Over the past few weeks, I have been adding speed work back in to my training and have been forcing myself to run more - no more walk breaks after a few miles. I have to tell myself - Michael you can run one mile, or two, or four! And I have been running more and have had some decent speed runs. I have a half marathon coming up in two weeks. So last Sunday, I went out for an 11 mile run. It was awful. After five miles I was so tired I could hardly put one foot in front of the other. I ended up cutting the run to eight miles and averaged 12:51 per mile. I was so disappointed. Later that day, I got very sick (vomiting), so I think I was just sick and didn't realize it. So this weekend I was hoping for a much better result. I was going for 12 miles, which would be my longest run since the Disney marathon. I knew it would be tough, but I really wanted to get in 12 miles!
I am signed up for another half marathon in April, and one of the benefits of that race is that they provide supported group runs on Sundays. I had planned to go a few times, but had never actually made it out. This Sunday, the planned route was up to 12 miles, the weather was going to be about 35 degrees with light winds and sunny, it was the perfect day to give it a try. In all of my training over the last several years, I have never been to a group run. I almost always run by myself. I have always been afraid that my pace would be to slow. But I knew this was a pretty large group (about 100 people each week) so surely someone else would be as slow as me right?
So, I got up bright and early, headed out the door at 6:10 am, and dropped by my friend Michelle's house (she was going to run too, which helped get me out of bed Sunday). I was excited to find out they had tons of pace groups ranging from a 7:30 pace to walking. When they called out the 12:30 pace I left with that group - wait where's my group, finally one girls popped out and said she'd run with me. So here I was at a group run and it was me and one other girl. Oh well, at least I wouldn't have to run by myself. We started talking and it was so nice to have someone to run with. The route is a 6 mile out and back, so if you want to do less miles you have to adjust the route accordingly. She tells me she is only running five miles today - bummer, that means I'll only have a running partner for 2.5 miles of the 12 mile run. I run with her for the first 2.5 and I feel great. I say good bye and keep running. I haven't stopped to walk once. I am feeling great. I decide that I will try to run the first 6 miles without a break (other than a quick one to stop for water - which is every 2 miles). It's such a beautiful morning, and we are running through an older part of town with these gorgeous older homes. I feel wonderful. Then we run through Loose Park - hey, this is where Jim and I got married. A huge smile comes across my face.
For the first six miles I still see lots of people as people are heading back the other direction. But I knew the people would get less and less. There were several people who started behind me, but I knew most people wouldn't be doing the full 12 miles. Once I finally made it to the six mile turnaround, I only passed 2 people on the way back - wow only 2 people behind me. At mile six I am still feeling strong, as a matter of fact I have been getting faster as I run. I'm really in a zone. Can I run all 12 miles? I might just try. I finally reach mile 10 and I'm still feeling great. I am going to go for it the last two miles. I see two groups in front of me - 2 guys, and a little further up 2 girls. I pass the two guys, and one of them says to me, man you are really trucking - "I'm trying" I reply. I keep pushing, I'm running well, only a mile left. I finally come up on the two girls and pass them. Wow, look at me passing people at the end of a run - usually I'm dying at this point. I'm watching my Garmin and my overall pace keeps coming down - I think I can beat my KC half marathon pace. I get down to an 11:28 pace, but wait all of a sudden I'm kind of lost - I missed the turn. I stop and look around - oh crap there are the girls I passed turning way down the street. This slows me down, but I'm almost done. I end the 12 miles (12.1 actually since I missed my turn). My overall pace 11:33. Wow, I ran 12 miles - and I actually ran all 12 and I did it at what I thought was my fastest pace ever, but I guess it was just a few seconds shy of my best "Garmin" pace. Anyway, I didn't care. I was all smiles. I had just ran well, and ran hard. I had pushed myself and I had got it done!!
What a wonderful Sunday run. What a great day! Sometimes, it all comes together.
|Check out those last two miles - the fastest all day (ignore that .1 that's where I got lost).|