I ran twenty miles yesterday morning for the first time in a few years. At some point in the past I read and believed the train of thought that running for more than three hours isn’t worth the risk of injury and doesn’t benefit training. I’ve always mapped out eighteen miles, and if that wasn’t quite three hours I’d just do a few laps around the block at the end. It was a limitation I set and stuck to for so many years.
For this round of marathon training, I’ve been following a plan provided by coach Anne Tulley. In just a few short weeks I’ve seen some incredible progress and results by following her plan. Some of the splits I’ve seen on my GPS are so foreign to me I don’t believe it. When I see these splits during a run I think silly things like, “Oh, you just went down a hill, that’s why it was fast” or “The wind is at your back, just you wait, you’ll slow down!”
And then I don’t slow down. My splits have been unbelievably steady. Why can’t I believe this?!!
My twenty-mile run pace was ten seconds per mile quicker than assigned. It was another steady, consistent long run and fairly uneventful. I did most of the marathon course including all of the worst hills. I have to admit the marathon-math I’m doing based off of this long run has me kind of bummed–while I should be really, really proud!
The marathon-math I’m doing has me predicting I’ll finish in my original goal of 4:17. This has been my goal since my first Chicago Marathon on 10/10/10. It’s one hour off of my first marathon finish time. It’s not that hard of a goal, it’s doable, and I swear I quit marathons if I somehow miss it this time around.
(You know I’ll sign up for one an hour after I finish if I do miss it).
The bit that I’m bummed about is all the awesome progress I’ve been seeing in my running had me thinking I could finish closer to 4:00, maybe even sneak in under! My marathon-math and self-doubt says “nah”.
I realize all that I’ve typed above is kind of dumb. I am really proud and excited about what my legs can do these days. I wouldn’t even consider a twenty-mile run a year ago! No matter what the time on the clock says at the finish line, I have a lot to be proud of!
Also, welcome to marathon taper.