Yesterday, I completed my longest run ever - 20 miles. I was nervous going into the day. My previous high was 16 miles last year, and 14 miles this season. I wasn't sure I would be able to make the extra distance. Every time I finish a half marathon, I feel like I have given it my all, and there is no way I could go any further. It would all be tested on Saturday.
I woke up at 4:10am to meet my friend to get an early start. She prefers to go earlier in the day for long runs so we can finish earlier. I was hesitant to wake up this early, but I am sure glad that I did. We met in the pitch darkness of the morning. I was surprised to see 6 people from another group already there to run. There were 4 in our group, so there are at least 10 crazy people in the area. We ran with headlamps and a little but of conversation. I was scared after the first mile - I seemed to be having problems breathing. I felt like I was going too fast, but there was no choice. I did not have my own lamp, and there was no way I was going to be by myself in the dark. The others were able to slow for me, though, and we ran 5 miles before heading back to meet the group.
It turned out to be an extra benefit for me. My Garmin watch failed after 4.8 miles. I was lucky to be able to reset it in the parking lot before the main group run began. It would have been really horrible to have it fail during the main run.
We began the big group run with a 10 miler on a familiar path. I felt like I was doing quite well at first, but became tired on the return. Of course I was tired! By that time, I was in the 13th mile of my day. We returned to the start and our group began to break up according to how long everyone was to run. The longer distance group went out again. I maintained my place in the back of the 5 person main group. I was tired, but overall, felt surprisingly good.
Soon, I was saying goodbye to my friends. I was so glad to have run the 5 miles so early, so I was able to cut the run short and head back to the car. I was lucky to meet another Galloway runner on the path heading back to the lake. She had lost her legs during her run, and fell behind her group. It was so nice to have someone to finish the last 2.5 miles. It really helps to have someone to talk to at that point. She was great, but soon we were parting ways. She had another 3 miles to finish when I was done. I headed home after about 5 1/2 hours of running.
I felt OK when I got home. Stretching was tough, but I put on my compression socks. This morning, my legs feel pretty good, but I do have soreness in my hips. I have 2 more training runs (23 mi and 26 mi) plus the actual marathon. I am beginning to think I can really do it.