The number 20 has a lot of positive connotations in my book.

It’s the perfect sized bill to stash in your pocket for a long-run emergency. It’s the age after which it’s no longer appropriate to wake up spooning a jar of peanut butter. It’s the number of questions it takes to guess which item your friend is picturing that’s larger than a breadbox.

It’s the birthday at which we threw the best darn party a November baby and her friends could ask for.


From the maximum field of the Kentucky Derby to the international calling code for Egypt (thank you, Internet), “20” as a figure is good for a whole lot of things.

What it’s not good for, I’ve decided, is weeks’ worth of marathon training.

Let me put it a different way. Begin training for a 26.2 mile race FIVE MONTHS before you’ll actually toe the starting line, and you’ll maybe start to go a little bit crazy. Jack Torrance crazy. You know: All run and no play makes Anne chase you around a snowy hedge maze with an axe. The usual.

When I first committed myself to this 20-week running schedule, it didn’t seem so unbearable. By stretching the length of training from the more tradition 16 or 18 week plans to a full 20, I would be able to squeeze in more races, more pull-back weeks, more two-a-days and more overall training. It sounded like the perfect plan.

And it was, at least at first. But once the sun started to rise later and I found myself running 6 days a week in the pitch black cold, I started to itch for the finish line. Fast forward to this week, when dozens of well-meaning friends have reached out to wish me luck in the NYC marathon on Sunday – which I’m not running – and it’s like salt in the wound.  My race, which I started training for in early freaking July, is still nearly four weeks away.

Of course, I shouldn’t be surprised that I’m all of a sudden feeling sick and tired of this dammed training cycle. This, my friends, is my peak week – or the week in which I run my longest long training run all season long. Tomorrow, I’m waking up early to log my last serious bout of athleticism until I arrive in Philly. And it’s only appropriate that the number of miles on my schedule is none other than our man of the hour: 20.

And while I’m positively dreading tomorrow’s long run, at least I can take comfort in the fact that when it’s over, I get to put these last 17 weeks behind me and spend my final 3 weeks doing something I do extraordinarily well: tapering.

The end is in sight, folks. Let the carbo loading begin.


3 thoughts on “XX

  1. Yes, the end is in sight and it’s in Philly! (my city!) Good luck on your 20 miler tomorrow and great job putting in the miles and hard work over the past 17 weeks. Enjoy your taper and can’t wait to hear about how your race goes!

  2. Thanks, guys. I guess this is all part of the mental game — if I can do 20 weeks of running, then 3 hours and 55 minutes is nothing in comparison. I apologize that this is about to be stuck in your head but … It’s the final countdown.

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