This morning I did my first of three 20+ milers in preparation for the SEAFAIR marathon. It was just about as perfect a day as anyone could ask for to do a long run. The skies were overcast with temperatures in the low 60's. Ideal. In addition, I had the privilege of running along side Jeff, the Amazing Hip.
He's an awesome guy; humble, affable and easy going; a real pleasure to spend time with. We ran Jeff's home turf, the San Diego Creek Trail. Oddly, it's in Irvine, not San Diego as you might think. Jeff had suggested the route including two out and back sections of the trail with a stop in the middle for refueling, etc. Jeff ran with me for the first 8 miles, then he switched over to his bike and rode the next twelve. He called out the mile markers and told me when to turn around. He even reminded me to drink. He did everything within his power to make the run stress free for me.
All I had to do was run. And run I did. Usually on long runs I take a one minute walk break every mile. Today, I just ran and ran, with only a couple of short stops at water fountains. Jeff let me set the pace when he could have easily blown me off the course. He always stayed half step off to my side and even biked just to the side and behind me, so I wasn't tempted to push harder than I should. We talked the whole way, about blogging, bloggers, Boston, family, church,India, racing and running. Our average pace was just over 9 minute miles. Slow for him, but right on target for me. I was very satisfied that I was able to complete a 20 miler without my usual walking breaks. It got me a little excited about actually achieving the 4 hour marathon goal.
I'd have to say this was one of the most enjoyable 20 milers in a long time. Thanks, Jeff! I hope we can do it again sometime.