I ROCKED my run today!!
On tap: A twenty mile run.
The day before: I really didn't prepare well for a long run. Instead of having a pasta dinner, I had a burger, chips and a cocktail or two. I did have some pasta salad. Does that count? I didn't hydrate like I would have liked and I went to bed late after hanging out with friends.
This morning: I was tired. When my alarm went off at 5 a.m., the last thing I felt like doing was running twenty miles. Thank goodness for Zip Fizz. I ate my Luna Bar and a Toaster Strudel. I put on a tank and shorts since it was already 60 degrees!
The beginning: Laura and I had talked about trying to take it out slow and then see what we had at the end. My goal was to run it easy for fifteen miles and then push it for five. To Laura, taking it slow is a 9:20 pace, so that was my target. I had kept it closer to 9:30 during the last twenty miler, but I thought I would try it a bit faster. The first mile was 9:24 and I wasn't feeling like I wanted to go any faster. I didn't feel like I was getting into a good rhythm.
My shins were bothering me from the get-go. They didn't hurt so much that it affected my running, but I could definitely feel them. I was worried that it would get worse. Luckily, they didn't get worse.
It was a beautiful morning. Thank goodness we started relatively early, it ended up being a hot one*! The bay was like glass and not many people were out as we ran around Mariner's Cove. We ran down to South Mission and then up the boardwalk along the ocean. I feel pretty darn lucky to do my casual long run where so many people come to vacation.
Laura and I were able to carry on a conversation throughout the first part of the run. If we sped up, I consciously slowed the pace down to keep it between 9:25 and 9:15. I didn't want to burn myself out too early.
The middle: I still wasn't feeling great. My shins weren't really bothering me anymore (thank goodness) and I was getting into a bit of a groove. At mile nine we decided to put our headphones in and listen to some music. Laura started speeding up. I kept the pace about the same. I just figured that she was feeling good and wanted to push the pace closer to the halfway point. She told me later that she thought I was slowing down. The music really gets her going faster!
We stopped around 14.5 miles so Laura could get some water (she is much more of a purist than I am and doesn't like to carry stuff) and we could stretch, use the bathroom etc. We were at the beach and all I wanted to do at that moment was go soak my legs in the cold ocean. I thought about Irene's photo that she posted a week or so ago of her standing in the ocean after a long run. Even without a refreshing (read: COLD) dip in the ocean, I felt surprisingly rejuvenated after the short stop.
The end: When my Garmin beeped that we had hit fifteen miles, I decided I had enough in me to kick it up a notch. My idea was to bump the pace up closer to 9 minutes. As we ran through Ocean Beach towards Sunset Cliffs, I was feeling good. Really good. We ran that mile in 8:52! When we reached the turn-around just past sixteen miles, I realized that that mile was the best I had felt the entire run. Would I be able to keep it up? Well... I did. And then some. Mile 17 was 8:40! I was still feeling good.
We weaved through the parking lot at Dog Beach, dodging cars, surfboards and a LOT of dogs. We made it to the path back up the river. At one point a guy, his buddy and his dog blocked the entire path and running around them was almost dangerous**. I love dogs... I do**. I just don't love dogs, leashes and clueless owners while I am running. This is a nice, wide bike path with plenty of room for everyone. Despite the congestion, we still ran that mile in 8:40!
Two miles to go. I still felt great. At this point, I decided to see what I had left in the tank. I just stared straight ahead and ran. When the Garmin beeped, I actually shouted an explitive****. This is uncharacteristic and Laura looked at me. I told her that we had just run that mile in 8:23. Holy sh!t.
I was getting tired, but was still feeling good. I pushed it even further. As we crossed the river and ran down from the bridge on the other side, it crossed my mind to slow down. At this point, Laura turned it on a bit. We only had a half mile to go. Aw, heck... I could suffer for a half mile. At this pace, I would be done before I knew it. I tried not to look down and see how far I had to go. I just ran. In the end, I ran the twentieth mile in 8:05!!!!!!!! I believe that is actually faster than my average pace for my 5K PR!
After an ice bath and attempt at a nap, I was pretty worthless this afternoon. I had big plans to clean, put away laundry etc. Hmmm...didn't happen. I am pretty thrilled with my run though, so my mood is up. Now my head is spinning about the potential of this marathon six weeks away...
*It was over 90 today. At 7:40 p.m. it is still over 80.
**Both Laura and I had to do some fancy footwork not to trip over the leash, step on the dog, plow through the dude, or roll an ankle off the path.
***I love MY dog- docile Beagle who rarely makes sudden moves. When we walk on a path, I try to have him stay close to me in conjested settings.