Today I ran 20 miles. Twenty miles is so far, today I basically ran from New York to LA and back. And then back and again. Or at least that's what it was feeling like for the last few miles, and specifically how it felt when I stopped for water with my finish line in sight, having already run 19.96 miles, but I was thirsty, dammit, and I was going to stop and walk for a moment because at that point most of my leg muscles had dissolved into liquid and were sloshing around in my calves.
It wasn't really that bad. In fact, when I finally made it up to the park today, tired and boozy, I was shocked into wakefulness by the beauty of the day: bright clear sky, brazenly cloudless, a brisk breeze and the first signs of fall hanging from the trees and underfoot. It reminded me that it was almost time to bring out ol' "Autumn in New York" -- another year, another season of change and renewal.
As I ran I thought about how this is such a pleasant experience, to be placing one foot in front of another, keeping it nice and easy, in such a beautiful place -- where else would I rather be right now? The truth, for the most part, is nowhere.
The low point, inevitably, was when I sort of walked into a woman on a bike. I had just finished 12, and was getting ready to buy a gatorade, when I turned a corner and basically walked into a European woman who, fortunately, was riding her bike at a glacial pace. I apologized immediately, and she chided me with a "be more careful" in a lilting accent, and I couldn't even be mad. Unless she had been targeting me with her slow, rickety bike, like a 1912 missile.
So I came home, showered, iced, and fell asleep, hard, until now. I haven't eaten anything and I feel a little woozy, so I need to find some food and draw up some energy. I feel tired and beat, but in a very good way. This week was the most intense training of the whole 18-week program, so now I just taper down until the actual event in November. This is the marathon!