20 Miles

27 Feb

I don’t think I need to say much more than that! But I will…

On Saturday, I ran 20 miles. OMFG. Especially as I skipped my 30-minute run on Thursday because I just didn’t feel like it. Take that, Thursday!

I decided to try out a different route as the one I had been doing was making me a little crazy on long runs. Ok, very crazy. I am yet to encounter the endorphin high. I tend to get exercise-induced rage. I have actually walked out of spinning classes because I build myself up into such a “this is so f-ing stupid! We’re on bikes and we’re not going anywhere! And we’re listening to really awful music!” So, the beautiful tunnels (see header) started to look very similar and I’d think I was closer to home than I actually was, and I’d start to get angry with myself for running, Meg for finding it so easy and not just running the distance I was doing but up and down the banks at the side as well, and Richard Beeching for having closed down the railways that meant I was running along this former railway line.

So, I tried out a new one along the canal. It was super pretty…

I’m really happy with the choice of route. I think I’d start a few miles further west, as the first/last 3 miles were a bit uneven, which was fine when starting out, but not so much when I was exhausted towards the end. I turned my ankle a few times, and my knees are feeling a bit dodgy. Being so inexperienced in the field, I’m quite nervous about telling the difference between a “man up and push on through” and a “you’ve actually hurt yourself”.

Choosing to run west along the canal was the most intelligent decision of my life. I started at midday, so the sun didn’t bother me too much, and then when I turned around it was behind me – perfect. The people I encountered, who were out enjoying their boats, were absolutely lovely – friendly to Meg and encouraging to me!

I’m still so nervous about this race. I am slow – see above – but I need to push that thought out of my head. If I have to run on the pavement when they start reopening the roads, that’s not the end of the world. I’ve started thinking about how I will feel if I am actually the last person to finish the race, but it can’t be that bad. I’ll have run a marathon! It’s a big thing for someone like me – someone who starts projects but doesn’t finish them; someone who gives up if I can’t do something perfectly. I have to ignore the many, many articles out there complaining about slow runners ruining marathons for the experienced ones and just focus on my own personal goals. As I wrote a while ago, the internet is full of people trying to create their own, exclusive club because they’ve been excluded before;┬ábut that’s 100% their own issue, not mine.

The biggest surprise of this training is how important the mental side is. I have been blessed with a mostly-functional body, and anyone with that can run as far as they want to. That’s a really cool thing to learn – so much more exciting than how my bottom looks in jeans, which is, incidentally, much better than it did before I started training.

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4 Responses to “20 Miles”

  1. greekmelie February 27, 2012 at 3:58 pm #

    The fact that you did run the 20 miles is an amazing feat in and by itself!

    But seriously, who are these people who complain about slower runners? What could they possibly take away from a positive experience for everybody? The only thing that I can think of is when the course merges slow half marathoners with really fast full marathoners, but that’s a problem of the course directors and coordinators, not of the runners themselves. The only other thing I can think of is really exclusive races like Boston where places are kept for slow runners who run for charities and taken away from fast runners who have qualified. But again, this is an organization issue to me.

    I love running because it is an equal opportunity sport. In my last half marathon, there were all sorts of people from high-schoolers, to ridiculously fast 65-year olds, to my old running group’s coach who run 1:16 and was not even his best, to slow, young, old, thin, fat, people serious with their training, people just running to finish, just so many different runner types. And I find this fascinating and amazing. Why would anyone want to take away from this atmosphere?

    Of course, you can always say that the only reason I support these claims is because I am slow myself and probably ruin other people’s races too. This might be true, but you can’t take my medals away from me! These medals are a reward not an award and that’s why every single finisher deserves one. In my (not so) humble opinion…

    PS. Your y-axis is off. After 19:00 pace, it goes back to 0:00 and 4:xx. And the axes are not labeled. (miles/km? min/mile, min/km?) Sorry, occupational hazard :-P

    • Becca February 27, 2012 at 6:13 pm #

      It’s interesting about the big marathons, because I kind of feel like those should be the ones most open to charity runners, because they get the most publicity. I don’t imagine hardcore marathon runners benefit much from general publicity as opposed to athletics community publicity. Hmm…

      Ah yes. I am no longer an auditor, I am a stay-at-home mum. I therefore do not label my axes. Goodness only knows what happened on the y-axis! Loopy. But yeah, minutes per mile. So I’m averaging 17:27. Slooooooow.

  2. Justin Mazza March 12, 2012 at 8:18 am #

    Hi Becca,
    I couldn’t imagine running 20 miles so kudos to you for pulling that one off. Like you said about the mental part, it really is the more difficult of the 2 to overcome.

    • Becca March 12, 2012 at 10:18 am #

      Thanks for your comment, Justin! Since doing this, I am a big believer that any able-bodied person is able to run this far. It’s all about simply identifying a training plan that makes sense to you, putting on your running shoes, and going!

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