I'm officially in in taper mode after yesterday's long run of marathon training, the 20 miler. This is the most important run of training. Most marathon training plans max out at 20 miles and not much more (some say 22) because running for so long takes such a toll on the body and it needs to recover from the distance..going any further at once during training might cause injury. A 20 miler will adequately prepare you for the marathon. The last 6.2 will just be adrenaline. 🙂 Now, I have three weeks to taper, or reduce my mileage until race day and recover from training. I wasn't sure how Sunday's run was going to go. I was on my feet for about 6 hours Saturday spectating Chris at the Tri-State Tough Mudder and we ended up doing a LOT of walking. But in the long run, that must have been good for my legs. Melissa came over at 8:00AM and we headed out for 20 miles of running. The weather was perfect (high 40s) and it was a beautiful morning. Here's how it went. Miles 1-9. We did a loop we've been running most of training. Miles 3-5 are up an intense hill. I kept around a 10:30 pace and ran the hills. No walking. Legs feel great. Stopped at my place for water and a honey stinger waffle. Miles 9-12. Melissa & I split up. She did the loop again and I went in another direction. She was running faster than me anyway so we weren't really together during the first 9 miles. (She was WAY ahead of me..speedy!) Still feels like I'm running on fresh legs. Stopped in a park and ate another 1/2 of waffle. Miles 12-15. Kept running through Albany. Some slight hills but nothing big...ran them all. Stopped at a gas station at mile 15 to use facilities, get water & eat a chocolate Gu. Miles 15-18. Ran the SUNY Albany loop. A few hills here...ran them all. Still no walking! Stopped at mile 18 to stretch my calves. Mile 18-19.5 Hardest. Miles. Ever. Wondering what would happen if I got hit by car (strange thoughts during this point) Felt a bit nauseous. Kept running. Determined if I made it this far without walking I'm not starting now. Mile 19.5 - 20. Ran into Melissa at her 20 mile mark. Ran the last half mile together back to my place. No talking, just running. My foot is hurting. Must keep running! Can't imaging running for another hour+ and another 6.2 miles. Glad to be done. Took ice bath. Total Distance - 20 miles Time: 3:27:51 Pace: 10:23/mile (right on target) Three months ago I started training for this marathon. I couldn't imagine running 20 miles. Yesterday, I did it. This run was where I finally thought that I've gotten everything right. I've finally figured it out. I had a great run. This 20 miler was exactly what I was hoping it would be. It makes me excited and confident that I will actually run 26.2 miles in three weeks. And I can't believe it.