20 mile run – The good, bad and ugly

The Good

I did it!  20 miles.

Last summer I was amazed to to 6-8 miles and yesterday I made 20.  That is a milestone that I had to reach yesterday for my own knowledge that I could make those miles.

I got out before dawn to try to beat the heat.  I’ll be glad when training is over and I can actually sleep in past 4:00 on the weekends.  🙂

I don’t know if it was my body or my GPS, but my pace was way down.  Saturday I ran 6 miles at 8:35 pace and yesterday, early on in my run, it was hard to get below  a 10 minute pace.  I have been told not to worry about pace on my long runs, but psychologically it was confusing.  I decided to let it go and just run.  I ran 4 mile loops and drank water and ate GU at the end of each loop.

The Bad

I’m trying to figure out what exactly happened, but I really hit a wall at 16 miles.  Last week I ran 17 miles pretty strong and the last mile was close to a 9:00 pace.  Yesterday I ran 16 miles okay.  I ended up running/walking miles 17 – 18 and just walking the last two.  I really don’t know what the difference was yesterday from a week ago.  In fact, I started earlier, so it wasn’t hot and I kept to a 4 mile loop which should have helped.

When I finished, my shoes and clothes were soaked.  My feet were pruned and had some blisters.  I did mess up in one area.  I started with a new pair of Saucony Fastwitch shoes last week and put them on for my run yesterday.  So I ran 20 miles in shoes that only had 11 total miles on them.  That could have been an issue.

I wonder, if I can barely get to 20 miles and my marathon is 4 weeks away, do I even have a chance?  Boston qualification is not in my mind at this point.  My goal is to finish my first marathon.  If I can do that, I’ll be ecstatic.  Boston will have to wait for another day.  Sort of sad.

The Ugly

Me after a 20 mile run.  🙂

25 thoughts on “20 mile run – The good, bad and ugly

  1. Well done. I ran 30 Km ( about 19 miles) yesterday. Found this hard.
    I think it’s a good idea to just keep going no matter what the pace. Up to you of course but I think if you have to walk you may as well just stop. Walking the last two miles means nothing.
    Good luck. You should have no trouble running the marathon in 4 weeks.

  2. I had a similar worry before my first marathon….you definitely have a chance!!!! When you do the marathon, you’ll be tapered and rested. To me, it sounds like you’re in really good place.

  3. 20 miles – congratulations! You will be fine. Doubting yourself is part of the journey to the race, it’s better than being complacent. I’ve never run that far but all my best runs happen after 2 days rest, so I identify with the point made my 1year2boston on tapering and resting. Keep going!

    • Thank you!!! I admit I feel about a month behind in my training, but I really like what you said about complacency. I guess I’ll find out in 4 weeks. 🙂

      Sent from my iPhone

  4. Don’t worry! You will be able to do more than you think on race day. Six more miles really isn’t that much…honestly, and your will not to quit at that point is so huge that it keeps you going (at least it did for me!) Bad idea on the shoes though…that sucks! Get those blisters fixed up. Oh, and as for Boston, I really think it’s good in a way that you are thinking the way you are. Your first marathon is a major accomplishment, and it should be enjoyed and lived to its fullest, no matter the pace. You’re free now to soak it up…and your pace will still be envied by many!

    • Great points. Thank you. Yes, it is funny about the heat I’ve had to run it. In the Spring I had such confidence and now it is shot. But your comment (and the others) has helped me a lot. You don’t know how much I appreciate it!!!

  5. If you can do 20 – you can do 26.2 I understand the pace difference being confusing, but I would try not to let it get to you. You’ll run the right pace for you on race day. Congratulations!

  6. If it makes you feel any better, my goal pace for Portland is an 8:05. But on my long runs, I coach a group that aren’t quite as fast. So on good days, we average a 9:15. This past Saturday with the humidity and heat it was 18 miles at a 9:45. So I’m a bit worried as well. BUT – there’s a reason why you do Long Slow Distance and tempos. The LSD runs are meant to build up your endurance and confidence. Tempo runs will get you to the finish line faster. Don’t lose focus on that.

    And to echo other comments – if you can run 20, you can run 26.2. Even if you have to drag yourself, you can make it to the finish line. But I am willing to bet that you will sail thru this next marathon! Keep going!

    • Wow, thanks! Funny that you said, “Even if you have to drag yourself…” I had visions of me doing that at the marathon toward the end of my run yesterday. 🙂 Very true about the tempo runs. I confess I haven’t been as dedicate to them as I should because of the afternoon heat. Now I will. We will BOTH sail through our races! Thanks again!

  7. Running fast, running slower, walking, or crawling…YOU DID 20 MILES!!! YOU…DID…20…MILES!!! I am SO VERY proud of you!!!! I am ROOTING for you…FIGHTING!!!!!!!

  8. Wow…You hit it!!!

    I wouldn’t have wanted to do 27 years with anyone else!!! You really are my BEST friend and I LOVE you!!!

    • I so appreciate that! I’m still a bit nervous, but I still have 2 more long runs before my taper. I wish I had another month, but I would probably feel the same way if I did. 🙂

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