On Sunday, I ran 15 miles. It wasn't exactly a ho-hum run, even though our pace was slow - we finished in about 2 hours 55 minutes. And it wasn't exactly a memorable run - three of us finished. But it was a great run for several reasons.
First, it was 15 miles and no matter how much I run, 15 miles will always be an awesome distance to run. It's longer than a half marathon and a distance I've only recently conquered.
Secondly - and perhaps more significant for me - it is the second-to-last long run before Surf City. No, we won't be throwing in any six-milers on Sundays in January, but these are the runs we'll be doing come next month: 12 miles, 15, 22, 12, 10. I like 12-mile runs. I really like 10-mile runs. Those are still long runs to me but there are certainly differences between 10-12 miles and 15-plus.
I can run 10 miles in less than two hours. I can run 12 miles in less than that too, probably, though in our running group we've typically finished those runs in about 2 hours 10 minutes or so, give or take.
It's not to say that I don't have fun running 15 miles or more. My 20-mile run was a great accomplishment. And I know that I'll enjoy running 22 miles. But it just seems a bit relaxing knowing that I'll only have to run more than 12 miles twice in the next month.
There is a flip side to all of this, though. The fewer long runs, the fewer training runs, the closer we get to the marathon. And for me, that will be the run to end all runs. So yeah I'll be a bit nervous for that. But that's a bridge I'll cross when I get to it.
For now, I'm going to enjoy the enjoyable thought of having nearly scaled all of my long-distance training runs.