Yay! Today was the last long run of base training – marathon training officially starts tomorrow! I’ll admit, after I signed up for the marathon, I was a little nervous about my ability to do it. My first marathon training long run (scheduled for next weekend) was 12 miles. When I signed up, I’d just completed a 7 mile run – the longest in over a year.
My base training has been going in fits & starts. Between school & job stress, I’ve blown off a few more workouts than I’m comfortable with, and was a little nervous about today’s 11 miler.
I decided to run Leif Erickson trail from point to point. It is almost exactly 11 miles, and point-to-point is so much better than out-and-back (amIright?). I’d planned on parking my car at one end & having the architect meet me at the other & drive me back to my car. However, a couple of days ago, my ridiculously awesome friend Sarah volunteered to pick me up at the end of my run, go out to breakfast with me, and drive me home. There is no way to say no to an offer like than (nor would I want to say no), so I had the architect drop me off at the start & freed him to go on his merry way for the rest of the day.
I woke up this morning and felt REALLY nervous. Like race day nervous. There were several pre-run visits to the WC, and I had trouble choking down my breakfast (Clif bar & coffee).
I’d gotten everything ready the night before: laid out my clothes, prepped the fuel belt, and programmed the coffee maker.
I’d been unable to find two of my four 8-oz water bottles for my fuel belt, and wasn’t sure I wanted to run 11 miles with only 16 oz of water, so I found an old hand-held bottle strappy thing that I’d used approximately once before declaring that I hated carrying anything in my hands while running. I filled my handheld with water & the two 8-oz bottles with gatorade & carried 3 (vanilla bean) gus.
My last trail run, I averaged just about 13 minute miles so I wanted to allow myself 2.5 hours for my 11 miler, since instead of a set start time, I had a set end time – Sarah was picking me up at 10.
We got to the trailhead at 7:21 (yes, exactly) and I hopped out of the truck & was underway. I walked the first little bit (about .15 miles) until I got to the Mile 11 marker, so that I could make sure I was actually running my 11!
At the mile 11 marker, getting ready to start.
The first couple miles took FOREVER, and I was glad that I’d allowed myself a little cushion in my time. I didn’t see anyone at all, and with the exception of the birds, there was no noise on the trail. The third and fourth miles seemed to go by pretty quickly, and before I knew it, I was at marker 7 (my mile 4) and it was time for my first Gu break.
Mile 1: 11:41
Mile 2: 12:58 (hill!)
Mile 3: 11:57
Mile 4: 12:08
I was pretty pleased at this point that I was keeping it at about 12 minute miles; that put me a little ahead of schedule. Miles 5 and 6 were the longest and hardest of run. I missed the Mile 5 marker, and thought I was going reallllly slow, since I hadn’t seen it.
Miles 5 & 6: 26:06 (avg 13:03, walked while taking fuel at the beginning of mile 5)
When I passed the 5.5 mile marker (i.e. the halfway point), I checked my time – 1:11:xx – I was on target to finish in 2:22, almost exactly what I’d planned. I’d have a couple of minutes to stretch out before my ride arrived!
After passing mile 6, things just started getting faster. I know that it’s partially due to it having more decline than incline in that half, but also I was just feeling really, really good. There were points when my legs felt so light that I thought I might be able to keep running forever!
In the first half of the run, I saw only about a half dozen people, but once I crossed Saltzman (about 5 miles into my run), the traffic picked up considerably.
I stopped to take my 2nd Gu at mile 8.5, and I almost considered not even stopping (but the growling of my stomach convinced me otherwise – I am trying to get better at consistent fueling).
Mile 7: 11:07
Mile 8: 11:55
Mile 9: 10:35 (even with my Gu break!)
The last couple of miles were magic. Most people were running IN, so I didn’t get passed by anyone, and I just felt so strong and fast. My feet weren’t hurting at all, and all the other aches and pains that I’d been feeling in the beginning were gone. I smiled and said hi to everyone I saw, and just felt so great.
Mile 10: 11:15
Mile 11: 9:46
Right as I was approaching the gate (which is a couple hundred feet before the Mile 0 marker) a couple girls sprinted by me (and then stopped right in front of me, which almost caused an accident), but even that couldn’t ruin the awesomeness of my run.
I stopped my watch at 2:09:28, which means that I had a 13 minutes negative split!
I checked my watch – 9:30. 30 minutes early. I emailed Sarah to let her know I was done & started walking. I briefly considered continuing to run, but once I stopped and walked a bit, I got a cramp in my left arch, and decided that maybe 11 was enough for today.
I ended up averaging 11:46 on the run. The first half was 12:57 pace (i.e. exactly as predicted) and the second half was a 10:35 pace (i.e. MUCH faster!)
This was not only my longest run in ages, but also my first workout over 2 hours in ages, too!
As I was crossing the Thurman St Bridge over Lower Macleay Park, I saw an interesting…thing?…in the park.
It appears to be made out of leaves & other tree debris, and is totally roped off. There’s a sign, but it was facing the wrong way (and was really far away). Anyone know what this is?
ANYWAYS – pretty soon I saw Sarah driving towards me, so I hopped in the car, we hit Industrial Cafe & Saloon for coffee and breakfast, and then she drove me home (such a great friend!).
Such a good day! I am so excited for the next 16 weeks of marathon training! Woo!