Today was "race simulation" day with my half training group, and the longest run we will do before my race on November 13. Originally, I hadn't planned on running the entire 13.1 miles - I had wanted the first time I ran that distance to be on race day. When I got there, though, I decided I would do the whole thing and see what my time was. Since we are doing intervals, I am hoping to finish the race in under 3 hours.
The "official" group run was the hilly route we've taken the past few weekends, but the OBX Half is very flat, so a small group of us decided to skip the hills today and run on the nice, flat, shady Tobacco Trail. It was a perfect day for running. The morning was fall crisp, no humidity. The sun streamed through the trees in patches, dappling the ground and giving the fallen leaves a shimmer of gold.
The plan was to run a 5 mile out and back in one direction and then a 1.5 mile out and back in the other direction. I ran with a new friend, Megan, and we ran well together. We chatted about this and that, getting to know each other. It still amazes me that I can run and talk at the same time!
Given my crappy run on Friday, I wasn't sure how this run was going to go. My calves have been feeling tight lately. I wasn't nervous about the run itself, just that my legs would hurt too much to finish. The first two miles seemed to take a long time, but after that I felt warmed up and ready to go. We passed the honey stand - a little table with local honey and a jar for money, which of course I never have out on a run on the trail. I'm going to have to find my way back there in the car to get some honey!
On Wednesday night's run I decided to try Gu for the first time - Espresso Love. It was tasty, worked great and no tummy issues, so today I carried three different flavors: Espresso Love, Peppermint, and Chocolate Mint. At 45 minutes, I randomly picked Espresso Love out of my pack - yum! The effect seems immediate - is it? Or is it mental? Either way, I was feeling good!
The last few miles of the out and back were familiar territory - the part of the trail I usually run. We caught up with a few other ladies from our group taking a break at the water cooler and ran with them for awhile, but they are faster and left us behind before too long. I took another Gu at 1:30 (Chocolate Mint) and again, it helped pick me up. By about mile 9 or 9.5, though, I felt like I was flagging. I took my last Gu (Peppermint - no caffeine - could have used the caffeine!). At mile 10, back at the parking lot, we stopped for a few minutes to stretch and so Megan could put her dead phone in her car.
The last 3.1 was tough. We were definitely struggling a little and running slower, but I managed a little kick for the last .1!!! Then I was done! I did it! I freaking ran 13.1 miles. I'm kinda feeling like I rock right now!
Today I am grateful for:
- fall weather
- compression socks
- carb loading
- my beautiful, healthy, amazing children