No, not one of thooooooose days. One of those days where you smoke your long run, feel great and spend the whole day planning for world domination. OK, so perhaps not world domination, perhaps just domination of my own personal running schedule, but a girl can dream, right?
Today I wanted to push a little on my long run... not a lot, just a little. My normal long run pace is 11-11:30, and I wanted to drop it 30 seconds today and push at 10:30-11. I had 16 miles on the agenda. I had a strong first loop (9 miles), but really questioned if I could hold the pace the last 7. But I just kept going. I ignored the aches and the can'ts, and just continued to turn my legs over... one step at a time. By mile 13, I felt the pace slip, but I wanted that sub-11 average on a long run this week. I'm working on pushing through fatigue. But at this point, my intestines started to say no, but I refused to let go of my pace. Much thanks to my running partner today, Robin D, who played my favorite running music... otherwise known as constant chit-chat! Robin is also a good bit faster than me, so it really motivates me to keep moving. She's also the person I always hear in my ear - never finish a run weak... go for the strong finish, you'll feel so much better. So I pushed through it and even pushed mile 16 out at 9:59.
Final average pace for the 16 miles was 10:35 min/mile. Remember, only comparing with myself, that's a really stellar pace for me to keep on a long run in a non-race situation. I was really pleased... but little did I know that the hard part was yet to come.
Robin and I had parted ways by this point because she needed 20 miles instead of 16, and so I was alone... done with my run and 2 miles from my car. Yes, I planned it this way, because when I walk post-long run, I recover so so much faster. But have I ever mentioned how antsy I get walking that far? I couldn't stand it, and I'd find myself starting to run again, then I'd force myself back to a walk. My legs ached, my water was low, the sun had come out... and 30 more minutes to get to the car just sounded like torture. But eventually I did get there, and I'm sure I'll be thankful for those 2 walking miles later.
This run felt like my redemption from the heat we've been stuck in. The weather today was a nice relief and it was nice to be able to hold pace without withering, and I wanted full advantage of it. Looks like Texas might once again be hotter than the sun's core by next weekend. Well, at least I got in this good run!