For me, 26.2 is a sacred number. And honestly, 20-22 miles is probably as far as you need to go to finish a marathon. Of course, doing more is better. If you can run 30, 26.2 seems much easier. But for me, I've never run over the marathon distance and my ultra marathon dreams are years away, so for now 24 is a great number to see how I will fare a couple weeks from now.
Most training programs take runners to the 20-23 threshold and save the full (literally) experience for race day. I like to follow the same mind set. Although, I have been flirting with going over the distance to build more endurance, but right now it's just smiling at the girl across the bar. Maybe in the future I'll buy her a drink.
Sorry, I digress. I'm a little anxious to get in my 24, so much so, that my group is planning to run 22 this weekend and I'm going to show up early and sneak in 2 miles beforehand. I thought we were scheduled for 24 as our last long run, but I guess 22 is as high as we go. Now I'm in a position where (mentally) if I don't get in 24, I'll feel like I cut myself short. Which is a bad mind set getting ready for race weekend.
So, this Saturday I will run 2 miles solo around 6 a.m., then run 22 (hilly) miles with the crew. I'm viewing this as true and final test to see how I will do at Big Sur in a couple weeks and I'm also excited to begin my taper. It'll be nice to now that I don't HAVE TO spend 4+ hours on the pavement Saturday mornings. Instead, it will be more like 2. Much nicer, right? At least that is what I keep telling myself.
Deep down inside I LOVE the long runs... I'm one of those people that embraces it.