How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!
Pain. Pride. Exhaustion. Elation. Those four words describe my run today.
If you had told me two years ago I’d be covering 20+ miles I would have laughed in your face. If you had told me a year ago I’d be covering 20+ miles I would have been exceptionally suspicious. Even this morning rolling up to the parking lot there was a twinge of fear. Was I really going to do this? I really didn’t have a choice. #ECSUT is coming up and my dry run at Eastern Divide (where I really don’t expect to make the time cut off) is even closer.
Today was the first day in 16 where it was going to be sunny and this weekend (when I had planned to do this) was going to be miserable, again. I submitted a leave slip and told my boss I was calling out waterlogged. He’s a runner too so it’s fairly easy to get him on board.
I got up at my regular time, had a quick breakfast and cup of coffee and was out the door by 0530. A stop for gas and Perry and I were on our way. After last weekends pain train of elevation I wanted something flat, soft and lengthy. That only left me with one option; the C&O canal.
There are many places you can catch the C&O; I settled on Caderock. It’s far enough away from the city to avoid throngs of people, but still close enough for me to have an easy drive home. The plan was simple; 11 miles up 11 miles back alternating a mile of run and a mile of walk.
Why the alternation? Well, if you didn’t know 20 miles is a long FUCKING way. I hadn’t crossed more than 16 previously and the number scared me a bit. I know I can walk 11 miles. I know I can run 11 miles. I’m just breaking the elephant down into bite sized pieces.
We started off in the mist. At 0630 the only folks out were fellow runners and the occasional bike commuter. It truly was peaceful.
Mile after mile we alternated running and walking. Enjoying the views and the peace. As we neared mile 8 a crowd of early morning senior citizen bird watchers came along. I didn’t have the heart to tell them all of the birds were already long since hiding. They’re old you’ve got to let them have hope.
We flipped around at mile 11 heading back to the car. Half way! Hooray.
At mile 15 there were starting to be gaggles of people. None of whom, that I could tell, had any trail etiquette. Perry and I bobbed and weaved for a bit until we got some distance from them.
Mile 19-20 was a walk mile and I was grateful. I wanted to savor the moment I flipped to 20. At 19.99 I started to run. Purely symbolic I know but I wanted to run into 20. Ah, the mind games we play.
Mile 20-22 were rough. I don’t think my knees had fully recovered from last weekend and I was starting to feel it. Plus the sun was out full bore and it was getting quite warm.
We reached the car at 22.88 miles thanks to a slight detour I took in the AM to get to the trail. I loaded Perry up, who by the way was still raring to go, and I stretched. Taking my sneakers off felt so amazing. I did it. I flipped the 20 mile mark. Go me! Now a nap and food and not in that order.
Elevation: 73 feet
Water consumed; 140 (70 w/Tailwind) plus whatever extra Perry drank out of the puddles and river
Food:Tailwind (Perry and I split), Picky Barsx2, Justin’s Hazelnut (for me), Justin’s Honey PB (for Perry)