I ran 20 miles today. I feel like fireworks should explode out of this post, and trumpets and confetti and champagne corks should be flying. But the weird thing is, it feels like just another training run. Another post-run bagel. Another stretch session. Another day in training. If this doesn’t tell you how mental running is, I don’t know what will.
I’m not trying to burst anyone’s bubble on how they will feel for their first 20! It IS an amazing feat. It’s the run that tells you – YES! You CAN run a marathon! You’re ready! But for some reason, that run for me was mile 19. After my first 19 mile run, I celebrated on the spot. I did my best Mr. Olympia poses on the street corner when my watch said: 19 miles, and I’m pretty sure I jumped up and down like Rocky with my hands in the air. Today, I did none of that. My watch read 20 miles as I was in the middle of going through an intersection. My reaction? *sigh* Whatever.
Wow, this is not the post I thought I’d be writing.
It was a rainy day, the first rainy morning we’ve ever run all summer long. But it wasn’t full on rain. It was a drizzle and overcast, dark day. While still very muggy and humid, it was a welcome change from the normal blazing sun after the first hour and a half. Every 5 miles we got through, we said how thankful we were to have beat the rain thus far. We also went at a pretty brisk pace. A couple of Ironman runners who joined the group run today ended up setting the pace. Yeah, I can see how that definitely looks like a problem. It was nice to speed it up a bit, but I felt the effects of a pushed pace early on. Definitely by mile 10 I was feeling it in my knee and my feet. By mile 18, I no longer wanted to talk to anyone and I’m pretty sure my face said that I was in my struggle zone.
Even stopping didn’t feel good. I don’t know how I made it to my car. I took the time to stretch it out for a change. Then went in search of some quick protein to help in recovery, which I don’t usually rush out to do. This time, I could see I needed to put a focus on good recovery – stat! If I was so sore after my good 19 miler two weeks ago, I can’t imagine what I’m going to feel like after this not-so-great 20. And I don’t mean “good recovery” exactly. I mean the kind of recovery you have when you’re stuck, painfully, in a car for hours taking two toddlers to doctors appointments, not eating for the next 5 hours, and when you’re a single parent for the weekend… that kind of recovery. I had to mention it because the rest of my group stretches, lounges at breakfast joints, and then takes a nap for 3 hours, before waking up to relax some more. Hey, I was one of those people too!… well, when I was running 10 milers and such. Marathon training is infinitely harder than 10 miler training but, when you’re not able to REALLY recover, it just hurts all the more, hence my go-to of crushing Tylenol into coffee and powering through the day. (ok, not really, but I daydream about it)
I dunno folks, today just felt like something I had to do to get where I’m going – the summit of Everest. And 20 miles is just base camp 1. I thought 20 was going to feel like Everest, but it didn’t. Maybe that’s because race day is Everest. Yes, that must be it. Right now I’m satisfied with having successfully finished another long run, my second to last long run before race day. Today that’s good enough.