Last week, I had a great 10-mile run. It was a cut-back week with the challenge of running some Marathon Pace (MP) miles after a few warm up (“regular” Long Run) ones. I was so excited that I was able to do that – and had lots of confidence going into this longer mileage week – with the somewhat intimidating (longest run this training cycle, haven’t run this far since…June in Utah Valley?) 18-miler on tap for today.
It was ON.
I stayed up somewhat late last night, so I decided to set the alarm for 6:30 AM (which is usually the time I’m already running on a regular Saturday) but I realized that I should get used to running with the sun up once in a while (to simulate an actual race day) and noticed on weather.com that the sunrise would be at 7:18 AM – which is about the time I set out the door!
Long runs should be run at an EASY PACE – for me, that means 8:50 to 9:10 on my plan. I have been working on getting them slower, which is possible for the first mile usually, but kinda dicey otherwise. I decided that I’d really listen to my body this morning and allow myself to find a ‘coasting’ pace and never find myself in a heavy breathing situation. Pretty simple…
And as a result, this happened: 8:49, 8:39, 8:27,8:45, 8:45, 8:41, 8:19, 8:23, 8:01, 8:23, 8:14, 7:59, 7:59, 7:58, 7:47, 8:19, 8:17 and 7:25 (!!).
18 miles. 2 hours, 28 minutes and some change, average pace: 8:15.
I was totally shocked. Happy, but shocked. I had to recheck the numbers a few times, but it checked out. And bigger miracle of miracles, I never got lost (this is a serious shocker). Running all over town, I saw some interesting things and kept thinking, “I should definitely take a picture of that,” but then I’d be a minute or so away by the time I reminded myself I could just pull out the iPhone and snap a pic.
I did get one though:
I couldn’t get the perfect angle (‘cos y’know, I was running and what not, haha) but these three houses all must have joined forces and posted these GIANT wooden signs that spelled out O-B-A-M-A. Now, no matter what your political affiliation, you have to admit, that’s some dedication! I mean, look at the scale of those signs compared to the cars parked on the road! Wow.
Back to the running though…I have to say, it’s still unbelievable to look back on my running journey and today’s long run made me really reflect back. When I was training for Richmond last year, long runs were…well, long. Hard. I was DONE by the end of them! They certainly were worth it as I reached my goal last year, but wow, did they take a lot out of me.
This training cycle, long runs haven’t gotten any “easier” but they definitely do CLICK a lot more. Today, I felt like I could keep running – and that’s such an incredible feeling. In that moment of realization – that you’ve run 18 miles – you just hope that that singular feeling – a mix of pride, excitement and pure joy – is something that EVERYONE IN THE WORLD gets to experience in some way or another. Maybe not through running, but whatever makes that person just feel…unstoppable.
Really though, sappiness aside, I cannot be more excited about two rave run weekends in a row. Next week, I’ve got 20 on tap and if I can carry this streak on, well, I really couldn’t ask for more!!
What makes you happy?