Wednesday, March 31, 2010


That was no puny run: my first 20 in two months. Not that 20 is the ultimate bestower of marathon fitness, the great guarantor of success. Hard not to think that, though. It’s a round number, and we do love our round numbers. And it’s into the 20s, luring you to believe that, having run it, you have passed through the turnstile into that far off ballpark where 26.2 miles hangs out. A mere 10K shy of the full distance! Practically the same thing. Ha.

This was kind of an ugly 20. One month before Berlin I ran 20 in 2:28. Today’s 20 took 2:40. The last three or four miles my hips, ankles and feet were aching and worse, my legs were leaden. Things might have been better if I’d hydrated or eaten worth a damn; one 100-calorie gel with about 6 oz. of water at the eight-mile mark, then 75 calories worth of Accelerade around 16: stupid, stupid, stupid. In my defense, it was cool, in the high 40s, and in such perfect running weather it’s easy to forget the body is still burning through water and energy.

This run was out at Glendoveer, 10 loops of the two-mile, wood-chip trail around the golf course. After two or three inches of rain the past several days it was often squishy and occasionally a muddy mess. Given that, my 8:00/mile pace doesn’t seem so pathetic and in terms of effort might rank right with the 7:25/mile pace I ran in the pre-Berlin 20. Whatever. I’m not feeling greatly motivated to study this run. I did it. I reminded my body how to burn fat on a long run and maybe stimulated the production of capillaries and mitochondria and all that good stuff. Well, maybe not all in one day, but I’ve got another 20 (maybe 22) scheduled for 10 days from now, all on a pretty good base.

And about that base: I’ve been doing a better job of logging my runs this go-round, writing notes and observations in a notebook but also entering the data into an online running log. Since I started training in earnest around January 10, and not counting this week-in-progress, I’ve had six weeks of running 40-50 miles; one week of 50-60; two weeks of 60-70; one week of 70-80; and one week when I ran just once, a 10-miler, as I tried to figure out what was going on with my ankle. Take out that injury week and I’m averaging 51 miles per week, far and away my biggest total in a marathon build.