This morning I woke up to the alarm at 6:15, took one look out our open bedroom window and went back to sleep. It was around 10 degrees Celcius and raining! I hate to run in the rain (especially to start in the rain) and it clearly wasn’t going to be hot enough to warrant such an early start. At 8:00 when the alarm went off again, it was much more appealing.
I scarfed down my usual oatmeal and banana and hit the streets at 8:45. Meanwhile, hubby drove the car to our usual spot and planted extra water and clothing for me. I wore shorts and a t-shirt and was actually cold for the first few kilometres – haven’t felt that in months! The overcast skies eventually cleared to allow the sun to peak through and I warmed up pretty quickly. Looking back, it was pretty close to an ideal temperature to run in.
So here’s how it went down.
I felt good physically, but found the first stretch pretty overwhelming. I couldn’t get it out of my head that I had to run 30 (THIRTY!) kilometres and that I would be pounding the pavement for the next three hours. It was mentally draining and I JUST.COULD.NOT. stop thinking about the distance. Fortunately, I snapped out of it at 5K when I thought to myself “Hey, I’m one-sixth done!” Before I knew it, I had reached one-fifth and then one-third. At 10K it got easier when I finally felt like I had put a dent in the distance.
The route consisted of an 8K run from home to the park (took a few intentional detours to make it 8), where I would then complete two 11K loops around the usual park. 8+11+11=30. 🙂 I took my first gel when I arrived at the park and switched my t-shirt for a sleeveless at the car.
My average pace around 10K was 5:45; I was surprised and pleased, but worried that I had started too fast and would burn out too soon.
I was still feeling good (great, even) and holding a steady pace. I decided not to slow down because I had found a comfortable rhythm and figured I could always take it back a notch if I started feeling too drained.
A dark cloud rolled in around 15K (half way mark! woohoo!) and it absolutely poured rain for 10 minutes or so. Of course I had just changed in to my only extra shirt. Lovely! I had socks, but decided it just wasn’t worth the trouble to switch them.
I was at 20K before I knew it and thankfully, still felt good. During my last three 20K+ runs, I have had a lot of pain in my hips and hamstring by this point, so I was really pleased to discover that nothing was bothering me. And only 10K to go!
By this point, I had gotten my average pace down to 5:42. I surprised myself by maintaining such a strong pace, especially since I’ve struggled to keep my long runs close to 6:00 most of the summer.
Alright, 10K to go! I took my second gel at 20K and continued moving along steadily. It’s amazing how the third 10K seemed so much less daunting than the first. My mind really can play tricks on me if I let it!
At 24-25K, I started feeling tired. My legs were a little heavier and I had to work harder to keep moving. I didn’t take any walk breaks (although I had told myself I could and would if needed!) but I paused for 10-20 seconds a few times and shook out my legs. They were stiff and I knew I was going to be hurting when I finished. The last 5 kilometres were definitely difficult, knowing how close I was the the end made it a little easier. I imagined myself in the race, approacing the finish line and watching for my friends and family. I had visions of myself pumping my arms in the air as I crossed the line and tears actually welled up in my eyes.
Before long, I could see the car and knew I was almost finished. I could have collapsed in a heap once I stopped, but crawled in to the car and made it home. A freezing cold bath has never felt so good.
Average pace: 5:43/KM
Overall, it was an amazing run and I felt better than I have on a long run since this whole thing started. Yesterday I was dreading the 30K distance, worried I would not be able to finish it and certainly not expecting such a good time. I’m feeling very confident today that I will be able to finish the marathon and maybe with a decent time too.
For now, I have to try to eat something and get ready for a softball game at 7. Thanks for reading my long ramblings. 🙂
PS – One more thing: this also concludes my first ever 60K week!