This week is going to be a busy week with all of the pre-race posts I have planned ahead of Saturday's 5K showdown with my brother Danny. I definitely want you to stick around this week for the posts I have planned, some days might feature multiple posts as well since I won't be able to fit everything in otherwise.
So I felt I had to blog about Sunday's 14-mile run before it gets lost in the shuffle.
It seems a lot of runs I go on are confidence-boosters. Every time I met a new milestone, it was something to be proud of and learn from. Now that I won't have any new milestones in terms of distances unless I run an ultra, I am still gaining confidence from long runs. Sunday was one such run.
I showed up a little before 6:30 a.m. on Sunday to run with my fellow Lopers, expecting for 12 miles. I had prepared for 12 miles, both mentally and physically. I had brought two of my four fuel belt bottles, brought two Gu packets and was set for 12 miles. So I was a bit surprised when I was told we'd be running 15.
Not that I was necessarily worried about the distance. I had run about 13 miles during the week, not a ton but enough to feel confident that I was prepared to run that much. Still, there's a big difference between 12 and 15, and I wasn't sure how good it would go. After all, I hadn't run more than 10 miles since Surf City, just ran 10 miles once since then.
Early on, I felt strong. There were about nine of us, and unfortunately one of our pace leaders hit the wall at about Mile 4 due to a lingering injury. Another pace leader was with our group, the 10:30 pace leader, so of course I'd be running a bit faster than I was used to. Still, I was looking forward to it since I am considering moving up to that pace group for next year anyway.
For some reason, our group wasn't particularly chatty. I think that had to do with most of the others' upcoming races: all but me and another runner were training for the LA Marathon. We had no particular reason to run other than we're runners and that's what we do on Sundays. We both would have been fine with 10-12, but we were both okay with running more.
At about the Mile 10 mark, our group was a bit confused. Two runners wanted to go back one way, and anothre wanted to go a different way to shave off a mile and finish at 14. The rest of us (our group had whittled down to six by that point) were fine with 14 so we zigged while the others zagged.
I wasn't questioning myself at any time during my run. Our pace was faster than usual but I was fine. I felt strong the whole time, so much so that I went on pretty much an all-out sprint the final .25 or .3 miles or so, I don't know the exact distance. My legs wanted to churn and I wasn't about to get in their way. I hit top speed, kept it there, rounded a corner and sprinted across the finish line. Okay, there was no real finish line necessarily, but the place where we end all of our runs is sort of a finish line.
I got through 14 miles in about 2:25, which is roughly a 10:25 pace or thereabouts. I took a nap on Sunday but otherwise felt no lingering effects and while I didn't run on Monday I know I could have done so and felt just fine. From start to finish I felt strong and with the recent string of great midweek runs I've had recently I'm fairly confident and excited about the direction I'm taking with my post-marathon runs.
It's runs like these that let me know I'm doing things right and that I have taken the next step in my development as a runner. I know Surf City probably affirmed as much but it's the training runs that also reveal things about you as a runner, and I'm quite enthused what Sunday's run showed me.