Distance: 20 miles (or according to Andy's Garmin, 19.51)
Where: South Pasadena to Elmer Smith Bridge and back!
For our 20 miler, we did something different. We ran the same course we always do, but this time we met up at FJ's house in South Pasadena and started our trek there. It's just about 10 miles from FJ's house to our turnaround point at Elmer Smith Bridge, but even though it's the same course, the slight change made for a whole different experience. With the help of perfect weather, I would say that yesterday's 20 miler was my best 20 miler ever. My 20 milers are usually tough slogs, but this one was, dare I say, easy. I could be jinxing myself. A great 20 miler might turn into a bad marathon in three weeks. I hope not.
One big difference about yesterday's run is that it eliminates the psychological hurdle of having to cross the "finish line" more than once and having to double back on yourself. Had we started at our usual spot at Lot K, we would have to run south along the arroyo to the York Blvd. exit by the 110 then run back to where we started, head north, run a switchback, then get back on the course, run up the hill to JPL and to Elmer Smith and then head back. It's essentially the same run, but with our course yesterday it was simplified. We ran out and back. None of the mental hurdle of having to run back to where you started twice.
I was actually surprised that our finish time was as slow as it was. I felt great. I had none of the soreness and side stitches I suffered last week. I think the slow time is due to the extended stops we made to talk to friends we encountered. Our time is probably closer to 3:20.
Another great thing about the new course is getting to collapse on FJ's front lawn at the finish. Andy and I sat there for a few minutes. I swear we got some suspicious stares from FJ's neighbors as they drove by.