It's also really great to run with people. I am not capable of getting my butt out of bed before sunrise to run 20 miles alone. It's just not going to happen. But with these training runs, I know that I can get myself out there and truck along and go home satisfied.
Today was no different. I got there and found Matt (Amy would not be joining us today, sad) and we had the usual talk of how much we slept and how we felt about heading out for a 20-miler. For those of you keeping track, this was going to be my only 20-miler since I did two 18-milers that were incredibly hot, humid and hilly. (Don't think for a second that just because football season has started that it means it's fall in TN. It might make an appearance come November.)
We set out and got to see the sky change colors as the sun rose. We chatted about odds and ends as usual (while I do recall our conversation today, sometimes I can finish a run and not remember what the heck we all talked about for 3 hours). We looked forward to the water stops and getting some cold Gatorade.
I used my salt tablets today, something that I think definitely makes a huge difference for me. I ate some sports beans about halfway through, and I drank plenty of water and Gatorade along the way... but in the end, I didn't really consume as much of the beans as usual. And I felt fine. It was a little odd, but whatever.
When we got to the water stop at mile 16, the volunteers mentioned that the course wasn't exactly 20 miles. I asked if it was long or short.
"You don't want to know."
Well that's never good. We went on and turned back right then and there, but in the end doing so only shaved like .4 of a mile and a small hill.
When we reached the next water stop at mile 20, we were offered a ride back to where the run started. I briefly considered it. After all, I was only scheduled to do 20. And I had already ran 2 miles more than my longest runs so far.
But then I felt like I'd probably feel like a pansy the rest of the day... and Matt was going to keep running, and there's something about running with someone else that kind of keeps you going. So I pressed onward.
Turns out that my 20 became 22 by the time it was all said and done. With a bathroom and the water stops, we ran it in about 4:03. It's a little slower than what I want to do in Chicago, but 1. it was still pretty warm out, even if it's not as bad as it could be and 2. Chicago will be flat, unlike TN.
All in all, I felt pretty good considering I ran FOUR miles more than what I'd done so far in this training cycle. I know that in the end it will have been good training, both physically and mentally. If I needed to keep going and run a marathon today, I could have eeked it out. (I'm glad it wasn't time for that yet.)
We went inside Atlanta Bread Company to grab some post-run food and ended up chatting with a few other runners. One of them actually knew my name from reading my blog. Hi Brian! I think it's the first time someone has ever known me from the blog as opposed to knowing me and then finding out about my blog.
I've made it home and managed to peel myself out of the car (sometimes that's the hardest part for me with post-run activity) and showered off. I have a new sweet tan line from my socks. I also found a small blister on a very odd spot on my big toe. I haven't figured that one out yet, but whatever.
I actually only got about 3 hours of sleep last night. Crazy, I know, but I just don't sleep well before these big runs. I KNOW I can do it, but it's like something in my brain is all like, "You're going to do WHAT tomorrow? Are you SERIOUS? I mean REALLY?" I'm pretty pleased with myself for pulling off this run including the extra two unplanned miles.
I know it's still 4 weeks away, but I'm feeling pretty good about Chicago. I don't know what my time will be (it's super hard to compare my training run times since they're all been so hot and hilly), but I do know that I will cross that finish line!