Today was an important day in my training. I had a distance PR (personal record) in front of me and with more than a month off from running I was unsure what the outcome would be.
I made my goal (Goal: 3hrs - 18mi). I finished in 2:49:24 (Pace: 9:24) - that's a good sign and a confidence boost.
The weather today was at my advantage with low wind, partly cloudy skies and temps in the low 50s. Perfect setting for a long run. I started the first mile like I was running a race at a 7:53 pace. I quickly reminded myself how long I still had to go. By mile 5, I had my pace down to 9:13 and was settling in nicely. At this point, I was rounding the North end of White Rock lake.
I've found a new favorite place to run. The trails at White Rock have suttle hills, big hard wood trees, gently winding path, a great atmosphere set by a number of other runners, walkers, and people with thier dogs and outstanding views of the lake, Dallas downtown skyline and at 5:30 a sunset filled with shades of orange, blues, purples and yellows. The nice part about a run this long is you actually take the time to enjoy the scenery and people around you.
By mile 9, I was still moving along nicely at a 9:32 pace and headed directly into the sunset. Mile 10 and 11 took me around the southside of White Rock lake and the spillway. They have recently remodeled this area making it a great place to make the turn home. At this point, it was getting dark out and cooling down nicely. It wasn't much longer after that when I checked my distance and time - realising I had already passed the 13.1 mark. I was surprised at how great I was still feeling.
It wasn't that long ago that 13.1 miles was a big acheivement for me. Today made me reflect back on the training through July to October. I started out with some basic goals and found that I was quickly meeting and exceeding those goals. My original goal for the Half Marathon in October was to simply finish the race without making any stops to walk. It then changed to finish in 2hrs and 30mins, it then changed again to 2hrs. Moving forward to today, I am aiming for a 3hr 40min time in the marathon. Hopefully this time, I haven't underestimated or been too agressive.
At mile 14, Elise and my pup (Jacelyn) met me to re-fill my water bottle (not a problem I've been faced with my long runs before). I was excited to see them and from the uncontrollable wiggles (the dog) and smile (the wife) I could tell they were happy to see me.
I ran into a lot of hills along the next few miles and the pain really started to set in around 15.5 miles. I had slowed down significantly at this stage due to the pain and secondly trying to manage a reasonable heartrate (taking Melissa's advice). Normally, I would push harder at this stage and try to finish strong. I tried at least five times to pick up the speed, each attempt was short lived. I felt like my legs were going to fall out from underneath me. On the last stretch, my Nike chip let me know I was only 400m out - pretty cool (Thanks Casey and Tiff - great Christmas gift).
Prior to this I had moved my goal from 3hrs to 2:50:00, so at 200m I made a lame attempt at sprinting. A complete lack of form and most likely amusing for the passing motorist. That said, I did make it and was very happy with run.
Due to a lack of proper planning, I found myself around a 1.5mi from the house. I rested for 2mins - trying to walk out some of the soreness then took off running again. I made it all of 200m and decided it just wasn't happening. Although the run had started off with near perfect weather, it was now freezing outside. The walk home was miserable. It was cold but what was really miserable was the pain that was setting into my glutes, hamstrings and the entirety of my calves. I had to stop at one point and sit for a few minutes before continuing on. I envisioned beingin my warm apartment, curled up next to my wife on the couch, watching football and eating left over tacos. It was every bit as wonderful as I imagined it when I finally made it home, minus the two flights of stairs up to our apartment.
In addition, I had the opportunity to stock up on some new gear today. I picked up from compression sleeves, underarmour coldweather tights, running gloves and new running shoes. I went to RunOn Dallas to pick up the shoes and had them take a look at my wearing patterns and stride tendencies. They told me I had some slight pronation on my left foot and recommended a shoe with small amount posting/stability support. I ended up with the Brooks RAVENNA 2 runners. I look forward to alternating them into my training runs and fully switching over in the next few weeks. My current shoes are a nuetral shoe, Aasics Gel Nimbus 12, and made a big difference over the last pair shoes I had been running with. They've worked out really well but will be hitting the 400mi mark soon. I thought it would be best to switch now, 12 weeks out, rather than making a last minute switch before the marathon.
That's all for today, I'm looking forward to a full night's rest.
Thanks again for following my blog. Comments, training tips and donations to The Children's Trust (http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/runflickrun) is welcomed and encouraged.