Anybody who’s trained for a marathon know that the culmination of training leads to the infamous 20 mile run and the actual race it’s self I suppose. It’s longest run of training and the longest run until you actually race. 20 miles. Yep, Alli and I did that yesterday. Crazies, yes. Brain lapse, maybe. But, there’s something truly magical about distance running. There’s something about pushing your body to it’s greatest limits and then still continuing on. My quads were screaming. My knee was falling apart and my horrible sinus congestion wasn’t helping anything. But I just kept going. And going. And going.
There’s a lot of preparation that goes into running 20 miles. Like running a lot of miles prior to that. Some people I talk to think I just got up and decided to run 20 miles one day. Fat chance. Alli and I have been training since the end of February. We started out slow. 5 miles, 6 miles, 9 miles, adding just a mile every week and building our base. That’s no easy feat either. Training in late winter/early spring mean that you never know what the weather is going to be like. One day we ran 10 miles and it was gorgeous. 40ish degrees and the sun was out. The following week, we tried to do it again, and it was a disaster. It took us over two hours to run and we ended up slogging through mud and snow on a trail that we thought was dried up. Hard on the ego, but we kept going.
There was a point where our schedule’s didn’t match and we did a few long runs without each other. 16 miles is a long ways to run by yourself, especially if you’ve never run 16 miles. Alli came back from a run one time and said she only ran 12 miles. Only 12 miles; your brain gets pretty warped in marathon training. When we ran the Bolder Boulder, it felt weird to not have our water packs on, and the zipper pouch loaded up with fig newtons, Stingers and Sport Beans. 6 miles was a breeze for us.
20 miles is something to brag about. We got up at 6 am and were out sweating and chugging along just because we wanted to. We wanted to feel that pain; we wanted to drag ourselves through the last 3 miles; we wanted to push ourselves to our body’s utmost limit and then some. It’s a mental game really. The last 30 minutes of our run, I had to come up with every positive thought I could think of to finish.
You’re so lucky to be out here. It’s a beautiful day.
You’re so lucky that you’re healthy and that you have two working legs that allow you to do this.
Pain is only temporary.
The longer you run, the faster you’ll get home.
DIG IN. This is my mantra for life when things get tough and I need to give myself a pep talk. Dig in. Dig deep inside yourself and find the strength to keep going. It’s there somewhere, I just need to find it. Only I can find it.
It doesn’t hurt to have some restorative fluid later in the day either.
Can’t wait until Grandma’s, Alli!