Sunday, February 12, 2012

20 Miles

I feel like I've turned a page in my running career.  Running 10 miles does not seem like a long run anymore, like it did in the past.  When I first started running, I had to psych myself up to complete a 10 mile training run.  Now, 10 is not a problem.  It is 20 that I have to get motivated for.

Running 20 miles just seems so much farther than 18 or 19, although it is only 1 or 2 miles more.  I think the fact that it starts with a "2" and not a "1" that makes it sound so much more serious.  Since my normal running buddy was competing in a triathlon today, I begged  pleaded asked if anyone in my running group wanted to run 20.  Unfortunately, there were no takers on my offer.  One of my friends offered to do the first 6 with me before our group meets and then I could run the remaining 14 with a few other guys who were set to run that distance.  That sounded good, except my friend got sick and I wanted to hit "snooze" 1 too many times this morning instead of getting up.  The fact that it felt colder than zero degrees didn't help any, either.

I ended up running 1.5 miles before the group started to run, then 14 with the guys, and finished the last on my own.  It was a much faster 20 than the pace I've been running my long runs at - a 9:02 average.  I've been mostly running around 9:15, a very comfortable pace for me.  9:02 felt good, but I'd rather run slower now since the marathon is still over 2 months away.  Right now I am more concerned with getting the miles in and spending time on my feet as opposed to running a set pace. 

I can remember conquering 20 miles in the fall when I was training for Chicago and felt so accomplished to run that many miles.  Today I felt glad I got my miles in, but that feeling of accomplishment was nowhere to be found.  Perhaps it was because I was the last person running today in the group, or that my buddy wasn't there, or a lot of my other friends, or the weather, or it may have just been me.  I know not all runs will be wonderful and fabulous and leave you with the feeling like you could go on forever and some are just that - runs - putting one foot in front of the other for x amount of miles. 

I am hoping that my next 20 miler will not only be successful in terms of accomplishing it, but also leave that pure running joy in my heart afterward.

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