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.