A week ago I ran a 20-mile race. After not running much all summer, I was happy to see that I still have that as a base, apparently. I made it the whole way, albeit in my slowest time ever for a 20-miler, 3:19:43 (9:59).
A friend of mine is going through typical 1st-marathonistis as she gets ready for the MCM, bemoaning that she isn't ready, can't do it, etc. She determined to do this 20-mile race as a test of her conditioning, because she had never run past 16 miles before.
As a surprise to her, I showed up at the race too. We ran together. I ran at her pace the first ten miles, 10:30s. She can run faster than that but she was afraid of crashing and burning.
Then when she was confident she could finish the race, she dialed down the times. Soon miles were flashing under our feet at 9:15s. We passed by MP 19 stride in stride. But I don't care that we did the first ten miles at a relative snail's pace, and that I had saved some gas in my tank the first half of race. It had no effect in that last mile. Nineteen miles at my age is nineteen miles.
Youth was served. (She's 20 years younger.) She found a new gear, one which I didn't have anymore at this late stage of the race. I wished her well and told her to pick off all those runners ahead of us as she moved out. She was two blocks ahead of me as we went into the final turn leading to a concluding lap around a school track. I fell behind a minute or two more when I stopped at my car in the parking lot before I finished and rummaged around in it for my camera.
It was a good training run. I was pleased that I was able to run the whole way without having to walk. I worry that I couldn't respond in that last mile but that's the way it is. My friend is ready though!