It doesn't get easier...
This is seriously the biggest lesson of my marathon training thus far. It is funny how, the longer the distances get, the better I feel at the end of them. Well, for the most part.
Saturday, I ran my second 20 miler. I am not sure if I felt better at the end because I ran a few miles slower than I typically do, but man I really felt like I could have kept going after my watch beeped. This is a pretty new feeling and one I don't think I have had once since I passed the 15 mile mark. I was running with someone new (yes, again) whose typical marathon speed averages to 11:30/12 minute miles. I was a little wary because I have been averaging 10:30 on my long runs.
It actually all worked out. I tugged my partner along for the first few miles at a faster pace, and then we gradually slowed down. I think I kept with her until mile 14.5 or so then I took off on my own, speeding back up a bit. I took a quick break when I got back to my car at mile 17 to grab more fluids and used the bathroom. Realistically I am hoping to take ZERO bathroom breaks on race day. Anyway, we had parked in the North Lot of Wildwood park, where I have begun/finished the last 3 of my super long distances. This is the challenging part of the marathon as you run about 2 miles of rolling hills at 18-20.
On Saturday, I took a quick walk break before hitting the hills- I was psyching myself out a little and just needed to regroup and give myself a min pep talk. I did make it through the hills and felt like I could keep going. My legs definitely did not get as achy as my first 20 miler and that is reason to celebrate. It gave me extra confidence that I can make it 26 miles without (totally) dying.
As of now, I feel pretty ready to go. Now talk to me in another week and I might be FREAKING OUT!!
What was the most valuable lesson you ever learned training for a race or new distance?!?