I set out at 8:10 am. The weather was perfect, about 40 degrees. I had my super sleek new pants, new fab cushy socks, new stylin' headband, new packet of Gu, and a new flavor of Gatorade ("FLAVOR BURST BLAST-O-RAMA TIDAL MEGAWAVE OF FROST" or some dumb thing...it was the only variety of mix-it-yourself powder at the grocery store). I had a new route mapped out, a perfect 8-mile loop. I felt well-rested, fresh, ready to rock and roll.
On all of my previous long runs I started out at a slow pace because I had this mental thing about "I have to run X number of miles...better not go out too fast! Don't want to get tired!" However, after the string of really awesome 4.5-mile runs I put together on recent weekdays, runs that I did at a 9:19/mile pace in some cases, I decided that I wasn't going to hold back on my long run. I thought of it as "I'm going to run 4.5 miles! And then, I'll run another 3.5 after that." So off I went at my regular run pace. I felt really good. My hands were cold, though. All that new gear, and I didn't bother to spring for a pair of gloves?
The sun rose higher and the air warmed and by the time I reached mile 5 I was ready to get rid of my jacket. My hands weren't cold any more, either. I stopped in a convenient place and ate my reserve packet of Gu. Then I took my jacket off. It was about 50-52 degrees by that time and the cool air felt wonderful. I was sweating heavily per usual but my totally superb new headband kept all of it away from my eyes. Around mile 6.5 I passed a little woolly bear caterpillar on the road and I picked it up and brought it over to a rock under a tree on the side of the road. I didn't want the little guy to get squished!
I finished my run in 1 hour and 17 minutes. 9:37/mile pace. My little mental exercise worked. This was by far the best long run I've done. I proved to myself that I don't have to be pokey in the name of "conserving energy," that I do have the endurance and strength to maintain a faster pace over longer distances. Otherwise, what the hell have I been doing for the past 3 months? I certainly haven't been sitting around with my thumb up my butt...what has all this insane training been for if I don't have something to show for it by now? This bodes extremely well for the half marathon. I am feeling more confident than ever. Eight miles is well over half the race distance. Plop another 5 miles on top of that eight and...that's it! The whole nine yards! Or should I say thirteen miles. It really doesn't seem that daunting any more. Not now that I've done 8 miles and at the end I felt like I still could have kept going!
Emboldened by my success on Saturday, I went out at an even faster pace for my 4.5-miler this morning. I mean, I really hoofed it. And what do you know, I finished in 40 minutes. 40! That's an 8:53/mile pace! Holy moley!
I am SO going to kick ass at the Big House Big Heart 5K on September 30. Definitely under 26:00, but might I also break 25:00? I would so love that...
And by the way, I'm now at 48.6 pounds lost total! This could be the week I hit FIFTY POUNDS. I'll let you all know after my weigh-in tomorrow.
Also, I redeemed my certificate for my free half-dozen rolls that I won from the Run for the Rolls last month. We ate them with dinner on Saturday (dry-rubbed, New York strip steak, oven-grilled asparagus, and roasted potatoes with fresh rosemary and garlic. Yum!). Victory never tasted so...hot and yeasty!
And finally, my distant partner-in-running crime who will be doing the Detroit race with me next month was having a wee crisis of confidence which she expressed on her blog. I commented:
Remember we're in this together. This crazy-ass endeavor. I decided toSemi-dorky, but it's totally true. I might not be the fastest runner out there, but at least I'm out there. Hurting, sweating, and still getting up every morning to do it all over again. There's no fail. Fail would be never even trying at all.
do it because YOU inspired me to do it. And remember this, too: WE are
going to be doing the race while everyone else is going to be standing
around watching us. WE are putting our feet into our shoes and hitting
the pavement. There's no way we can fail. The only way we'd fail is if
we never even tried. Remember that!!