That was my best 20-miler ever. Not only did I feel great during the run, but afterwards as well. I stretched right before going to bed, and woke up feeling only a little sore. I can go up and down stairs!
I think the key was preparation. I treated it almost like a race. For the few days leading up to it, I made sure to get as much sleep as possible, and I ate a lot of pasta, rice, and potatoes. I say almost because I didn't exactly taper. I ran a mid-length long run of 12 miles on Thursday, and a marathon pace run on Friday (6 miles @ 9:00/mile, 2 mile WU--actual pace 8:58). Saturday I ran 4.28 miles easy with Mark in the late morning and then spent the rest of the day resting.
Yesterday I was actually nervous! I mean, this is definitely one of the most important workouts leading up to this marathon. If I can't get the long runs down I'm not going to be in great shape for 26.2 miles. I got up late and checked the weather. I decided to run 2-5 p.m. to take advantage of the warmest few hours of the day. I packed a shoebox full of essentials--couple extra layers, Gu, Clif Bar, Garmin, sunglasses, case for regular glasses, beanie, gloves, and extra hair ties. Also took two large full water bottles to stash. Just like before a race, I had to pee about 40 times.
I drove down to the trail, first to the Country Club trailhead to stash Water Bottle #1 and then to the Church Lane trailhead to park. I stashed Water Bottle #2 and two Gu packets (saving one for post-run recovery). The planned route, four mini out-and-backs, went off without a hitch (although I did have to stop to pee twice because 40 times before just wasn't enough).
And the difference was definitely like night and day! It was hard, but there was never a point where I truly wanted to stop. I apologize about rambling on and on about this run, but I'm having so many feelings of relief, triumph, confidence, and vindication all mixed together. Feeling so good today is truly like the icing on the cake. I'll take my SRD (maybe a little yoga and/or ab work later) and go into tomorrow's hill repeats feeling energized! For the first time this season I feel like I might be prepared for this marathon!