Twenty miles is no joke.
I ran 20 miles on Sunday and, guess what?, I feel like I ran 20 miles. All day Monday I spent trying to recover from the run, trying to walk normally, to ignore the soreness that enveloped my legs and such.
It was a little tricky considering I had to ref a girls varsity soccer game. I really did not feel like doing the game but I had to go out there and do my job, which I did. I felt way more tired after the match than I do normally but that's understandable. I did have to make some long runs and some fast runs but otherwise the game passed by without too much incident.
My feet too felt uncomfortable. It was as if the shock and trauma my feet suffered hung around for much of Monday.
However, this morning I woke up and felt better. More normal. I didn't run, and won't run until Wednesday, but I could call my legs into action and not feel too bad if I had to.
I don't usually feel sore after runs, not even 12 miles or more. If I did, I would be in trouble. After all, that's what all these long-distance runs have been for, to help my body get used to the pounding a marathon will provide. I'm supposed to be well past the point that a 15-mile run will knock me out of commission for a day or two.
Now, this 20-miler was different. I'll only run 20 miles twice before the marathon. My next one will be a 22-mile run, on Jan. 17. And for that one, I'll try and not stress about it until at least Jan. 4.
Really, though, Sunday's run and the Jan. 17 run will be the only two runs that will render me useless for a day or two afterward, until of course Surf City knocks me out for some time. Along with the Cedar River Run, it's these runs that are the toughest parts of the training, but also the only ones that can really adequately prepare you for a marathon.
I don't know what it will be like when I'm at Mile 24 or 25 (!) of Surf City. There's no way I can know until I'm there, plodding along close to the pier at Huntington Beach on Feb. 7, probably wishing I'd be done with the stinking marathon, likely praying for an end to the race. I can't know that until I'm there.
But I know what it's like to run when it feels as if every muscle in my body is telling me not to. I know what it's like to break the 20-mile barrier. And those are two things I will undoubtedly come across in Surf City. I'll probably reach the former sometime after crossing the latter.
And knowing what it feels like to have come across those obstacles before is just some of what will help me get to the finish line at Surf City.