Last Sunday was my last long training run before the Mini Marathon this weekend. It was gloomy and rainy outside. I went to bed early and also slept in late. Apparently, I needed to catch up on my sleep. However, I woke up feeling groggy, slow, and just out of it. Saturday Bryan and I had a busy day. We went to Costco, Trader Joes, and Whole Foods to get groceries and then had a long swim session at LA Fitness. So I wanted to enjoy being lazy Sunday afternoon.
I’m never hungry right when I wake up but my long training run was looming over me, so I knew I needed to eat. I had a morning zinger juice and scrambled eggs with cheddar cheese and bell peppers. Afterwards I relaxed on my favorite oversized chair couch with Carson and got caught up on trashy t.v. while sipping hot tea (I’m an old lady). Bryan arrived home from masters swim around 2:00pm and my motivation was nonexistent. I was completely in my relaxation zone. With his encouragement, I decided to finally get my running gear on and prepare for a long 11 miles, my longest training run for my upcoming half marathon. In my trance-like state, I envisioned myself struggling and moping around in the rain. “No Melissa. Snap out of it,” I said to myself. Then I got an idea.
I asked Bryan if he would drop me off at 96th St. and the Monon so that I was forced to run all 11 miles. No jumping on the Monon by our apartment and running out and back where I could easily cut my run short if I wanted to. Running would be the only way I could get home. On the drive north from downtown, I started feeling anxious. I quickly downed a water and banana. We had arrived at my drop-off point. I quickly gave Bryan a kiss and said thank you for the drive and support.
There I was at 96th St. and the Monon. It would just be me, my iPod shuffle, and the red line on the Monon for the next 11 miles back downtown. It started misting again and it was a pleasant 60 degrees. And so it began….
Mile 1 – 9:31:39, I’m going to take this slow and easy and just have fun with it. I need to enjoy this time to myself. If I’m not having fun then why do it? I plastered a smile on my face right then and there, this might not be so bad after all.
Mile 2 – 10:03:25, Here we go, feeling a little pain from my shin splint but I didn’t warm- up or stretch. There are a few other brave souls running in the light rain as well. Oooh, water fountain…stop for a quick slurp.
Mile 3 – 9:47:93, Detour. Monon trail closed to Broadripple? Hmmm, time to get adventurous and continue as planned. There was still an opening for me to bypass the construction signs. The Monon was very peaceful. The leaves were green and glistened from the rain, and I was by myself, no other runners.
Mile 4 – 10:04:83, Rough terrain. The Monon was torn up and muddy. It looked as though the city was widening it perhaps. I caught up to an older gentlemen runner, he was going the same direction as me, so it must be safe.
Mile 5 – 10:15:52, Entering Broadipple. Full of walkers, runners, strollers, cyclists, and dogs. Time to start dodging people. Weaving, weaving, and weaving.
Mile 6 – 9:53:43, Finally out of the Broadripple crowds in SoBro. Time for a GU and a stretch.
Mile 7 – 9:42:83, Finally feeling in stride. Well, over half way home and feeling better than the first half of my run. Maybe I’m finally warmed-up, took awhile legs. Better late than never.
Mile 8 – 9:29:33, Fair Grounds. It smelled like someone was grilling outside….hunger central! Water fountain in sight but not turned on….grrrrr.
Mile 9 – 9:32:50, Sketchy. Now running past shady homes and no one else in sight. This is when I wished I had pepper spray on me, or at least my keys that I could jab into an eyeball if necessary.
Mile 10 – 9:18:68, Speed. My legs don’t even feel tired and my breathing is steady. I feel better now than at the beginning of my run. I wish I had this speed the entire run.
Mile 11 – 9:03:60, Race pace. This is what I need to run each mile of the Mini. Doable, I think. Feeling absolutely great! Average pace 9:42, finished in 1:46:46.
This was my favorite training run of the year. I loved every minute of it. It was the perfect temperature, cloudy, and misting. I took the pressure off myself and enjoyed it. It was my version of Sunday Funday, now to be called Sunday Runday. And to think if I kept up with that pace at the end for two more miles, it would have been a PR, not sub 2 hrs, but still a half marathon PR, and it was only a training run. Confidence booster for this weekend.
I also came to the conclusion of my ideal running conditions. Earlier last week, I ran 8 X 400 meter intervals with Bryan and I ran them all between 6:26 and 6:59 pace/mile. Yes it was only for a quarter mile at a time, but that is smoking fast for me. I must have ate my Wheaties. (Eventually I’ll work up to half mile repeats at that pace.) Bryan, true to form, ran 8 X 800 meter intervals at a 5:30 ave pace/mile. The weather conditions that evening were 60 degrees and raining. My interval and 11 mile training run (my two best runs this training season) were both in the same weather conditions. Here’s hoping for 60 degrees and rain this Saturday for the Mini Marathon!