After my terrible 10 mile race the previous week, my confidence in my ability to run long distances was lacking. Sure, two days after that race I ran a good 3 miles, but then the very next day, it was all I could do to last for 35 minutes before throwing in the towel. Yes, the weather was vastly different those two days, but still...those kinds of extremes in good/bad runs this close to my first goal race made me wonder if I really had it in me to run a half marathon. We're getting down to the nitty gritty in our long runs - maybe I max out around 9 miles?
Well, I'm happy to report that my 11 mile run was a good one - what a relief! The temperature was not quite as cold as forecast - it was 42 degrees, with very little wind. I layered up my clothes just right, but as usual, my fingers were frozen, even with wearing two pairs of mittens (side note: if you have suggestions for super warm gloves/mittens, I'd love to hear them).
Amy and I headed out and had a good time chatting about all things knitting, and soon we hit what I call Scary Statue park, but in actuality it's called Veteran's Park. There were hundreds of full-sized flags planted, in row after row, remaining from the Veteran's Day ceremony earlier in the week, and it was really moving to see them. We ran an out-and-back through the park and then headed up to our main road, where we got to smell a very dead animal and later on see (but thankfully not smell) a dead coyote. We also saw a live deer cross a wide four-lane road - luckily traffic was light at the time, or it might have joined its dead brethren.
We reached the turn-around point on the main road and then it was a mostly downhill run for several miles (and as the person who does our routes, you better believe I planned it this way). I was feeling great but Amy, not so much. She fell behind a bit, and I kept going to our next turn-around point; after I hit that and caught back up to her, she decided to call it and walked back to the park, cutting out going through the fancy neighborhood. So, I ended up doing about half of the run on my own, which was fine. I took a GU at miles 3, 6 and 9 and felt strong the entire time - no lead legs this run, hurray!
As I mentioned in Monday's post, I did do some mental bribery/reward thinking, starting around mile 9. Hey, whatever works, right? I finished strong, and then we headed off to Blue Baker, where I got my usual meal (including a cinnamon twist, yay!) but except for a quarter of a bagel and some chocolate milk, my stomach was having none of it. That's OK - I boxed everything up, took it home, and snacked on it later in the day. As long as I can tolerate getting the chocolate milk down, I figure I'm fine on recovery food - the rest will come in a few hours.
I felt pretty good on Saturday, but Sunday, my body was definitely letting me know I ran 11 miles. Luckily, this season these kinds of aches are just temporary, and by Monday I felt normal again. Just a few more weeks and then? It's race day, eeek!