINALLY ready to go. Head out in a direction I rarely run to mix it up a little bit.
One minute later, a truck comes careening around the corner forcing me to jump into a ditch. Oh yeah, that’s why….
Mile 1: 7:48
Miles 2 – 4 all clock in under 8:00/mile.
Miles 5 – 7. Still holding a sub-8 pace without much effort.
I’M SO HAPPY!! RUNNING IS MY FAVORITE! ( Source - side note: you should probably click that link. Gold mine of happy cat and dog pictures)
Get to the center of town, resign myself to heading back in the other direction. Pace immediately drops.
Pull out the Margarita flavored Clif Shot Bloks that I stuffed in my pack that morning after a frantic search for Gu came up short (note to self: be better prepared next time!).
Nastiness in chewable form
Finally back at the bridge. 10 miles in 1:18…I’ve slowed down, but still keeping a decent pace, all things considered.
Not really my view from Saturday. But a perfect representation of why I #lovermont
2 miles later…
It was around this time that I started fantasizing about having lunch at my favorite local cafe
Choke down another Shot Blok.
Throw windbreaker (should also throw arm warmers that have been pushed down to my wrists but feeling way too lazy to get them off).
Miles 15 – 17. Down a familiar stretch for the final miles.
This is basically what I felt like. Obviously not an exaggeration at all.
Miles 18 – 20. Tailwind. FINALLY!
And then I proceeded to sit on the back deck for a very very long time, until my hunger finally motivated me to get up and shower.
Long run conquered.
Unfortunately my post-run high was short-lived. I spent the rest of the day battling some major, not blog-worthy digestion issues. I’m blaming the margarita shot blocks (consider yourself warned!!). I’ll stick to Gu from here on out, thanks. Or, you know, the yet-to-be-invented Fuel Strip. It’s the wave of the future, I’m telling you.