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 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.