The 20-Miler on the Marathon Course

It’s like I’ve completely forgotten how to train for a marathon.

The first time I ran a marathon, I did it with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training. I had a very specific training plan, a coach and guidelines and weekly phone calls and everything. They offered great support, and I followed the plans to the letter, including all the stretching after the runs. I felt really really good during my race and really happy.

The next time I ran a marathon was after having two babies. I was doing a lot of long runs and decided to run another marathon. I stuck very close to a training plan for that and followed all the “rules” of training, and not only did I qualify for Boston but I PR’ed with a time of 3:36.


Last summer I trained kind of badly for a marathon with blood, sweat, tears, and a leg injury that I ignored. I qualified for Boston but paid the price of having to take several months off, which meant I started training for Boston with no base mileage to speak of.

I seem to have backslid and regressed even further. This time around I don’t quite exactly even have a training plan. I ran a half marathon two weeks ago and forgot to eat beforehand. Can you believe it? By sheer luck I had one gel on me but I had to eat it too early in the race and it was a kind I’d never had before and I didn’t have enough water to wash it down. Isn’t a basic rule to fuel up before and during?


Last week I went out for 17 miler, again not exactly fueling well and realizing by mile 14 that my shoes (the Ghosts I ran my September marathon in….but haven’t really run in much since then, since I took the fall off and spent the winter running on ice in trail shoes) didn’t have enough support.

Tomorrow I run 20 miles on the Boston Marathon course itself. I can’t wait. My running club is totally supporting it, with four food and water stops. I think there’s a police detail to control traffic. It’s a big day, because it’s generally the last and (for some of us the only) 20-miler for almost everyone before the race itself.

Of course, I haven’t had a chance to go buy new running shoes. So I ordered some from Amazon. I took a test run in one pair (Saucony Mirage 4) this morning and realized they’re not going to work for me. The other pairs arrived tonight. I won’t have a chance to try them before the run tomorrow. So I’m going to pack my old shoes and will wear a pair of the new shoes (Saucony ProGrid 7, a model I don’t think I’ve run in before) and hope for the best. I also have big plans to eat breakfast before I leave and will bring food with me. Brilliant, right? It’s like I’m already on top of this.

I know the long runs are a time to hammer out the kinks, but this is getting ridiculous. I can’t find the running gloves I wore all winter, the gloves I ran with just two days ago. I think I left them at a cafe near work. I don’t know which are my favorite socks, because I’ve been wearing the same pair of high wool running socks all winter. I have no idea which of my ankle socks don’t slip down, because I haven’t worn them in so long. I still need to check the forecast, I’m out of gels and sport beans, and you know what? I don’t care. It’s very freeing, this not-running-for-any-sort-of-time-goal. It gives me so much room to do so much so half-assedly. I mean, this isn’t ideal, but it’s not going to ruin much for me, ultimately. And I ran 17 last week and it was tough but I did it, so I’m pretty sure I can get through 20 tomorrow, especially since there will be so many others out there, and so many water and fuel stops along the way.

Here’s to tomorrow and the confidence it will give me!

And here’s to having the new shoes work out just fine for me!!


Leave a Reply