I can't believe I ran twenty miles on Sunday. It didn't seem quite as monumental as last year's twenty miler. When I stop and think about it, however, it is pretty cool. I don't know many people who have run that far in a single outing.
Several people have commented how early it is to be running that far. We are using a training program based upon the Runner's World Smart Coach. We run twenty miles three times. When I saw this schedule I really liked it. We build up to twenty and then have a "fall back" week and then run sixteen followed by twenty again. I think with the weeks of lower mileage long runs, we'll avoid burnout and/or injury. Doing twenty three times will really help build my confidence.
We met around 6:30 by the bay. We ran a familiar route, but started in a different spot on the opposite side of the bay. It was a nice change. My plan was to keep it around 9:45, but when we were running closer to 9:30 it felt pretty comfortable.
The trouble (or potential trouble) came at mile 12. We met Laura's father and his running group. Her dad has been running for 40 years or more. He has run a sub-three hour marathon. One of the girls in the group is training for Boston, having qualified with a 3:36, I think. Some of the others run 3:15 marathons. Get the picture? And we were going to run eight miles with these people? They were gregarious and fun. As we took off with them, I was having fun listening to the bantering. I was the brunt of several jokes at my hydration belt, iPod and Garmin*. These runners are purists and my gadget penchant goes against the old school way of running. It was all in good fun though. It was easy to run at their pace while everyone was talking and laughing. It was clear that this was a very easy pace for them.
As we hit mile 13, my Garmin beeped with the split time and I realized that I was going down a dangerous road. We ran that mile in 8:45!!! I still had seven miles to go. I knew that I needed to slow down. As I did so, I received a bit more good-natured ribbing. Even as I fell behind, mile 14 was run at 9:05, which is still faster than I need to be running with six miles to go. I finally bid my farewell and told everyone that I needed to run my own run. "Go on without me," I told Laura and the others. I knew I would be fine.
At mile 16, Laura ran back and found me. She realized that keeping up with her dad was not the best idea. She was starting to feel it a bit. We decided to run back to our cars instead of staying with the group. As we crossed the river and started heading back along the bay, we hit a killer headwind. The storm that was supposed to have hit overnight was coming in. A headwind is not the most fun thing in the world during the last couple of miles of a twenty mile run.
Laura had been pulling ahead of me all day. Her natural pace is a bit faster. At the last mile, she started slowing a bit. I knew she was starting to hurt. It turns out that she was starting to feel pretty nauseous. She ended her run before I did, having run a bit further with her dad. I knew that I was almost done and pushed on. At this point, my legs were really hurting***and I just put my head down and ran toward the end. I did that last mile in 9:36.
As we stretched and cooled down, the rain started. Talk about timing! Our entire run was cool and dry- perfect running weather. The rain would have made it pretty miserable. Other than my legs hurting all over, I felt pretty good. Afterward, I tried my first ice bath. Well... it was the chicken version of an ice bath. I only used one plastic grocery sack full of ice and I went in wearing my running tights. Hopefully, it did some good. Maybe someday I'll work my way up to a full-blown ice bath.
I still can't really believe that twenty miles was a bit uneventful. I am a little sore today, but nothing too bad. Overall, I averaged a 9:26 pace. It is a bit faster than I had planned, but I don't think the faster pace hurt anything this time. I think I could have run six more at that pace, which would be a 4:07 (not including a couple of stops). I'd be THRILLED with that. I still have ten weeks to go, so we'll see.
That's my long and rambling run report. Happy running, everyone.
*I heard comments like "you'd keep up if you didn't have so much stuff weighing you down" or "Bob used to carry water before he tore his hamstring."
***Kenny and I had gone with some friends on a pretty tough mountain bike ride the day before. Not only were my quads sore from some heavy-duty climbing, but I had several bruises from some interesting falls.