20 Miles, No Problem Mon

Have you ever tried your hardest to achieve something for months or even years and always fell short? But then finally, you reach that point where you finally feel accomplished and satisfied with your progress. At last you know that what seemed out of reach is now in your grasp. For more than a year I’ve been struggling. The goal was to run the NYC marathon. What a dream, how awesome would it be to call myself a marathoner? I doubted myself so many times throughout the year. There were sessions where I felt like things were not getting better, but worse. Its like pushing a truck that is driving against you. Just a week and a half ago, I felt like a failure with perhaps the worst 13 miler ever. But since I’m not dead, and it can be done, then I’ll just try again. The memories of defeat are wiped away with new hope. And finally finally finally, as of September 9th, I’m confident that I can run 26 miles on November 4th. I could’ve ran that distance last Sunday. But before that story; just some weekly updates:

Monday: 7.04 miles @ 8:46 min/mile pace. Under 9 min/mile, oh yea, getting faster!

Wednesday: 7.02 miles @ 9:00 min/mile pace. I’m still impressed with my progress.

Thursday: 5.26 miles @ 10:05 min/mile pace. Sometimes you just don’t feel like running but do it anyway. I just decided to run wherever my legs took me. This was the ideal recovery run; new neighborhoods, new views, and relaxing pace.

Sunday (part 1): 10.09 miles @ 9:42 min/mile pace. The Bronx 10-miler race.

I was actually nervous about the 20 mile journey, as if I was running a real marathon or something. Well when you think about it, a 20 miler is just one 10K short of one. Breaking the 20 miles into 2 was perhaps the best mental trick thus far.  Anyway, the first 10 miles was great; it was the NYRR Bronx 10-miler race!

It was a nice 70 degree morning, and I ran with my running partner (Alex) the whole way. We went to high school in the Bronx and the route actually passed right by it. Speaking of the route, it started at Yankee stadium, to Moshulu Pkwy and back. Most of the Bronx was still asleep I suppose; too much partying last night perhaps. No crowds cheering unlike in the Brooklyn Half marathon. I still enjoyed the race as it brought back some teenage memories as I passed by familiar areas. This is the only picture that survived; the Fordham road underpass:


After a final mile sprint to the finish, it then occurred to me, this is not the end, but the beginning.

Sunday (part 2): 10.03 miles @ 10:20 min/mile pace via Riverside and Central park.


At the finish line, there were masses of runners enjoying their finish line victory. But the show goes on for Jon. Keeping my race bib on my shirt, I ran through the mob of accomplished runners and headed for Macombs bridge into Washington Heights Manhattan which leads straight into Riverside.

Mile 12,13,14,15… New Jersey to my right, bikers and runners in the front and behind me. Some runners give a little smile because my race bib is still on and says “Bronx 10-Mile”. They know how much I ran already and how many more I had to run to get that far. It would be cool if everyone had a bubble on top of their head which shows how many miles they’ve run. By mile 16, I reached Central Park. Well here is a shocker, I feel fine, like after running a 10K. Amazing! Best feeling ever! There was a Susan Komen Cancer walk/run event going on in Central park which meant… Gatorade stations! Everything worked out way better than I could’ve imagined. Mile 20 was unreal, I could’ve kept going easily.My total run time for 20 miles was 3:21. It looks like I can be a 4:30 marathoner easily. Lessons learned for running 3 hours or more:

– Carbo load, but too much.
– Eat a light pre-race meal, like oatmeal and PB on bread.
– Have a GU or something every 10K.
– Run a pace that is 30/60 seconds slower than your normal pace to reserve energy.
– And most importantly, hydrate hydrate Hydrate!
– And second important, have fun. If you aren’t, then its gonna be a looong run.

2 thoughts on “20 Miles, No Problem Mon

  1. PDX Running Chick September 14, 2012 / 12:08 pm

    I hate to say I told you so. . . but I’m a woman, and you know any opportunity to tell a man that I told him something that has now finally come to pass, I will not pass up! Congratulations Jon!! So incredibly happy for you (and yeah, a little jealous since it killed me to run 13.5 last weekend) but I knew you would get to this point! There is nothing better than getting to the end of 20 and realizing that you could run even further! Enjoy and appreciate where you are and where you came from just a few short months ago. Very, very happy for you! 🙂

  2. sephiroth796 September 17, 2012 / 6:27 am

    You knew it all along! But I also had a miserable 13 the weekend prior also. Was I lucky or did I finally figure out what works for me? Next week, the theory will be put to the test for another 20 miler. If you prepare in the same way, eat the same thing, run the same way, shouldn’t you reach the same goal? I really hope so, we shall see this Saturday. 7 weeks left till the big one!

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