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Twenty miles is about how far anyone can run before their body runs out of its easily available fuel, glycogen, and has to start burning fat, or you know, just hits “the wall” and falls over. If humans were sensible, we’d discover this information and then say “oh, then maybe we should make 20 miles the popular long-distance run, instead of adding an extra 6.2”. But no, we’re all collectively unreasonable and we stick with the longer distance. (I mean, even that extra .2 is just an accident of adding a partial lap of a track so the race would finish in front of royalty.)

But the sensible thing we do use that information for is that a 20-miler is the last long run of most marathon training programs, followed by three weeks of tapered-off training. It’s a significant distance and so worth making a little bit of a deal about. I’ve run all of my previous 20-milers on my own, but I’ve been trying to get better about sticking to a pace in long distance runs, and I happened to see an ad for the Ready to Run 20-miler in one of the 300 running promotions emails I get every week.

Two things stuck out to me about the run. Pace groups, for one, which would be welcome. And it was a point-to-point along the lake path, with buses to take you back to the start. I’ve run from my house down to the Museum Campus and back plenty of times, I thought it might be nice to get to keep going and see a little of the South side for a change.

The whole event was pretty chill—it’s a training run and not a race and so there was less stress about the wave starts. The pace group leaders had special t-shirts, but no flags or group indicators like I’ve seen at other events, and so I kept losing my pace group. I eventually ran with another runner who had lost her group as well and we tried to keep each other at pace (mainly me trying to take off too fast and her letting me know).

A team of volunteers from Misericordia, mostly residents, staffed one of the aid stations and reminded me of why I was fund-raising for that organization. There’s only $315 to go on my $1000 goal if you have a few bucks to spare.

All in all it was an uneventful morning, just with a lot of running. I’m sore this evening, but my knees are nowhere near as bad as I thought they might be. (My right heel is bugging in a new and interesting way, but oh well.)

And so in three weeks I’ll run the Chicago Marathon and finally cross that off my list.