I have encounted the "20 miles or 3.5 hours of running...which ever comes first" guideline and I think it is reasonable. I will share the experience I had last year running Detroit's marathon. I kept up with a veteran triathelete and at mile 20 she said, "Whew...half way there." She wasn't kidding! Miles 20-24 were the most grueling - a bit like labor...until you experience it for yourself, you have NO idea. But then, the last 20 minutes or so, you run with this smirk on your face because you cannot believe you are going to finish this race! Until mile 24, anything can happen. But when you are nearly home free, nothing is going to stop you. Another analogy to labor, 5 minutes after the race was done, I was geared up to train for another marathon. At least, that was MY experience. Best of luck to you!
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