It was probably the 17th of 32 kilometres today that I realized how hard distance running could be. I had a relatively late start to my Sunday run, and I was overheating early. I don't usually blink an eye at these long distances, at least until after the 13 mile mark, so I was a little concerned that I was counting down the miles so early.
Later, I stopped at a water fountain, refilled my three bottles, then proceeded to dunk water on my head and arms and back, anything to cool myself off. That helped. I had scheduled a bunch of out and backs, making sure that I'd have access to water fountains at least every six miles, just enough so that I would never run dry.
And as I was taking the third of three gels, I reminded myself what a toll long distance does to you. You sweat out salts, your heart rate steadily increases, you start to run out of juice. I took a few breaks and on one of them, standing in the shade, I contemplated my 6 kilometres to go, and wondered how I run these distances at faster paces on race day. Amazing what we can do.
At least I'm not alone. The trails of Toronto by the water are filled with distance runners every weekend morning. It's gratifying that I'm not alone. I saw quite a few familiar faces, and even passed a few runners on our out and backs. You can tell they're going long when you see them an hour after your first spotting.
Training is going pretty well. I've decided that this fall is not about speed, it's about running multiple marathons in a month. Three in four weeks will be quite the feat, and I'll have to recover quickly. I'm looking forward to it.
Today's was just the 2nd 20 miler of the summer, and I have one more to go. Funnily, my time today was only a minute or so off the last one. At least I'm consistent. And at least I ran a progressively faster run.
20 miles in 2:48:36 with average pace of 8:24 miles.