I woke up this morning for a 20 mile long run with the LA Leggers. I hadn't done 20 miles the last time our group met, so this would be the first time since the LA Marathon in May that I will be running this mileage. Sure I ran 18 miles last month, but once you get past 10, each mile marker is a major milestone.
Our pace team does 4:1's for long distances - 4 miles running and 1 mile walking - This adds up to a 12 minute/mile pace. We started with about 30 people at a little past 6 in the morning. I ran alongside a 12 member Terry for most of the way, which was great since our conversation made the first hour go by quickly. Our path today went from Santa Monica through Venice and through Marina del Rey. Although I have lived in Los Angeles most of my life, I am constantly surprised and in awe by the unexpected beauty I find. The run up the jetty in the Marina was fun, although once we got to the bike path, sharing a small strip with fast cyclists proved to be a challenge. I kept hugging my edge of the road, working on balance, and keeping one foot ahead of the other. Keep moving, have to keep moving.
Over the course of the run, we lost some people. They either slowed down or had to stop. At around mile 18 I thought about stopping also, but it helps when you have a group whose energy you can feed off of. In the last mile I counted on Larissa who kept giving up encouraging words. I used her words like mini fuel shots. Almost there, almost there.
One of my favorite elements of running with the Leggers is the group camaraderie. We also cheer other groups on. The LA Roadrunners did 16 miles today. Good for them! We'll be seeing them on the course in LA in March.
By the time we arrived our finish, we ran 20 miles at 4:03 hours. Thanks to Mentors John, Rene, Larissa, and runners Terry, Jeff, Bernie and others for a great run. Also thanks to the 10.5 group water station staffers (as well as Top to Top who also helped out). See you next Saturday.