Monday, December 14, 2009

twenty miles

I ran 20 miles today. I wanted to take a photo at the end of the run, to show y'all what 20 miles looks like, but the truth is that post-run, I was splayed in a bathtub full of hot water, weeping while eating a soy yogurt. As this is not "that kind of blog," I decided to save the photo finish for another time.

Friends, I could not make this shit up if I tried.

Let's start at the beginning. Marathon Training Plan (which I have been following ever so closely) called for 20 miles today. I usually do my long runs on the trail, which is five miles long. My plan was to run the length of the trail four times (you know, because 5 x 4 = 20). Well, it had rained for two days straight, and as I tend to trip and fall on the trail once a week as is, the idea of running on a muddy, slippery trail was less than appealing. So this morning, I logged on to dailymile and attempted to map out a 10 mile loop, beginning and ending at my apartment, which I could run twice.

My town is very small. The best I could come up with was 7 miles.

I decided to run this 7 mile route three times, and walk the last mile back to my house, as a cool down. Miles 1-7 were miserable. I was not in the mood to run, I had no one to run with, and I never run with music when I'm outside. Long and boring. I stopped by my apartment at the end of the first loop and considered staying there, but instead refilled my water, used the restroom, and headed back out. Miles 8-14 were much better. I was feeling good, the route was growing on me, and the sun was beginning to peak out of the clouds. I stopped by the apartment again to eat an energy gel, and then set out for my final loop.

Things went downhill quickly.

My small breakfast was gone, nothing but a memory that the walls of my empty stomach tried, in vain, to recall. My feet hurt and my knees were sore. I was tired and Pearl Street is way longer than it looks. I made it to my finishing point - 20 miles! Huzzah! - and then started the mile long trek home.

It was the slowest mile of my life.

I hobbled. I tried not to cry. I wasn't really in that much pain, but I was tired and cranky and hungry and emotionally spent. When I finally made it home, Nathan made me a hot bath and it was there I ate my yogurt, happy to be off my feet, slightly sated by my snack, dazed and exhausted. I felt better after I took a shower, and nearly normal once I had a bowl of soup and some bread. And then - then! - I had to go out to dinner with work peeps, because we're interviewing candidates for a position and I will be eating 75% of my meals this week at the two of the Italian restaurants in town. I made it through dinner, but barely.

Today I feel pretty normal which is shocking, to say the least. My legs are a little sore, but not ridiculously so. The ten hours of sleep helped, as did the hot bath. This 20 mile run marks the first peak in my training - for the next seven days, I have nothing on my schedule but easy six milers, which I'm looking forward to. I need a break. No - I've earned a break.

Twenty miles. Hell yeah.