No I Am Not Training For A Marathon…Yet

SaturdayLongRunPart of what I really enjoy about running is pushing my limits.  I would love to go faster, but deep down I really want to know how far is too far.  Last month I pushed the limits a bit and ran just a bit shy of fifteen miles.  So this month I decided to have a one day running adventure, I wanted to tackle twenty miles just to see if it was possible.  Besides pushing distance there was little reason to do this run, except to see if I was up to the task of running twenty miles.

Before I set out I figured my path and found spots where I could refuel as I ran.  My goal was simple, just run with no particular goal pace and just enjoy the run.  I decided I would try to stick to a 1:30/:30 run/walk ratio, one I had been using on my shorter runs.   In preparation for this run I bought a water bottle lumbar pack and figured I could carry my normal 20oz in my hand and the included bottle in the pack.  The pack also gave me the added benefit of a little bit extra storage, so I stashed enough gels and my credit card as well as a spare battery charger for the phone.  Before I left my house I applied anti friction glide to all the necessary areas and I was ready to go.

My first stop was just passed the local dump, about four miles away.  I have ran this path a few times and biked it more often in the past year.  The goal here was to just go slow and ease myself into my run, let everything adapt to the act of manual locomotion.  I sorta like this section as the end marks the first landmark, the unincorporated town of Pine Log.  Pine Log is a small dilapidated one street town whose locals have never left and in some ways it has a rural america feel to it.  Pine Log also marks the first major turn on my route shooting me onto a road I would stay on for a little while.  The only highlight on this road is the old Baptist Church and the first wide open cattle fields.

I spent allot of time running next to cattle.  This little section had a very scenic creek running along the road.  I saw very few cars  on this quiet stretch.

I spent allot of time running next to cattle. This little section had a very scenic creek running along the road. I saw very few cars on this quiet stretch.

Eventually I turn onto Tennessee Street and start heading to the small town of White.  This section of road is extremely long and hilly but luckily weaves in and out of shade between cattle farms.  By this point I have it a rhythm and my mind has locked onto the task at hand.  My legs still feel fresh and the running adventure is not yet half way.  I foolishly count down my miles as time rolls on, partially because its so fascinating to think that my half way point would be ten miles.  I know there is more running to do and I just keep chugging along, watching birds fly in formation and mooing at cows… I was really enjoying myself.  After eight miles I finally arrived at White and in no time I ran straight through it towards my half way mark.

Vaughan Cemetery.  7 Miles completed and still going strong.  Just a bit past Pine Log and before White.

Vaughan Cemetery. 7 Miles completed and still going strong. Just a bit past Pine Log and before White.

As I pulled into White I ran into my first cyclist gawker (I was running on a very popular set of cycling roads).  As often happens he stopped to politely inquire if I was the same runner he had last seen a few hours ago and how far I was going.  I told him I was doing a twenty miler and for the first but not last time of the day he asked if I was training for a marathon.  I honestly did not even think of that when planning this adventure, I just wanted to know if I could do the distance.  He thought my lack of marathon dreams and running a twenty miler for the sake of running the distance to be amusing and admirable and wished me luck as we moved our separate ways.

8.5 Miles done and I then entered the small town of White.

8.5 Miles done and I then entered the small town of White.

As I left White I gained a spring in my step, I was heading to my midpoint resupply truck stop and nearing the ten mile mark.  As I have ridden parts of this course on bike before I am familiar with mileage.  I trudged on keeping with my interval, up and down hills, basically I just kept moving.  This section of road was busier and I was eager to get to the Truck Stop to grab some nuts and refill my water.

After hours on the backroads the noise of the truck stop and business of the roads was a little alarming.  Of course this was my last resupply point 13 miles done, 7 left.

After hours on the backroads the noise of the truck stop and business of the roads was a little alarming. Of course this was my last resupply point 13 miles done, 7 left.  

After a long three plus hours of running (might have been close to four) I finally came up to the truck stop and resupply point.  I ran into my gawker from earlier and he sent me encouragement as once again we went our ways.  After running for that period of time and covering a half marathon already I was famished.  When I smelled the grilled burger scent in the air I made the one decision I would later regret, just because I know it was counter productive to my end goals.  I bought some almonds and refilled my water then proceeded to order a cheese burger.  I got a couple of inquiries to my disheveled appearance and everyone was enthralled that I had been running over three hours and still had seven miles to go.  The question kept coming up though “Are you training for a Marathon?”  They were more puzzled by my just for fun and challenge comment, not understanding why anyone would want to  spend a day just running.  I unwrapped the burger and tossed all extra paper and boxing in the trash and then headed out the door and proceeded to eat and run.  While I regret that decision now, it was the best burger I have ever eaten, yet it felt like it barely scratched the hunger I built up.

