Sunday, October 02, 2011

20 miler #2

Alright. I've had one great 20 miler with Carrie. Now I'm going to do the official 20 miler - the Newton Ready to Run.

Each year we do the Ready to Run in the third weekend of September. This year, with my close friends resting up for Berlin, I was going to tackle it alone. Well, not alone really. Instead of three hours of constant conversation about anything under the sun but running, I'd have short dialogs with some of my fellow 10:30's in my wave. The rest of the time I'd try doing a long run with my iPod.

The twenty miler course started at Wilson and headed north to around Bryn Mawr. We then headed south, like, so far south we ran out of lakefront path.

At the start, samples of Gatorade prime was handed out. I used it to wash down a few gu chomps, then it was our wave's turn to start.

I approached the twenty miler different this year. The weather was cool and overcast. I decided to announce a goal finish time of 3:30 to a few friends. I wanted to see if making a decision to state a finish time would help me mentally stick to a consistent pace.

The 20 miler is a journey, literally and figuratively. It's certainly a long distance to run, even for the best in shape. But I think the mental part is really the toughest. I find it's easier to keep my legs moving forward than it is to often deal with whatever is going on in my head. Whether I have made the mistake of counting backwards from 20 or if I realize I've underestimated where I am on the route.

Year and after year, the 20 miler has been a warm race. This year, the course weather condition flags stayed green meaning 'ideal running conditions.' Not something you see often mid-September in Chicago. There was on and off light rain, but from the sounds of chatter around me, most appreciated the cooling effect as opposed to heat.

As mile one turned in to five and ten, my pace stayed on target, but my achilles was not happy.  It continued to grow tigher and my calf muscle throbbed along with it. In the last few miles of the run, my left IT band had begun bothering me as well.

Once again, the group I finished with was happy to see the South Shore Cultural Center where the finish line was. Immediately after crossing the finish line, I headed over to the the NovaCare tent. I had finished in 3:33.

It's been a week - time to have someone take a look at the achilles.

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