23 Miles

This run is brought to you by the numbers “2” & “3.”

Tomorrow morning I’ve got a long run to do. A very long run. 23-miles to be exact or about 88% of a marathon.

But this isn’t your ordinary 23-mile run. Rather, it’s a celebration.

Back in October, I started training for the 2014 Los Angeles Marathon with my running group Team to End AIDS (T2). For 5 months now we’ve been meeting up every Saturday (rain or shine) at Griffith Park to pound pavement together and raise money for APLA (AIDS Project Los Angeles). To date, our merry band of marathoners has raised over $130,000 to help those people in LA whose lives are impacted by HIV/AIDS.

And on Saturday we celebrate with our longest run of the season. Starting at 6am, we’ll spend the next 5 or so hours running through Griffith Park and along the streets of Burbank, Glendale and Toluca Lake.

With the LA Marathon just 3 weeks away, this is basically our dress rehearsal for “M-Day.” For the first time marathoners in our group, the run gives them the confidence that they are indeed ready to run 26.2 miles (they are absolutely ready). For us T2 alumni, the run gives us a sense of where we are in regards to our training and to start formulating our race day strategy.

Now, there are differing opinions on how far you longest run needs to be in preparation for a marathon. Some experts feel that 17-miles is enough for you to know that you can finish a marathon. Others say 20-miles is the magic distance, while some feel you should actually run a distance greater than 26.2 miles prior to race day.

T2 Sign

Signpost up ahead.

T2 goes with 23 miles, feeling that this is a good approximation of what to expect on race day and is also long enough to push “the wall” plateau past the 26.2 mile mark (so you hopefully don’t have to worry about it on race day).

I look forward to the celebration run each season. Everyone wears their T2 shirts for the run (look for the sea of red on the streets of the San Fernando Valley). We all gather to cheer each group as they cross the finish line and receive their T2 medals (a very special piece of bling). We eat; we drink; we high-five; we hug.

Now we’ve got two more Saturday runs before race day, but those are just short taper runs. This is really the high point of training season, the pinnacle.

With this run we know we’re physically ready. With this run we know we’re mentally ready. With this run our spirits are overflowing. With this run we’re “marathon adjacent.”

And race day can’t get here soon enough.

Posted on February 14, 2014, in General, Motivation, Training and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Good luck to you and your team! That last long run is definitely a milestone. I look forward to reading about your experience at the LA Marathon. Initially I was going to do that one this year, but for whatever reason (I’m voting for “stupidity”) they scheduled it the same day as the San Diego Half Marathon, which is an event my wife and I love. So it looks like 2015 for me to finally do the LA Marathon.

    Good luck!!

    • Thanks. It’s a great bunch of people (my “running family”) and tomorrow should be a blast… a hot, sweaty challenging blast… but still a blast. And yes, I shall be chronicling LA quite heavily (it’s a big milestone one for me… hopefully). And that does suck about SD. I saw that race and it interested me too, but the scheduling gremlins mucked it up. I’ve got that later this year when a couple of races I want to do are scheduled on the same day.

  2. Have a great run tomorrow, and enjoy every mile. You are running for a great cause, you should be so proud. Running for a charity is not very big around here, but I hope it will be sometime soon.
    I like that you are going for 23 miles, it makes sense in my mind.. I’ve never trained for a marathon yet, but most training plans I’ve seen go up to 20… It seems to me a lot could go wrong on marathon day with an additional 10K never ran before.

    • Thanks… looking forward to it. I love running for my charity group… knowing I’m helping people and that I’ve got about 30 friends/family who have put their “money where their mouth” is to support me. And that whole distance thing is up for debate. When I ran Chicago on my own, I maxed at 20 miles and was okay. I think it’s different for each person, but 23 feels like a good number to me for this one.

  3. I hope your run was good! I know people throw around lots of numbers for what your longest training run should be, & I think I’ve settled on measuring by time & not miles. For me personally, I think I do best with my longest run being 3 hours at an easy-but-not-too-easy pace. More than that & I think I stress my body too much to fully recover for my last training runs & race day. So it usually ends up being some totally arbitrary decimal number!

    • Thank you for the comment Angela. The 23-mile went well (even though I was pretty exhausted by the time we crossed the finish line). The run was a little bit less than five hours in duration and I think simulated the marathon to come very well. I also know people, like yourself, who measure their long runs by minutes as opposed to miles. Like so many things, I think it comes down to what works best for the individual. Thanks for reading!

  1. Pingback: RUN AND “CELEBRATE” | Tripping The Kenyans

%d bloggers like this: