Sorry, I`m not talking about today. No, this was in January of 2008 when I was in the midst of some serious marathon training. To the tune of 2-3 80 mile weeks in a row on my way up to 100 miles (what was I thinking!). Early in the morning I set out for a 16 mile run and knew from the outset that I was quite fatigued. I was living in Tokyo at the time and fortunately there is a subway stop every mile or so and I thought I`d just go 4 miles and then grab a ride home. At 4 I decided to go one more mile and then 5 became 6. I said to myself I could turn around now and put a nice 12 mile run in the book but I couldn`t even fathom running another 6 miles. On I plodded up to my 7 and 8 mile marks chanting my mantra "just keep running, just keep running" in my head. Yes, you might recognize that I paraphrased that from Dory in Finding Nemo. So I turned around and started heading back, each time I passed a mile marker I told myself I`d catch a ride at the next one. Finally at the four mile mark, 12 miles into my run, I stopped my watch and turned to walk to the subway. After 10 meters I stopped, turned back around, restarted my watch and ran the rest of the way home. A run that I never thought would go more that 4 miles at the outset and never thought I`d complete. Mentally the toughest run I`ve ever had. Less than a week later I pulled out of the marathon with achilles` problems. Should I have just given my body the rest that it was asking for?
Well contrary to that run I felt pretty solid throughout my run today, which is saying something for a 20 mile long run. I felt like I was lagging a bit from 14-16 but that was only because I was going through a particularly wicked section of hills. Around 17 I was mentally ready to be done and started calculating how slow I could run these last miles and still finish under 9 minutes per mile. I started counting the miles, hills and minutes remaining. Under 20 minutes, 10, less than a mile, only 5 more minutes, 4, 3, 2, 1 and...done. Long, slow run, very casual but still at a faster pace than I`ve run a long run since I was doing only 14-15 in my build up. Also I went without the Powerade. No sports drinks or gels, just a drink from a water fountain at a park I ran through, which is how I usually do my runs. Maybe that`s why I realized I was so hungry when I finished.
All in, 20 miles at 8:52 pace.