Weather report: The morning started out warm, with humidity right at 100% - I swear, we haven't been able to catch a break with our long runs in terms of perfect running weather. About half an hour into the run, it started to sprinkle, but luckily the rain didn't last very long. At least it was warm rain? Toward the last couple of miles, a very strong north wind blew in, but thankfully, amazingly, it was at our backs...a true miracle in a runner's world. We finished just as the temperature was dropping a lot, and were back at the park and able to wrap up in blankets and jackets before it got too cold.
The run: It mostly went fine. I tried something new, which was to take a GU right before we started running, just to see if I could get into my running groove faster. I always run on an empty stomach, but thought this might help, and it did - I felt good almost right away in terms of my legs doing what they were supposed to be doing. We chugged right along and suddenly we were at mile 3, which is when we normally fuel up. I didn't feel like it, but I went ahead and took another GU, figuring I shouldn't mess with my normal routine. On and on we ran, and then we hit mile 6, where Coach Kasey and her husband had set up an aid station, complete with Gatorade, water, extra GUs, bananas, and tiny pecan tarts. It was nice to see them and get some encouragement at the halfway point. I added some Gatorade to my water bottle, snagged a GU, which was nice because I was out at that point, and we ran on. I took that GU, still thinking I should keep on the schedule, but that may have been a mistake, because my stomach never felt great after that. I probably should have adjusted my fuel times earlier, like waiting until mile 4 to take my first one. Oh well, this is when you are supposed to figure this out, during a practice run, instead of a race.
We had a mostly downhill run for the next few miles - ahhhh - and then we turned and went into the fancy neighborhood. As renegades who've created our own routes for most of this season, we've only run the shortcut through this neighborhood until now, so Loretta didn't exactly know where she was going...which is notable because she ended up taking the lead! And then, right after our last water stop at mile 10, she really surged ahead of us. Well, me - CC could have kept up with her, but she mostly stayed back with me, as we both watched with amazement while Loretta ran those last two miles like it was nothing, and especially not the last two of twelve miles! This was the woman who got sidelined partway through training last year with a hip stress fracture and had to have surgery and recover from that and then start back from zero...and she's done it. CC kept looking at her and saying to me "she's ready" - and yes, I agree - Loretta is definitely ready for her first half marathon in three weeks! We've watched her transform from someone who battled just a couple of miles to a strong, confident runner and couldn't be more proud of her!
Afterward: We were surprised to receive finisher's medals when we were done - cookie medals! Check out the happy runners:
Me, CC, and Lolo (her running nickname)
Seriously, there was no stopping her on Saturday!
Coach Kasey had some warm pepperoni rolls waiting for us at the park, so I had a couple of them, which meant that when we finally went to Blue Baker for breakfast, I only had coffee and a chocolate milk (but my cinnamon twist came home with me for later). We rehashed our run and enjoyed our accomplishment - for me, although I felt less than great during the last four miles, I kept doing my intervals, didn't do any additional walking, and finished the run, and that's a pretty big deal, STILL, in my little running world.