Yesterday, I hit the road for a long run. The longest of my life - both in miles and in time. I was scheduled to do a 26 mile run but had already reduced it to 23 since I have really not run much (nothing over 6 miles) in just over a month. The Houston Marathon is the third weekend in January so this was my last long run. I know a lot of marathon training plans don't have you run over 20 miles but I am really glad to have run 23. I know I can gut it out for 3 more miles.
I have run progressive long runs of 14, 17, 20 and 23. It is really interesting that somewhere about 80% of the way into the run, give or take a little, the mental side begins to take control. There is no doubt the joints, legs, feet and hips are hurting by then but the old nugget between the ears begins to rule. At that point I have found you just have to get it done. I was really wondering how 23 was going to be as the 20 miler was very difficult for me. I really felt pretty good (relatively speaking) when I got to 20 miles. Don't get me wrong, I was ready to stop, but I felt pretty good.
Ran a couple of mean hills in the last 3.5 miles so they really hurt. More than normal. When I got home, I immediately forced myself into my pool to use it as an ice bath. After about 15-20 minutes of that, I iced my calves and quads and laid on the floor elevating my legs.
Today, I feel pretty good. A little stiff getting out of bed this morning but it passed really quickly. Other than my knees being a little creaky and my hips feeling like they have a little sandpaper in them, I feel good. If you haven't seen the "day after the marathon" videos on YouTube, you should check them out. I didn't look like that - for this I am glad.
The next 3 weeks are taper with 7 mile long runs each weekend.
Houston here we come.