Slogging Through to My First 20-Mile Run

Today I ran 20 miles for the first time ever. I know… that’s 6.2 miles short of an entire marathon. That’s gonna be in my future.

For today, 20 was enough. I had never run for 3 hours (my time was 3 hours, 1 minute, and 40 seconds)… score! Obviously I had never done 20 miles. The most I had ever done was two weeks ago, when I went 18 miles. Prior to that, the most I had gone was 16 miles, which I did one week before that, and one time last year.

First let me say that I am overjoyed at having completed this. I began the year knowing that I wanted to run 20 in 2020 (I didn’t say it that way with the cool repetition of the number “20,” but it has a nice ring to it!). It feels really good to have completed the mission so to speak.

Also, there was a stretch of about 4 miles of trail that I ran both ways (so totaling 8 miles) that was pleasantly full of bicyclists, runners, and walkers. This is probably the most people I have been around since March (other than perhaps at the grocery store). I generally enjoy the positivity inherent in a group of people who are all exercising. It’s kind of like running a race: having all those people around who are physically active is good for the spirit.

I would say the first 14 miles or so were awesome. It was the last 6 miles that felt like a slog. I wonder if I hit that “wall” I have heard about. I had plenty of gel and chews, so I think I had enough supplemental energy. I also had a water bottle in my pouch, and a half-full bottle in my hand. So I think I was well-enough hydrated.

Despite enough energy and water, as the run wore on I think I was just getting…tired! So I had to just push through to the end of the race. And it sort of sucked…because I usually enjoy running the whole time!

There’s nothing really wrong about this. But it’s been awhile since I have felt this way. Possibly not for a couple of years.

I know, I know. 20 miles is a long way! As far as pushing past psychological walls, this is probably the most significant run I’ve taken since last year, when I ran 15 miles for the first time. Before that, the most significant run was probably my first half marathon. I struggled on this one.

In my running journey, it seems that I have needed some time to acclimate to longer distances. 13- , 15-, and 20-mile runs each took some getting used to. I think my mind had resistance to the idea of long distances, so it’s taken time to get my head–as much as my body–to them.

So I guess I shouldn’t be surprised (dismayed?) that it got sort of uncomfortable. I will investigate to see how I can have a smoother late-run experience on future long runs. Especially as I’m going to start preparing for the big “M” (ie Marathon…yikes).

Meanwhile, I’m celebrating, cuz I just ran 20 frigging miles! Yah Hoo!!

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