This weekend I was really looking forward to my long run. The week was super stressful and I didn’t get to run as much as I wanted, so I couldn’t wait to pound it out on the pavement. But because I was a little rusty, I went into it with no expectations. I just aimed for the usual super-hilly ~7 mile loop around town for one last solid long run before race day.
So after a good 9 hours of sleep, I set out later Saturday morning in 65-ish degrees and immediately attacked the first hill at mile .5 with a vengeance. As a result, mile 1 clicked by at 10:30 – waaay too fast.
(I may or may not have been singing along to music at this point)
After mile 2 went a little better at 11:30, I reached the big downhill next to my old middle school – normally I scream down this hill to pick up some speed, but this time I felt like taking a detour so I went up the hill into the school parking lot, did a lap around my old alma mater, and ran down the hill connecting the middle school to the high school, retracing the steps I used to take every day in gym class when we’d march down to the HS track.
In a moment of perfect timing, Just a Girl came on my ipod, giving me vivid flashbacks to those days 20 years ago when me and my friends would spend our lunch periods doodling “Mrs. Gavin Rossdale” on our bookcovers and leaving notes in our lockers for each other… Ah, 8th grade. I miss you so much.
Once I sailed down the hill and around the high school, I rejoined my usual route and maintained a slower pace for the rest of the run. At mile 4, the mile-long, flat, sunny stretch across town is usually where I start to fall apart, but once I got to the end and turned back around for the final 3 miles back to my car, I felt good. I took a Gu, sipped on water and walked a bit, then attacked mile 5 as ready as ever.
My legs felt strong, calves weren’t tight, knees were relatively happy – this was just the confidence boosting run I needed! I was feeling so good that by the time I neared the street I’d run back up to get to my car, I decided to keep going for the extra ~3 mile loop around the bottom of town and make it an even 10 miles!
At that point I was averaging about 12:10/mile, and told myself to try to stay there for the last three unexpected miles. I had pushed pretty hard at the beginning of this run, and worried a little that I might fall apart in the final miles, but I kept it together better than expected! At the end of mile 7 I stopped for a good 2-3 minutes to stretch everything – since I hadn’t planned on the extra mileage I felt a little tight – but once I started up again I plodded along at a solid 12:15/pace for mile 8 and most of 9! Not until the end of the final mile did I feel the fatigue in my lower legs, which I’m noticing is creeping up later and later in my runs. So once I hit mile 10, I was so happy to see an awesome pace of 12:19/mile!
This run was a turning point: I ran more double-digit runs this training cycle than ever before, and I’m feeling more confident in the 10+ range than I have for previous races.
I also realized that this will be half marathon Lucky #7 in Atlantic City, so I’m taking it as an omen and picked up these fun little socks that I may have to incorporate into my day-of outfit (or if not, at least wear them at the expo the day before)!
So when it comes to long runs, that’s all she wrote! I’m excited to ease out of full-on training mode this week and into pre-race mode for Sunday. I’ve started stalking the weather and have already begin obsessing over what my race day outfit will be. In short – I can’t wait!
How about you, is your training going well? Did anyone race this weekend? Tell me all about it!