(of this training season, anyway)
Yes, I had the big 20 miler on my training schedule. But, after having a super stressful week with long work hours, little sleep and little to no running, I was not counting on getting all twenty miles in. I was afraid that my cardio would get the best of me or that my IT band pain in one or both knees would rear it's ugly head and force me to cut my run short. I expressed all of these concerns in a frantic, needing-to-vent phone call to my friend Veronica. She assured me that my previous months of training have been strong, I worked hard to build a good base and one or two weeks of low mileage wouldn't totally upset a weekend long run. I had my doubts, but performed all of my pre-long-run rituals anyway (light pasta dinner, lots of hydrating on Friday, early to bed with heating pad on hamstrings.)
I set my alarm for 3:00 am to have time for my PowerBar breakfast, two drink servings of Emergen-C and loaded in the car for the 35 minute drive out to Fishhawk. I met up with Veronica and we started our run in the wee dark hours of the morning, donned with headlamps and reflective vests. The first 9-10 miles went along pretty well. Veronica and I chatted about everything, as we normally do on these runs. I think that's what makes them so therapeutic! We kept our pace nice and SLOW, as suggested by "the coaching manual" due to the heat, humidity and the fact that we were running twenty miles. If we had anything left towards the end, that's when I vowed to pick up the pace.
Another runner, Sunita, met us at mile 9 for her first 10 miler. She's been working to build up her mileage and likes the Galloway (run/walk) method as much as we do (smart woman!) When Sunita joined us, she continued the conversation chatter and enlightened us on many topics to keep us distracted. After about 10 miles or so, my conversations skills drastically reduce so it was nice to have someone along to keep it going and distract us from our misery!
At mile 18, Veronica was NOT feeling well and made the wise decision to take more walk breaks and run for shorter periods of time. My legs were hurting, feeling stiff, but that's expected. At this point, I was feeling pretty strong and had no knee/it band pain. I wanted to keep running and finish as strong as I was feeling. By this time, the sun was out and it was HOT! All the more reason to get this run over with as soon as possible! So, for the last two miles, I picked up the running pace (negative splits), walked less and was able to run/sprint it in. Sunita was such a trooper! Instead of doing her planned 10 miler, she hung with me for the last two miles and turned her run into an 11 miler! Veronica came in shortly after us, chugged the bottle of Gatorade I had waiting for her and stated, "I had twenty miles on my plate and I planned to finish it!" Stubborn much? :)
It was a good morning for me! After the run, I joined the rest of the running group at Panera for a yummy breakfast sandwich and coffee (I was starving!). The rest of the day involved spending some family time with my two favorite guys. Then, James and I went over to a friend's house for some more playtime and fun. That evening, Will and I grilled out steaks, opened a nice bottle of red and wound down with the movie, The Soloist. All in all, a productive, wonderful way to spend my Saturday!
How was yours?