The anatomy of the long run

Fall is nearly here and that means marathon season.  And marathon season means most us who are training for marathons are hitting our longest training runs just about now.  So, I thought I would give a brief, and hopefully humorous, glimpse into this slightly insane routine.

5:00 a.m.:  The alaram goes off.  In a dazed and confused stupor I try to remember why I set it to go off so early on a Saturday.  I hit snooze

5:05 a.m.:  Alarm repeat.  By now I’ve figured out I’m supposed to be up and out of bed to meet my training partner at 6.  I’ve moved on from trying to remember why I set my alarm so early on a Saturday to trying to remember why I like to run marathons.  I dismiss the alarm and drag my butt out of bed.

5:08 a.m.:  Dressed, I stumble to the kitchen, drag out the toaster, fumble with the coffee maker and drink a glass of water.

5:15 a.m.:  Breakfast is served.  Honey and peanut butter on a bagel, a banana, glass of water and the ever important morning java.

5:25 a.m.:  Feeling slightly more awake now, I head to the lieu and relieve myself and brush my teeth.

5:30 a.m.:  Pointless wandering around the house, trying to shake the last of the sleepies out.

5:40 a.m.:  Time to lace up the shoes and grab the Gatorade out of the fridge.  There’s just time to wonder once more why I do this to myself.  Nothing comes to mind.  I head out the door anyways.

5:50 a.m.:  I pull up to my training partner’s house, stow my keys and begin stretching.  My buddy comes out the door a few minutes later.  We exchange a look that says it’s way too early.  More stretching.

5:59 a.m.:  “You ready for this?” “Yeah, let’s go.”  The 20-mile trudge begins, slowly.

6:15 a.m.:  The pace has picked up.  I’m feeling good now.  The last of the Saturday morning grogginess is gone and good conversation is flowing.

6:50 a.m.:  On schedule, I bust out the first of those unwanted necessities, the dreaded energy gel.  I’ve tried a variety of brands and found the one packing the most punch to be Power Bar strawberry-banana, with caffeine.  It really gets me through.

6:50-7:40 a.m.:  This hour has its ups and downs.  By the time 7:40 a.m. rolls around, I’m running low on energy and begin checking my watch to see how many more minutes until I can take my next Power Bar shot.  Ten minutes.

7:50 a.m.:  I rip the tab off the energy gel and grin and bare it as I swallow the pasty, gooey substance.  I immediately feel my strength returning.

8:10 a.m.:  The conversation has dropped off to a minimum as my friend and I wage our own internal battles against the road.  Not long now, though.

8:30 a.m.:  Down to the last, and longest, miles.  My Gatorade and Power Bars are gone.  Time to sweat it out to the end.

8:45 a.m.:  The final stretch is in site.  We turn the corner and pound out the final steps to our finish line.

8:45-9:00 a.m.:  High-fives ensue, as does guzzling water.  After one final fist bump with my training partner, I head for home, a good shower and the rest of my day.

This re-telling is a compilation of experiences from various long runs, but if you’ve ever trained for a marathon, I think you are very familiar with this scenario.  If you’ve never trained for a marathon, then you should.  It’s an experience like no other and the long training runs are a fun, challenging and rewarding part of the adventure.

Thanks for reading!

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