4 Miles left to go and mostly uphill from here.  Great view though.  I was crawling by this point.

4 Miles left to go and mostly uphill from here. Great view though. I was crawling by this point.

When I left the truck stop I knew I had some good hills left and with seven miles left I was sure I could finish.  As I neared the final fifteen miles the climbs started to really put a hurt on my legs.  My pace slowed to a crawl, but I was determined to the mileage so I walked when I needed to and tried to run as often as possible.  I knew that once I got within four miles I would have a steep uphill climb, followed  by a short down then two to three miles of steady moderate uphill.  I pushed and fought for every single mile.  I realized at the end that the aggressive run/walk ratio really took its toll.  I looked up and before I knew it I was at the head of my driveway, I had finished 19.4 miles.  It was six tenths of a mile shorter than I wanted, but I was very pleased with the distance and the enjoyable adventure.  The biggest surprise came when my I found my wife waiting for me on the driveway, protein shake in hand and congratulations on finishing.

This post marks the final mile to be ran and then home and recovery and happiness at completing this adventure and 20 miles.

This post marks the final mile to be ran and then home and recovery and happiness at completing this adventure and 20 miles.

I almost lost it right then and there, I had only just finished my first half marathon last November and now I was completing a twenty mile run, albeit at a snail pace.  Of course I was not training for a marathon, I just wanted to know how far I could go… and while this proved challenging I still have not reached my limit on how far and long I can run. Til next time.

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17 comments

  1. Running twenty miles is impressive whether part of a training program or “just for fun”. The personal challenge of pushing your limits physically and mentally is one of my favorite things about running.

  2. A lot of non-runners don’t understand running 20 miles just for fun. It sounds like you’ve got a positive attitude, a good spirit, and a great woman supporting you. Keep it up! I’ve never dedicated a whole day to a just for fun running adventure, but I’m thinking now that I should.

    1. Funny thing is that night all I could do was think about what I need to do to go further. It was fun not having a time goal and just going running for the sake of running. Go get em and have fun. Thanks.

  3. Awesome run – and some marathon plans only have you run 20-milers as the longest distance! I think you’re physically ready to do it, just pick a race and commit! 🙂

  4. 19.4 is awesome man! That’s six more than I’ve ever had the desire to run at one time. Absolutely fantastic!

    On a side note, I’ve thought about offering one small tidbit for quite a while now:

    a lot = several or many.
    allot = set aside, as in “I will allot four hours time for my ride today”.

    Great job on your run brother.

    1. Yeah, that word gets misspelled often or mutated by spell check. Mostly it’s me. Thanks.

    2. I thought “a lot” was where you went to buy a cat. Sorry, could not help myself. Grin.

      1. Yes, and this is where Britain has us beat – they don

      2. Oops! In Britain they don’t park in a lot – they call it a carpark.

  5. Congrats on 19.4 miles. That is a daunting distance.
    I often get hungry while running. My stomach even growls sometimes. I usually have some fig Newtons, banana or something. Cheeseburger? Yikes, that’s taking a chance.
    A friend recently recommended a beverage called Tumeric – Elixer of Life. It’s a fruit drink with Turmeric, ginger and other pungent spices. They are supposed to be a natural anti-inflammatory.
    I’ve tried it after three long runs and it seems to work. web is tumericalive dot com.
    Something to keep in mind as you push your distance. I’m trying to avoid too much ibuprofen.

    1. The burger worked, just bad calories. Almonds usually do well. I too am trying to avoid Dr. .I and find stretching and rolling do the trick.

  6. amazing story! you’re an inspiration my friend! Keep it up

    1. Thank you. I have enjoyed yours as well.

  7. Wow! Brilliant post! That is a heck of a lot of miles, congratulations! Your wife is awesome, waiting for you with a protein shake! 🙂

    1. She is coming around slowly. It has not been an easy time adjusting to my athleticism. Thanks.

  8. […] I had a nice little day long adventure running around Rydel Georgia completing a 20 mile run (details here).  Sunday I was feeling a bit sore, but nothing debilitating. Regardless I took the day off and on […]

  9. […] First 20 mile run just to see if I could do it.  Finished the last five miles with a whopper (read it here) […]

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