This past Saturday, on my second 20-miler, I managed to shave off 7 minutes from my first time. I know I'm not running for time, just for time on my feet, but it was encouraging to see the lower number. Better even, the run felt wonderful. I wouldn't go as far as to call it easy, but it was pleasant and mostly painless. It sounds crazy, but the second 20 required less effort than a Hill Day or speed work. Maybe I'm in a good head space right now, but I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
I learned a couple things during those three and a half hours:
1.) I really, intensely, dislike cyclists. Okay, it's not fair to lump all of them in the same category, since the experienced ones are fun to watch. The good ones look like a flock of colorful birds zipping down the road in perfect formation. They even cock their heads at the same angle, at the same time. It's like ballet on bikes. The new cyclists, however, the ones that wobble all over the place and don't know how to downshift, are the ones that scare me. They appear unaware of the rules of the road, which makes me crazy. Here's a crash course: I, the little runner, is smaller than you, the dude on the contraption with wheels, meaning you yield to me. Do not push me off the road. Do not push me into traffic. Do not ride next to your best friend, leaving little or no room for me on the pavement. Fall back, ass hat. And when I signal to you to "MOVE OVER!" don't smile and wave at me. I am not attempting to be friendly; I can't even tell your gender when your helmet and sunglasses are on. You all look like intersexed beetles to me.
2.) The farther I run, the more likely I will be to find some furry friends. Namely, sweet little burros. I call them my "breakfast burros" since I see them right around breakfast time. On Highway 159, as you get closer to Bonnie Springs, the burros like to hang out in that area. If you see one, you'll usually see a lot more. This past Saturday I saw seven. This was right around miles 9-13, meaning I was starting to get super bored, so a burro sighting can really spice things up. I waved and hollered to them like they were old friends, and they responded by charging up the hill, away from the crazy runner lady.
3.) I may or may not have an abusive relationship with my hydration belt.
Twenty miles. The next time I run that distance will be the night of the marathon. Twenty is commonly seem as the point in the race where runners hit "the wall" and muscles begin to cramp. As Hal Higdon in "Marathon" so appropriately puts it, "Twenty miles is about the time that many marathoners start comping unglued as they deplete their muscles of glycogen. The doors fall off. The bear drops on their shoulders. They get a case of the 'riggies' as rigor mortis sets in. Suddenly, running becomes much, much more difficult and they maybe forced to to slow down or walk or even stop."
Please, please, please don't let the doors fall off.