I’m always a little nervous/anxious about the first 20 miler of any training cycle. I always hope that it will be a good strong run, so it can sort of set the tone for the rest of the long runs in the training cycle. I looked back through my previous marathon training cycles and I rarely have a strong first 20 miler. My one before Little Rock started out strong, with about an 8:54 pace for the first 14 miles, then it BOMBED and I struggled with the last 6 miles, crying and having some 10 and 11 minute miles. (Remember that run, when it was -10 windchill???). My first 20 miler before TCM last year also sucked, with a 9:31 average pace (which isn’t terrible), but the last 3 miles were 10:00+ minute pace. My first 20 miler before Illinois last year was also good, with 9:06 average pace and the last 6 miles being about 8:50 pace.
Well today was the first 20 miler of this Grandma’s training cycle and it went GREAT! I felt strong during the whole run, including the last 5 miles which I just “pushed” and they ended up being basically marathon pace. The best part of it was that it was at Baker Park Reserve’s 6.2 mile loop (3 times, plus some randomness), which is rolling hills. So to finish that strong, with all 20 miles being on rolling hills, is a good omen! Ended up with 20 miles in 2:59:25 (8:59 pace). With the last five miles being 8:40, 8:21, 8:29, 8:26, 9:06 (it was 8:42 pace for 3/4 of a mile, then my right thigh felt a little funky so I slowed and finished the mile at 9:06 pace).
This is a high mileage (for me) week (60 miles so far, with today’s long run), so I’m really happy that this first 20 miler went so well!
Bring on the Easter candy! I LOVE peeps! Marshmallow sugar deliciousness!