I ran twenty miles yesterday!
For me, a twenty-mile run is traditionally the longest run in a round of marathon training, so it's an important one. I was out for about four and a half hours, which is about how long I want the entire marathon to take, but I'm not too worried yet; it's pretty standard for me to go a lot faster on race day than I do on my training runs, both because in the race there's no waiting at traffic lights and because the excitement of being in a crowd of runners always makes me go faster.
The first five miles of the run weren't particularly pleasant. Before starting, I had eaten a nice big bowl of granola and banana, and then, recalling how awful it feels to run out of calories in the middle of a twenty-miler, I had quickly crammed another banana down my maw on the way out the door. My intentions had been good, but I really shouldn't have started running before letting the food settle. My digestive system was very unhappy until I was finally able to stop for an emergency restroom break at mile five. After that, things were much better: I had about ten pleasant miles in the perfect 50-degree spring weather that finally arrived this weekend.
From mile fifteen until the end, things were a bit rough. At any given time, I have a couple of pairs of running shoes that I alternate, and right now, one of my two pairs is a little better-fitting than the other. I'd thought about wearing the better-fitting shoes for this run, but for some reason I had decided that I should save the wear and tear on my good pair for "some time when it will really matter" and wear the worse-fitting pair instead. Note for future reference: the twenty-mile run is a time when it really matters, fool. The worse-fitting shoes are slightly too big in the front of the foot, which means that I have to lace them very tightly in an effort to keep my feet from sliding around inside them. This works okay as a stop-gap measure on short runs, but for long distances, even if I tighten the laces periodically, it's not enough, and I start to get nasty blisters. I took the day off from running today, and my feet have mostly recovered. The good news is that I think the limiting factor in my speed for the last part of yesterday's run was blister pain rather than muscle pain, so if I get some blister-prevention socks and wear my better-fitting shoes during the race, my feet should be reasonably happy. And if all else fails, I can always prevent blisters by slathering my feet in an oily substance.
All things considered, I feel good about how this run went. It felt remarkably normal. I'm thinking about doing another 20-miler next weekend, which would make this the first time I've done two of them in one round of training. We'll see how I feel when the time comes.