Holy cow, what an amazing run yesterday! I will try and recount it in detail, but I am never very good at remembering everything (I really admire bloggers who recall so much)!
We met up at the Art Museum, which pretty much means one thing...HILLS. In the past we have headed down Reedy Creek Rd to Umstead, but this time we took the Greenway behind the museum, which was a nice change (i.e. different hills). I haven't run this way since spring, and since then they have opened up the connections so that the House Creek Greenway runs all the way to Crabtree mall and beyond.
The night before I printed out a pace band for my marathon goal finish time of 5:45 (which is ~13:00 minute miles), but instead of wearing it I decided to write the split times for 4, 8, 12, & 16 miles on my arm next to my Garmin. This turned out to be a great idea and I definitely plan to do it for my last two long runs (18 and 20 miles).
The first 4 miles are the hilliest, but apparently mostly downhill heading out. I was running with my friend Erica, and was telling her that my goal was to try and hit 12mpm during the run intervals, but going down the hills we were going a lot faster! When I mentioned it to her, she said I was the one pushing the pace, so I told her to yell at me next time I got too speedy!
My plan was to fuel every 4 miles or sooner if I started to flag, so I took a Gu (vanilla bean) at mile 4. It didn't go down easy, but it didn't make me gag, either.
1-11:53; 2-11:56; 3-12:05; 4-12:26
4 miles: 48:20 - average pace 12:05
4 mile split goal: 52:38 (4 minutes ahead of goal!)
At the 4-mile mark, we passed a McDonalds and I took a bathroom break. I had turned the Auto Pause on my Garmin on, so that was kind of convenient, it stopped on it's own!
The next 2 miles were MUCH flatter and took us to the end of the Greenway (literally, there was a sign that said "The Greenway ends here," which was kind of cool!). We originally thought we were going to hit the end at 7 miles and knew we would need to make up 2 miles, but instead we were going to have to add 4 miles somewhere, so we decided to just run the 2 miles back to the McDonalds and back to the end of the Greenway, and then head back to the parking lot. Mentally, though it sucked to have to double back, it was WAY better than having to tack on an extra 4 at the end of the run!
I forgot to fuel at the 8-mile mark, so when I looked at my watch and we were at 8.40, I ate half a package of strawberry Gu chomps (with caffeine) - I think at that point I was starting to flag a little. I am really working on getting fuel on board before I start to drag so I keep my energy more even.
5-12:13; 6-12:27; 7-12:37; 8-12:08
4 miles: 49:15 - average pace 12:19
8 miles: 1:37:35 - average pace 12:12
8 mile split goal: 1:45 (8 minutes ahead of goal!)
Like I said, it really kind of sucked to turn around at mile 8 and head back the way we just came, especially since it seemed that more of this part of the trail was not shaded and it was definitely getting warmer. There was a water stop along the way, so each time we passed it and stopped, I poured some water on my head.
At the end of mile 10 I was definitely feeling draggy, so I ate the rest of the Gu chomps - I am thinking I may have to stick with the Gu and just try and eat it slower because these just don't seem to do the trick. Somewhere in here I also took a salt tab.
9-12:15; 10-12:55; 11-13:05; 12-12:18
4 miles: 50:33 - average pace 12:38
12 miles: 2:28:08 - average pace 12:21
12 mile split goal: 2:37 (9 minutes ahead of goal!)
I knew that the last 4 miles were going to be heading back up the hills we came down at the beginning, so I stopped at McDonald's again for a bathroom break and to refill my water bottles with ice and water, and tried to prepare myself mentally to hit the hills.
We hit 13.1 miles around 2:43 and change, a new PR for me for that distance! I also took another Gu at that point (I was hoping for an espresso, but what I grabbed was another vanilla bean). I took my time getting it down, which was much better. Took another salt tab somewhere in here, too.
Not long after that we came across some people throwing rocks across the trail and wondered what on earth they were doing. Turns out they were trying to scare off a copperhead snake who was camouflaged perfectly right at the edge of the trail! Thankfully it was on the other side, but I NEVER would have seen it! Another reason to run in the center of the trail (I prefer to run in the middle anyway because the camber bothers me.)
By this point, we were hitting the hills, in the sun, and my left leg was bothering me. I clearly adjust my stride in some way to compensate for my heel pain, and my left hip flexor and knee were also starting to bother me. When we started coming to the long hills that never seemed to end, we agreed from that point forward to ignore the interval timer and walk the ups and run the down, and then ran the last .10 in for my longest run ever!
13-14:19; 14-12:28; 15-14:00; 16-14:19
4 miles: 55:06 - average pace 13:47
16 miles: 3:23:15 - average pace 12:42
16 mile goal: 3:30:32 (7 minutes ahead of goal!)
I was really really looking forward to my ice bath, but that had to wait a bit. Right after I was done stretching, I had to head over to watch the end of E's soccer game (thank you so much, my awesome friend Heather E., for picking her up and getting here there on time!). I sat on a towel next to the field and stretched, so I wasn't actually feeling too bad by the time I got home with my big bag of ice.
I did not make the mistake of taking a nap like I did last weekend. After my ice bath and a shower, I hung out on the couch and watched tv for awhile while my favorite girls made Squirt cupcakes, and then we all went to see Finding Nemo in 3D. I love that movie and I often sing Dory's swimming song in my head as I'm running! After that we hung out at a friend's house for another movie, but her couch was just too comfortable so I did fall asleep then (plus I wasn't into the movie). Overall a much better recovery than last weekend. Yay!
I was really pleased with just about everything about this run! I still can't quite imagine running 10 miles further than yesterday's run, but I have surprised myself every week as our runs get longer and I get through them. Being that our longest run is only 20 miles, I know I need to prepare mentally for the last 6.2, especially since I will probably be running alone.
I realized at the end of the run as I was stretching that my extra-wide feet are poking out the edges of my shoes in the same spot my Sauconys used to fray, so I'm going to be ordering new shoes in the next week or so to be sure I have them ready but broken in by race day!
I'm also thinking of ordering another fuel belt to have my sister hang onto to trade out around halfway so I don't have to worry about running out of water. I drink a lot of water on my long runs and get panicky if I feel like I am running low, so this seems like the best idea.
Next Saturday is 18 miles. My running buddy Erica won't be there, so I am planning to try running with music to keep me motivated and speedy! The following week is "only" 12 miles - haha, who ever though I would put the word "only" before "12 miles." I can't believe it, MCM will be here in no time!