The first 20+

written 10. 3. Posted a week later.

This is a post that didn’t get completed and is now a few weeks old. The draft written in a few minutes to reflect on the first 20 mile training two weeks ago. It sat on my desktop unedited as stuff piled on top. The Sunday team has slowly dwindled in numbers to where I recognize most of the runners. From 100+ we’re down to about 50 or 60 runners of widely varying paces. I’m fine with being towards the back of the pack for most runs. I almost always find folks to run with if not for all than most of the run. Although the first 20 mile run had some rough patches. I started out with Bryan and Jonathan, two tall men close to my age. We normally keep together until Bryan makes a break for it. For the first run we ran together at a steady pace through the hills by U of R, until something like 15 miles when I took a little longer at the water stop and Bryan moved quickly on. I continued with Jonathan up to Patterson Ave but picked up my pace and lost him on the downhill. I found out later that he was stopped with a cramp. I was trying to catch Bryan but kept loosing his orange shirt and by the time I cut back into Windsor Farms at about 16 miles I was pretty much on my own and mentally flagging. A single grey shirt (I think male) was still within sight and that helped pull me on. Sometimes I ‘d loose sight of him and I pushed on imagining the SAG to be just past the Unitarian Church by the VITA course, focusing on the colorful bowl of Mike and Ikes. Although after a few months of training that bowl of Mike and Ikes was beginning to loose some shine. I pushed hard to hold a decent pace over the Powhite and up Douglasdale and my spirit sunk when the water stop wasn’t where I was imagining.

At the next crosswalk I caught the grey shirt runner and together we pushed on into Carytown where I could see a small crowd gathered around a table across Cary Street. Even though I had done all me training for my Spring marathon entirely on my own, I’ve come to really appreciate the lift I get around other runners.I took a short break. Knowing I was close to the finish. It was enough of a mental boost to help me dig out some more speed for the few blocks down to the Boulevard, and up one last hill then a sprint into the Stadium half expecting cheers. I always remember John Chapin’s rule. “Finish strong.”

Two things I might do differently: take my gel closer to an hour out rather than almost an hour and a quarter, and leave my Garmin alone. I’m not sure I like how much I use it to gauge where I am and my pace but it helps distract me when I’m starting to flag or complain. When I fuss with it, it goes blank. This little thing can sap energy: I want to know where I am but get frustrated that I don’t. The little things add up.

Took an ice bath when I got home and then a soak in Epsom salts and felt tired but great the rest of the day. Spent time with Henry, visiting friends, drinking tea, walking the dog. I was very happy and enormously relieved to make it through 20 miles with no pain and no IT band issues. This was what grounded me in the Spring: my IT bands were aggravated at 18 and for the following week’s 19 I was in real pain for the last 5 miles. That was the last long run I did. After that I continued my training by water running.

I was tired on Monday but not in pain or aching and I was glad to see the rain and use that as an excuse not to ride my bike to school. The entire week I was slogging through training runs— grateful for reduced mileage, suffering through a 5 mile run…very relieved to compare notes the next week with other Green Team runners to learn they felt pretty depleted too!

I started out the 12 mile the next Sunday with my two running partners and after Bryan sped ahead about half way through, Jonathan and I weren’t too far behind him. I felt like I was on the edge for the last four or five miles but I’m not sure if it was my body or just my mind afraid that I MIGHT be tired because I was pushing the pace and just running hard. I was comfortable but running much faster with Jonathan than I would have if I were still training alone. I am aware of underestimating my ability. I’m conservative. I’m afraid of running out of steam.

I’m trying to eat a lot and drink a lot to prepare for the next 20.

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