- I was going it alone. I don't care who you are. 18 miles is a long freaking way to go alone, even with your friend, iPod.
- It was chilly. Warm bed, coffee and Sunday paper were calling my name.
- I drank quite a bit of wine last night.I haven't run 18 since training for my last marathon (so that would have been back in Dec.)
I mapped out the route - the back roads of Boulder County which is a propos ("appropriate" for all you non French speakers) as I am doing the Boulder Backroads Half next weekend. Roads are all dirt and rural which I love (although that llama staring at me was a bit disconcerting - I knew she was going to spit a loogie on my fuel belt - BTW, I've never written the word "loogie" before. Had to look up how to spell it).
I was planning on an out and back. Nine out, nine back if you need help with the math. I tried to find a way to make it sounds shorter - like three six milers or nine two milers or 18 one milers - but no matter how you slice it, it's just f'n long.
Once I got going it was all good. The way out is mostly up hill and quite challenging. I found my stride early on. My goal was about a 9 min/mile. I was doing a bit faster than that. About six miles in, there was a pack of dudes running towards me. When I got closer I realized it was the Strands team, the guys from the relay! That gave me a total boost. I trudged on. I got to the halfway point, stopped for a gel, Advil, blister band aid. No sooner had a started back when I had that familiar feeling - you guessed it - turd honking for the right of way. I was clenching, trying to avoid messing myself until I could find a warm, clean bathroom with an US Weekly Magazine. Or maybe just a bush large enough to hide my white ass when I squatted. Finally I scoped out my spot and laid one down. Then I had a newfound lease on life.
The next five miles were awesome and fast. I was jammin' to the Black Eyed Peas ("I gotta feeling, I'm going to finish this damn run after all") and my feet were turning over fast. Too good to be true - my hamstrings started to seize up and almost felt like they might collapse under me. I stopped to stretch on a fence and that helped get me to the end of the run.
Over all I felt pretty good for the whole run - there is always a lot of mental energy that goes into doing something like this. Running through and with the pain is part of it. I never expect to feel great while I'm running. If I am pushing hard and working how I'm supposed to be, I'm usually pretty dang tired. But the reward comes at the end and what a sweet reward it was! Guess what? Over 18 miles - 8:36 avg pace.
Now, to qualify for Boston I need to run a 3:50 marathon in November. That is an 8:46 pace. But I want to stay closer to an 8:35 just to give myself some wiggle room. So while today's run was only 18 miles (even though there is nothing only about 18 miles), I ran it at marathon pace which makes me VERY happy and proud.
Splits: mile 1: 9:00; mile 2: 8:55; mile 3: 8:57; mile 4: 9:11; mile 5: 8:36; mile 6:8:50; mile 7:8:37; mile 8: 8:40; mile 9: 8:55; mile 10: 8:25; mile 11:8:25: mile 12: 8:01; mile 13: 8:36; mile 14: 8:46; mile 15: 8:15; mile 16: 7:55; mile 17: 8:16; mile 18: 8:26.
Yeah, that's right. Mile 16 - 7:55!!!
So after a grilled cheese and a banana, I am glad the bathroom is nearby. These runs really jack with my stomach. But I have this feeling of accomplishment. I really did something today! This has been a 44 mile week for me in total...not too bad.
And one more thing, my son, 11, ran his first cross country meet yesterday. Did the two miler in 15:50. Didn't even crap himself.