This is the Big One! (You've got to say that in a Fred Sanford voice to really "get" it).
The marathon training I'm doing has me doing more and more mileage per week with a longer "long" run each weekend. I'll do something like this:
Monday: 5 miles
Tuesday: 8 miles
Wednesday: 5 miles
Friday: 8 miles
Saturday: LONG run
Yeah, I know, you non-runners think 5 miles is a long run. :-) But for a marathon runner, 5 miles has gotten rather short. The "long" runs start around 8 miles and climb almost weekly (with some step-back weeks) to a maximum of 20 miles. This week is a 20 miler. But since we are going to have company this weekend, I decided to switch my running schedule around this week, meaning yesterday was the 20 miler.
I couldn't have had a nicer day for it. It was kind of windy (a little windier than I'd have liked - that just meant that I changed my course), but it was 53 degrees: warm enough for shorts and a long sleeve technical t-shirt (the one I got at the Columbus Marathon).
I drank a good bit of Gatorade and ate a Powerbar and set off. I felt really good, so I decided to run a ten mile loop first and end up back at the house. I would have liked to have had a water stop on the way, I decided, but I wasn't in bad shape. The ten mile loop took me just under 1 1/2 hours. Just where I wanted to be. Though I was feeling a bit fatigued around mile #8.
When I got back home, I puttered around for a while, making more Gatorade, getting another Powerbar (note: stick with the vanilla or peanut butter ones while running; the chocolate ones dried me out, so I drank more Gatorade than I wanted to, and it ended up sloshing around in my stomach a bit).
I took about 5 minutes at home (which seemed like an eternity) and started back on my way. My legs felt numb starting up again, so I walked much of the first 1/2 mile. Plus I had an angry dog to deal with on the way, and I can't swallow a Powerbar while running, nor can I drink from a widemouth Nalgene bottle while running.
I decided to take the same 10 mile loop a second time, which might have been a little much. In retrospect I should have split this one up into two 5 milers or a 6 and a 4. I really should have had a water stop in the middle. Especially since the temperature was steadily increasing (it was 73 by the time I finished).
My feet felt really heavy and my whole body was sore by the time I finished. 3 hours 3 minutes for a 20 mile run. This makes me think that (with good hydration) I could possibly do the marathon in 4 hours. As long as I can put together 6 10 minute miles to finish.