This past Saturday (12.20.2008) a fair percentage of "Richard's Goofy Team" ran the 20-miler that shows up on all marathon training calendars. I have, in the past, really dreaded this date on the calendar. Mostly I suppose, because I have had to make those miles alone. Somehow it has never worked out that I have been able to make that particular run with any of the group. So, as the date approached and the location was solidified, I became tense and worried. A 20-mile run an hour from home on the last Saturday before Christmas. Hmmm ... I did smell trouble brewing. Thanfully, with the support and encouragement of Mike, my ever positive personal cheerleader, I ventured off with my long-time friend Cathy to "run" 20 miles.
Some of the group met on the South side of town at 4:30 a.m. (OUCH!) to run flat, paved, lesser-traveled loops. Others of the group met at Team Tally's traditional 20-mile run location: St. Mark's Wildlife Refuge. When the clock chimed 9:00 a.m. this group set off on a perambulation of the St. Mark's Wildlife Refuge beginning at the Visitors' Center; running to the front gates; journeying to the Lighthouse; and then gutting it out back to the Visitors' Center. I had fully expected this run to be just about as close to miserable as one could get without actually receiving a medal for completing a marathon. However, in hind sight, I was pleasantly surprised that it was in fact no so at all. I would not exactly call it a pleasant run. The weather was in the 70's and one of the coolers we had put out near mile 10 was stolen before the first in our group reached it. That meant no water from miles 7+ to 13, and then again from miles 13 to 19. Fourtunately, one of the group (our fearless leader from the past, Chuck) drove up and down the road with Gatoraide in the back of his car to hand out along the way. I had tucked a bottle in my top at about mile 15 and rationed that out until I hit the last stop at just under mile 19.
I surprised myself by running consistent miles until mile 17 (when I was really, really hot and my water had run out...), but even then my time was faster than I had run the Donna in February. Overall, I was pleased. Except for a twinge in my right hip which I can't explain I feel pretty dog gone good. I can only pray that for the next 8 weeks I can stay HEALTHY and INJURY FREE. That is my plan, that is my goal and "I'm stickin' to it!"
I can say with all confidence, 20 miler not withstanding, I am glad that one's over! Whew!