It is three weeks from marathon day, so today was my last long, long run. My last few have been 19, 20, and 20, with the last 20 over some nasty hills that had me pretty wiped out at the end. Today would be back to the almost flat beach run, shooting for over 21. The goal was to run relaxed, 8:30-9:00 pace for most of the run, then maybe a little faster toward the end and see how I felt.
We had a cold front come through so it was about the coldest day of the year, but the winds were light and the sun was out, so it turned out to be a perfect day for a long one. I left at 8:30AM and it was about 40 degrees. I wore shorts and a tech t, so I was pretty cold for a while, but the numbness on my exposed skin wore off by the end of mile 2, and it was an excellent day.
First 6 were on the woodchip trail and were just to get warmed up and relax. It wasn't that long ago when 6 miles was a long run - today it was just the shakeout phase: 9:00, 8:48, 8:44, 8:45, 8:44, 9:05 - Avg 8:51
Next 7 were at the beach. Easier to go faster here, and I got caught up with some other runners that pushed me along: 8:39, 8:52, 8:32, 8:33, 8:25, 8:39, 8:48 - Avg 8:38
I was carrying 3 GUs for miles 7, 12 and 17, and I had my water bottle in my hip holster, so I only stopped twice all day to refill. Otherwise I was plugging along. Felt pretty good as I turned for home.
Next 7 I let myself speed up a little - partly caused by a runner who went by me and was going just a little faster, so I trailed him for about 4 miles. 8:27, 8:28, 8:26, 8:27, 8:25, 8:27, 8:34 - Avg 8:28
Miles 18 and 19 I was starting to suffer, but was able to hold on to the pace. Mile 20 it started to feel like I was hitting the wall. The bottoms of my feet hurt. My leg would occasionally collapse just a little on a step. The hips were aching. I was grimacing instead of my usual relaxed half smile. I really wanted to go through 21 without a break, but at about 19.7 I was fading and decided to take a little walk break after I hit 20. So I did. Drank and walked for about 30 seconds and then got back going. Mile 21 was 9:33 (with the walk. My run pace was about 9) It felt like the end of a marathon. I was NOT looking forward to the coming race because I know that last 6 is going to hurt like this or worse and go much longer. I battled off the negative thoughts.
Bottom line - I am doing a little more miles than last year, I am a little faster in speed work. I weigh 2 pounds less. I should be able to beat last year's time - hopefully by starting a little slower and dying less at the end. Current goal - break 3:45.
Anyway, I finished 21.3 at an average pace of 8:42. Eventually the pain subsided. I took my first ice bath today! I ran a cold bath and added whatever ice I could get out of our freezer. It melted in about 5 minutes, but it was a good starter ice bath for newbies.One more week of decent mileage coming up and then 2 week taper.