Thursday, April 5, 2012

A Long And Winding Road

I have said this many times. 20 miles is a daunting distance. It’s sort of a punishment to later achieve the satisfaction and mental power that we are ready for, at least, to finish a 26.2.

I have done in my short marathon career, about 15 twenty milers, at least one for every marathon I have run, with a max of three. My first 20-mile run ever, in 2007, was very exciting. I was curious with the results (body-feeling speaking). When I finished in 4:27 (13:12 min/mile) I felt absolutely triumphant and ready to hit the paved road of my first marathon. The message always was, time does not matter; the important thing is to cover the distance, especially for the inaugural experience.

The times had been from 3:40 to 4:45 (this one just before Houston). Considering that I was in better shape for Houston than ever, 4:45 was not a thrilling result, but I remember being a horrible 20- miler in the hilliest and steepest course that I could've picked. At mile 16 the legs were ready to quit but mind wasn't. At mile 17 the mind joined the legs, saying 17 hilly miles equal 20 regular. Something in the background said: yeah right; a 2 and a 0 must be registered in the watch. I kept going with nothing in my system. One of the hardest 20-miler I've run... or the hardest??? But as always, I told to myself, the importance is to cover the distance.

And then 2012 came with Big Sur in the plans as the selected spring marathon, and a 20-miler was scheduled as part of Ft. Steilacoom Resolution Races. Because it was a race, I knew I would run it much better than if I was alone by myself meandering through roads for endless hours. The results were more than fantastic. I had a solid run and clocked 3:10:12 for a 9:31 min/mile pace. If I felt in 2007 so ready, I felt now more than geared up to conquer my 7th state, California.

A week after, I went for another long race, this time a familiar one: 30K (18.6 miles) at Birch Bay. I knew that I would do well, and that I should be under 3 hours according to the 20-mile results. Race results were good. I PRd the distance by 16 min: 3:00:33 for a 9:42 pace. The funny thing was that my body didn't cooperate much. My tummy hurt most of the race (food issues), and my right leg wanted to give out at every step of the way, and be removed and hung like a Spanish Serrano ham leg. I didn't feel good at all, and after 15K I started to lose ground by the K. But, as always I was happy. I still pulled off a good result!!!

5K - 29:10 - (29:10)
10K - 58:40 - (29:30)
15K - 1:28:49 - (30:09)
20K - 1:59:48 - (30:59)
25K - 2:31:00 - (31:12)
30K - 3:00:33 - (29:33)

Big Sur should be a success. Though is not a PR course and it’s described as a difficult course, I am in such a shape that I have to do much better than my actual best which is Coeur D’Alene 4:44.

The road to a marathon is not easy: from the training, the 20-mile long runs, the recovery, the nutrition, the hydration, and without question, the mental preparation to just believe and trust the process. The road to a marathon is nothing but A Long And Winding Road.

Ft. Steilacoom 20 miles
Birch Bay 30K (18.6 miles)
Birch Bay 30K (18.6 miles)

No comments: