Between all the wife’s racing this weekend I was still actually training for a marathon. Sunday was the first of five 20 mile runs in my training program. So I set the alarm and hit the road around 5:30am Sunday morning. Really long runs, at least for me, are a completely different animal than the day to day BS runs that are just meant to maintain fitness. For me these runs progress through stages – it takes the first 5 miles just to shake off all the little aches and pains, loosen up and get past knowing you have a hard couple of hours ahead of you. Somewhere around 10-11 miles I cross over the hump and get a second wind. Everything after that is just maintaining on cruise control.
This was by far the best 20 mile run I’ve ever had. Everything just came together – I am trying to make a note of everything I did so I can try to recreate it during the next four 20 milers I have in the FIRST program. I had 1 gel pre-run and then 1 at 9 miles and 1 at 15.5. I stashed a 20 oz bottle of Gatorade around mile 11 which I used to replenish my hand held bottle (definitely going with that strategy in the future, I have been going all water up until now). And I used an mp3 player. I won’t race with it but it’s invaluable when you’re out there for over 3 hours. And there’s something to be said when you’re at mile 19 and Pink Floyd’s “Run Like Hell” comes on – oh yeah.
So I finished with 20.24 miles on the Garmin – I felt so great at the end that I charged that last quarter mile at a 7:40 pace. Not sure if it was endorphins or what, but I hope I can sustain it on future long runs. Anyone interested can look at my course map and other notes I made here.