So I intended to post about this before, but the darn holiday has been getting in the way. Luckily, I have a long flight to the opposite coast on which to waste time. Hence, more writing!
Last week I ran my (then) longest distance of 20.26 miles. The long runs are, as previously mentioned, ramped by over several weeks by about 2 miles at a time. While the addition of those 2 extra miles seemed easy enough, I’ve learned to be wary after several relatively miserable 18 milers. The thought being: while it is only 2 more miles, they are miles that equal a distance my body has never done before (except in a car). As such, I can’t really know how well the body will handle it.
To my strange fascination, I actually had an easier time with that 20 miler than the previous 18 milers. And the route was even more difficult! It is a rare area (locally at least) with something like rolling hills. So you struggle up seemingly steep inclines as well as the gradually building incline. It would seem, at first thought, that not only would my body not be happy with the distance (20 miles is no joke), but especially unhappy with the route that distance was covering.
But no. All seemed well. Admittedly, the pace was just a tad slower (9:12 per mile unlike the usual 9:05 or so). But even then, that relates to what? 2 minutes total time? Yes, the first half of the run was much slowed because it was damn cold outside. But still, the ease and comfort of the 20 miler was muchbetter than I expected. (Or maybe the cold kept me from feeling the pain.)
That run also had me much encouraged for breaking 4 hours at Miami. I did the 20 in 3 hours and 6 minutes, give or take. Add another 6 miles and I’d be right around 4 hours. So, following the general running logic that race pace is almost always faster than training pace, it really is doable. Excitement!