As we set out on our last 20 mile run this cycle, we were discussing the route.  I am usually kind of anal about constructing the perfect route (no will-sapping 3 mile uphill section during my low miles 12-15, not a lot of uneven road, traffic lights, etc), but by a stroke of unnatural whimsy, I just told Zliten I’d roll with it.

We plotted and schemed and all of a sudden “rolling with it” meant a runventure!  We grabbed a few things at the house around mile 6, and then headed south and ran all the way past downtown (about 11 miles from home).  After our run, we did a trip to Jack and Adams tri shop, a visit to Barton Springs, beers and dinner at Billy’s Brew and Que, a train trip, (not my) birthday beers at Blackstar Coop, and a final stop of the night at our neighborhood bar before we saw our house again.  It was a totally fun and epic day!

Top 10 things I learned from Saturday’s run:

1. Downtown Austin is not really as far away as I perceive it to be.  Pretty much any of my Tu/Th/S daily mileage totals would end up there or futher.

2. There is a shift about 5pm downtown.  Before that, you feel totally fine in running gear, after, you feel a wee bit out of place (though its Austin, so anything goes).  Maybe don’t end the run-ventures so late, hmmm?

3. Running all around the area where the music festival was going on was interested.  On the plus side, I heard  few bands playing and they had some key streets blocked off that helped us complete our run easier.  However, the crowds of hipsters smoking cigarettes that couldn’t be buggered to move out of the way when we needed to pass them was totes annoying.  This made me a little grumpy at the end, but it passed quick and didn’t effect my overall run-joyment.

4. Being carless is fun.  It’s a little intimidating to have to pack everything you need for the day in a camelback, and know that everything you carry is going to weigh you down for the whole run and journey back, but it was really cool to only rely on ourselves, our feet, and the train to get all the places we wanted to go and then home.

5.  Barton Springs Pool is free from November to March, and knocks out the need for both an ice bath and a place to shower all in one.  We were prepared to pay 3 bucks each, it was a nice surprise that it was free!

6.  Deodorant doubles as shaving cream in a pinch, and your legs smell super nice after.  Also, probably keep your legs shaved more often in case you end up on more run-ventures.  Compression socks only hide hair while they’re on… and unless you want to rock THAT look all day…

7. When you have ran 20 miles and you’re sitting down for your first meal of the day and it’s dinner, you literally can have ANYTHING you want.  Even if it’s a (half) pitcher of beer, a gigantic bowl of chips and queso, a monster turkey club, and a huge salad – that’s probably less than you burned on the run.

8.  Good friends don’t mind your sweaty capris at the bar.  Great friends bring you sock monkey scarves, gloves, and a hoodie when you ask them (the hoodie was upon request, the sock monkey attire was a nice surprise), because none of that fits in a camelback.  Great friends also obviously know your recovery fueling needs and bring a birthday carrot cake with two pecan pies baked into it.  Pie-cake!  While on the surface it was brought for the birthday boy, you just know that deep down, she wanted to make sure our glycogen stores were doing ok.

9.  No one wants to let you walk, or understands the use of public transit.  Everyone was mystified that we ran from up north to downtown, and then walked all over and took the train.  We caught a ride from Bar 1 to Bar 2, and no one understood why we were sad about it (Bar 2 was way closer to the house, and I was looking forward to the walk home from Bar 1).  We had to turn down about 5 different rides from Bar 2, and it was less than a mile away.  Silly people, unless it’s balls hot or cold, we like to walk, ok? 🙂

10.  Doing 7 extra miles of walking on top of 20 miles of running means your legs feel a lot looser the next day, but it doesn’t cure ALL ills.  These dogs are still sore and tired.

As per the run, besides a few low miles at the end dodging people (and being a little calorie deficient), I had a solid run that felt amazing until about mile 15-16, and I kept my pacing very consistent and didn’t fizzle at the end.  And, I beat my last 20 miler’s time by 7 minutes!

Taper?  I’m ready for it.  These legs are looking for some recovery and then are ready to actually run, not just complete, and maybe, possibly even RACE a marathon in 3 weeks from today.