Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Big Test

With less than 8 weeks to go until the Marine Corps Marathon, this is where my training is starting to pick up. This weekend, I have my first-ever 20-mile training run scheduled, and it's starting to gnaw at me.

I don't know why this is - I ran a 17-miler in oppressive humidity just 3 weeks ago; I ran a 14-miler two weeks ago that was comprised of 2-mile repeats at race pace; and I did 16 miles this past weekend at a very easy effort. There should be no reason why I'm sweating a 20-miler.

Maybe it's just the enormity of it all - I mean, 20 Miles. 3-plus hours of running. Copious amounts of Gatorade in my hydration pak. Three-quarters of a box of GU stashed in various pockets. Solitude on the trail. I'm both excited and nervous. And I don't know why.

I know I can do it. What's 3 more miles over my previous longest run? It's just 30 more minutes.

I asked around for a running partner, and after thinking about it, I've been running by myself for most of the 4+ years I've been running - why do I want to change what's been working? Sure, I could use the company, but I've persevered before.

The weather is supposedly going to be nice on Sunday morning; mid-60's, if I'm lucky. The plan is to hit the trail by 7 AM so I can be home before 11. My wife thinks I'm insane - I've already told her not to expect much from me on Sunday afternoon.

But I want this. I want to have a strong run. I want to show myself that I can finish this marathon, and finish it strong. My plan at MCM is to finish without walking (except through water stops). I have a time goal of 4:08 (9:30 pace), but that's a best-case scenario, with perfect weather conditions, etc. I've trained very well these past 12 weeks. I need to run smart for the next 45 days.

I just want to get through this run on Sunday. I have a 22-miler scheduled for October 7th, just before my taper starts. But that will be nothing if I can nail this 20 on Sunday.

I just need to pass this test.


  1. I found your blog through RunLadyLike and I love your story. I'm also training for my first marathon, ING Hartford on October 13. Can't wait to hear how your 20 miler goes. My first 20 miler is next week and oh, I'm also a solo runner :)
    Have a great run!

    1. Thanks for reading, and for the nice comment! I just posted my 20 Miler recap. Best of luck on your 20!