David and I are now 13-weeks into our marathon training; only three weeks to go. Up until now, the furthest distance we’ve run is 18 miles, and that was on March 29. We planned a 20-mile run at the Montour Trail (crushed limestone rails-to-trails course) on April 12.

Due to rains earlier in the week, the trail wasn’t in a great state to be run on–muddy and slick. Not to be deterred, we headed out to run four 5-mile loops around North Park lake. For those of you not from Pittsburgh, it’s a hilly, hilly place. The Montour Trail, as far as I know, is the only long stretch of relatively flat running space. The route around North Park lake is alongside traffic most of the way and is constantly going up (and thankfully) down hill. The furthest we had run in North Park before April 12 was 12 miles. Jumping from 12 to 20 was going to be tough, no doubt.

All of that said, we set out to run our four 5-mile loops and were immediately hit with a head wind of 10-15 mph. For those runners out there, you know how frustrating a head wind can be–especially when you’re running in a circle, and the wind seems to always be coming right at you. Well, that was the case on April 12. We ran 15 miles into a head wind, on pavement, and up and down hills before deciding to call it a day–for the sake of our sanity–and joints, of course.

The 20-miler eluded us, and we were crazily bummed by it.

We have one more opportunity to try to snatch this goal before we start tapering our mileage, and it’s this Saturday, April 26. We’re determined to finish–no matter what. I know I’ll be using Megan’s just one more…strategy to get me motivated. We’ll be heading out in the early morning to simulate race-day conditions (our marathon starts at 7:00am) and keeping a conservative pace.

If you have the time to and would be willing, say a prayer for David and me–that we would be able to push ourselves harder and farther than ever before. I’ll be sure to post and let you know how it went.