What can I say about running 20 miles?
Well, I started off strong. I can say that. It was the farthest I've run to date. Yes, I can say that as well. I can also say that my legs felt like they were going to fall off of my body. Or, I could say that I have no idea how I'm going to feel after 26 miles except that I will be relieved that it over. Yes. I know I can say that too.
But in the end, I found the strength to complete the run in just (and I mean JUST) under 4 hours. Actually, at the last turn, I checked my watch and I was at 3:58:47 and I found some kind of energy to get in there around 4:59:35. That is something I'm pretty happy about.
Throughout the run, I felt like this little group of four we've been running with stayed very strong together. The beginning of the run was a group of 6. Sebastian (the doctor), Tony (the realtor), Lillith (the former Olympian), Beth (my CF team partner), Lucy (the energizer bunny lawyer) and myself (the stubborn father of 2). Unfortunately, Beth is coming off of a foot injury and had to drop out around mile 12, and Lucy wasn't feeling well, so she stopped around mile 15 (?). The other four of us stayed together as a group for the rest of the run. That is, until we came to the last stretch of the run that takes us past the Rose Bowl.
I don't know if it's knowing that I'm safe and close to the end, or that I'm just satisfied that we're almost done, but whenever I get to this point in the long runs, I taper off. I don't mind everyone getting a minute ahead of me. That5, and the fact that my legs are so damn sore I don't know how I'll even walk, let alone run to the end.
But in the end, it comes down to wanting to just be DONE running. The idea of putting off the end any longer is SO unappealing, that suffering through another 5 minutes or so of running is far less torture. I am reminded of my youth when I went hiking in the Pennsylvania mountains with Dad and some Boy Scouts (and cousins Dave, Mark and John). On these hikes, near the end of the day my legs felt like they may fall off. I can honestly say that I haven't had that sort of pain since the last hike we did, right before I went into 8th grade.
Still, I feel confident about the Hawaii marathon. I know that the terrain will not be anything like what we've been training on. I mean, come one, we're running up a frickin mountain while we train! I expect Hawaii to be a little more level (although we have to run up Diamondhead twice). The other thing that will help push me in Hawaii (and all of us for that matter) is that we're in a race atmosphere. To have people cheering for you and pushing you along, that will definitely give me some extra juice.
On top of it all, I think it will be very inspirational to meet other Team CF members for other areas that are running the same marathon. (Didn't think I was going to work CF into this entry, did you now?)
That's them update on the running. We have a recovery run of 10 miles this Saturday (a nice way to work off the turkey) and 8 miles next week. Then... it's off to Hawaii where we'll step off planes and say...