Sometimes there are days when I run when all I want to do is stop and take a nap. Sometimes there are days when I run that all I think about is pancakes. Sometimes there are days when I run and the weather and other variables are perfect for a long run and I feel amazing. Today is one of those days. It was absolutely gorgeous outside today and it provided the perfect weather for running the Tidewater Striders Winter Distance Series 20 miler fly by! It was 65 and sunny out by the time I finished the 20 miler, and I couldn’t have been happier to be running in my capris and short sleeves! No gloves. No hat. No ear covers. No three or four layers and a coat. No long socks. My skin was bared on my arms, legs, and face, and I was certainly sunkissed by the time I was done today.
I started off the race as Coach suggested at a 9:30 pace, and quickly picked it up as I chatted with Madelyn while I ran for the first 7 miles. As we rounded the first turn around point, we slowed, but only slightly, and continued our chatter and even pace for a while. Madelyn dropped back about mile 11, and I was on my own to maintain my goal marathon pace of 9:43 or less. I was able to maintain this pace or under for the remaining 9 miles. Let me say that again. I was able to maintain my marathon goal pace of 9:43 or less for the remaining 9 miles. And as I sprinted the last quarter mile into the finish line, I thought to myself “I could have run another 10k today, and held that pace.” I am thankful for my new found pacing buddies Jess and Wayne who caught up to me with 5.5 miles to go and ran me in to the finish today. It’s always easier to do any distance with company!
I felt amazing today. Did I get tight or tense? Sure. What runner doesn’t when they run 20 miles? Did I let it get to me? No. At a few different points as I approached the second turn around, I felt my right calf muscle trying to charlie horse, but I ignored it, and ran through it. It went away as the miles ticked away. It amazes me what you can overcome if you just set your mind to it. I feel like the VIFL this past weekend was the opportunity to hit my reset button on speed. I missed running fast, and was feeling lethargic and overwhelmed by running the long distances at the slower than normal paces. I understand the why behind what Coach has me doing, but it’s not always fun to run at 10:30 when your natural inclination is to run a 9:00 minute mile. It’s amazing how training differently for the Shamrock Marathon than how I did for the Richmond Marathon has changed my ability to maintain pace in a positive way. I really, truly feel I am ready for Shamrock, and that my goal of 4:15 is not out of my grasp.
I rocked today’s 20 miler by finishing in 3:16:00:67 with an average of 9:48 minute miles. It was a huge PR from my last 20 miler prior to Richmond that I ran in 3:44:02. That’s a 28 minute PR. That’s huge! And I am super stoked to have been able to achieve it! Shamrock, here I come!
Live. Love. RUN. Passionately!