Two weeks ago I set out to do an 18 mile run with the option of adding two at the end. Unfortunately circumstances didn't work out that way. Luckily, I had the official 20 mile run to try again.
Circumstances beyond my control prevented me from participating in the official Ready to Run 20 Miler with CARA on Sunday and my group because of a wedding in Michigan.
Tangent: Before I signed up for the marathon, I asked the SigOther if we were making another trip to Michigan anytime in the fall. She wasn't sure and I counted back from the marathon and said "well this weekend is bad because it's our 20 mile run and I really need to be in town for that."
Lo and behold one of her relatives was having her wedding that same weekend and we need to be there.
Fortunately, when you run for as long as I have, you meet so many runners and running groups that you can usually find someone to help you out. The ClockTower runners were meeting on Saturday and they have enough people atall pace groups tat I was able to find an 830 group. I wasn't sure how that would work out since I struggled running 18 miles with the 9s two weeks ago.
I was doing some of my speed work with the ClockTower Runners on Tuesday evenings but once the heat picked up, I found it easier to either run in the morning with Hugh or do it in my hood so that I still got home a little earlier.
We started off with about 10 people includeing Karl and his wife who were the group leaders. Karl was pushing a stroller with their 2 year old. Monica and Veronica -- the Hispanic sisters -- wanted to do 8:20s and Ms Karl talked about doing 22 miles. I wasn't sure what I was in for but If figured if this group could at least get me to the half way point, I could make it back on my own.
They only stop at the official water stations that Fleet Feet has set up. I had brought along a bottle of gatorade that i had picked up on the way to the meeting point because I didnt' know what the gatorade situation would be.
It wasn't long before our group spread out and apart with some who run faster than 830s takingoff. Ms Karl stayed with us so it was myself and a guy who works for Gatorade running with three ladies. I didn't catch names but one of them was a firsttime marathoner.
One of the amazing pheonomials of MT is a runner will have a terrible run one weekend. Then, a couple weeks later, they'll have another LR that is even longer than the terrible run yet have a great experience. So it was today.
Usually around mile 14, my calfs start to cramp up. That didn't happen this time. Not only that, but I actually had some juice in the tank. Not enough to do more mileage but on the last two miles I thought about kicking it up a bit to get it over with, but then I decided itwould be rude to leave the group that got me through 18 miles. Instead we stayed together and I successfully completed the most mileage I've run since the marathon of 2008.
Two weeks ago it took me 2:43:49 to complete 18 miles (9:06 average pace). We finished the 20 miler in 2:52:17 which breaks down to a 8:37 average pace. And while that doesn't guarantee anything on Race Day, it does give me some hope that I will do well on 10-10-10 if I stick to an 830 pace instead of trying to BQ.
I would say that is the lesson I've learned this season, from both my training and the last half marathon I ran. This isn't going to be the year I BQ or set a new PR and I have to accept that.