Today was the 20 mile race hosted by Rocky Mountain Road Runners. The weather was perfect. It was about 50 degrees at the 7AM start with a forecast high of 70. I had worried that it might rain, but we had a nice mix of clouds and sun. We ran the 10 mile course twice, so out to the 5 mile marker, back, repeat. There were drinks and gels at miles 2, 5, 8, 10, 12, 15 and 18. I needed to make an emergent restroom stop at mile 10. The toilet-paper-less port-o-lets were about 0.2 miles from the 10 mile turnaround. Luckily I carried some just in case paper-towels. My first 10 miles were strong. Finished the 10 miles in 1 hour and 41 minutes which is a few minutes faster than my 10 mile race time back in July. I hit mile 15 about 5 minutes faster than my 15 mile race a few weeks ago. I lost my running partner about this point. He was having a much stronger running day than I was. My joints were in general feeling much better this run than any of the previous ones. I have been running with one of these under my right knee which seems to have made a lot of difference on the longer runs. My quads and calf muscles started cramping around mile 16. The last 4 miles were run, walk, stretch, run, walk, etc. The entire 20 miles took me about 3 hours and 50 minutes. I had a personal goal of 4 hours (12 minute mile pace) so this was better than planned, especially with the emergency trip to the port-o-let, but far worse than I think I could have done if my muscles had just held out for a little longer.
There are four weeks until the marathon. I am starting to believe I will actually be able to do it.