I walked 20 miles today. In marathon training a 20-miler is 'key'. Its at this point in your training you realize that you more or less could finish the entire 26.2 miles in a few weeks. Any novice marathon training schedule has you completing at least one 20-miler in your training. Ideally, I'd do at least two 20-milers, but since I've been training through the winter in northeast Ohio, I worked only one 20-miler into the schedule. If I was training through the summer the weather would allow for more. I felt lucky to at least get one in this winter. Today was a perfect day for 20 miles. Very sunny. Low 40's. A little windy but not overbearing. Armed with my MP3 player, in a little over 5 hours (and a stop for a bagel and lemonade at Bruegger's), I completed my longest training walk for the Cincinnati Marathon.
It has been a long time since I walked 20 miles. My last marathon was in April of 2007, so technically I walked 20 miles that day. However, I was lazy with my training that spring, and didn't complete a 20-miler before that marathon. If I remember correctly, I did two 20-milers in August and September of 2006, before the 2006 Portland Marathon.
A 20-miler in southeast Cleveland is quite different that a 20-miler in Portland or Vancouver, Washington. Suburbs are different, and either non-existent or quite larger, out west. You see, if I walked 20 miles in Portland (usually 10 miles out and back, or something similar), I would still be in Portland. If I walked 20 miles in Vancouver, I'd still be in Vancouver. (I never walked long-distance while I lived in Las Vegas, but if I had, after 20 miles, I'd still be in Las Vegas). Today, I walked through South Euclid, Lyndhurst, Beachwood, Shaker Heights, Cleveland Heights, Shaker Heights (again), University Heights, and finally back to South Euclid. I actually planned my route to take me down some fabulous historic roads in both Shaker and Cleveland Heights, where I walked by the BIGGEST. HOUSES. EVER. Seriously. And, I say this after living in Vegas. And Portland. And, spending significant time in Lake Tahoe. Alex and Allison love it when we drive down these roads. They often ask if the houses are hotels. Or castles.
The Cincinnati Marathon is 3 weeks from tomorrow. After my 20-miler, I'm feeling ready.....