We've been ramping up our mileage in preparation for the fall marathon season. Last Saturday (22nd) and this Saturday (29th) were both scheduled to be 18 mile runs. The first was suppose to be at our long slow pace. The second was suppose to include some marathon goal pace in there. I just really wanted to get them both done at any pace, really!
All season long there have been two other women that I run the long runs with. There are times when I might be a tiny bit faster and times when I might be a tiny bit slower. I'm ok with that on both counts.
On the 22nd, we started our run. The route was more or less an out-and-back with a 2 mile loop at the end for those doing 18 miles. We started out and I could tell right off that the humidity was going to get me. Since we were using the local trail (which also happens to have water along it) we wouldn't have our first "manned" aid station until around mile 5. When we got there, I looked at my watch and knew we had taken off a little fast. Then we hit the hilly part. And were still a little fast. I knew it would be bad. By the time we got to mile 13 I knew it wasn't my day. My knee was starting to hurt (tight lateral quad) and I was just mentally done. But, I knew I had to finish and get the miles in. So off I went doing a run/walk combo that became mostly a walk. By the time I hit the final two mile loop I couldn't see anyone in front of or behind me and I was in a part of town I didn't like being in by myself. So, I cut over and headed back. I ended up at 17.68 miles in 3:13:10.
This Saturday, the 29th seemed much easier. For one thing, the weather was a TINY bit cooler and it was definitely less humid. This week's route was a 4 mile loop. We would run it 4 times and then do a 2 mile loop to get in 18. The first lap was to be a warm up lap done slow. The next 2.5 laps at marathon goal pace, and the last 1/2 lap plus 2 mile loop as a cool down. As we took off, I had to remind the ladies this was a "warm up". I tried to keep the pace between 10:15 and 10:30. Once we finished that first lap, we took off for the rest. We did pretty good at maintaining around 9:30 for the next couple of laps and decided to maintain it for all three of the final laps. We would cool down on the 2 mile loop. When all was said and done and I looked at my Garmin, it read 18.69 miles in 3:07:33! I'll take it!