Only 28 days to go!
Have you ever had a run that you wished counted toward something official? Even though my training run "counted" toward my marathon training, I am really wishing I could claim it as some sort of half marathon PR.
Today was a step-back long run as I ramp up for my second peak week that starts tomorrow. My training plan had me running 12 miles this morning, while the Team Ortho training groups were running roughly 18 and 11 miles, respectively. Both groups started along the same course, but the half marathoners cut across the Lake Street/Marshall bridge over the Mississippi, whereas the full marathoners ran south to Ford Parkway and turned around. I decided to join the half marathoners and then modify my route slightly to tack on an additional mile.
What I covered on the actual course:
I took off with my new running buddy -- we'll call him V -- who happens to run at exactly the same pace as me. We sort of accidentally met 4 weeks ago when we kept catching up with one another. What baffles me about V is that he does absolutely nothing to monitor his pace. He wears a heart rate monitor and he watches his bests per minute. If his BPM falls below what he thinks is a "good workout," he speeds up a little to nudge it back up. I figure the logic behind this is skewed because as you become more efficient at running, your heart rate doesn't get as high until later on in a workout. It slows during rest, and it does its best to remain slow during exercise. This, however, isn't an issue for V: He doesn't run other than what the training group does. I, on the other hand, run throughout the week and keep a pretty consistent pace. I may not be speedy, but my human metronome kicks in and I can keep going for a long time at the same rhythm. During the training run where we officially met, he kept speeding up, yet I kept catching up.
V and I saw each other this morning as we prepared to take the official group picture for the Team Ortho website. After we took off, he and I chatted about our weeks and talked about how our running (or lack of running, in his case) is going. As I reached the Lake Street bridge where the half marathoners turned off, I wished him good luck with his first attempt at 20 miles. I realized after I got off the bridge on the east side of the Mississippi that I was leading the half marathoners. There was no one in front of me, and the nearest group of runners were just getting on the bridge. It was a cool feeling to be leading the group, and I may have sped up to keep it that way.
From that point on (which was about mile 4), this became a race. My "easy 12-mile run" turned into a "get back to the start before anyone else does." I focused on my form, watched my breathing, tried to keep my eyes on the horizon to mentally prepare for running tangets (hard for me since I always look down, and still hard for me to do today, even with no one around), and passed the water stations I didn't think I needed.
I got back to where we started -- 8.4 miles and roughly 1:10 at this point -- grabbed a cup of water, got a "congratulations, you're the first half marathoner back!" from the assistant race director, then headed north up to the Broadway Street bridge to squeeze in my remaining 3.5 miles. I ended up following the Get Lucky 7k course and turned it into a 4-mile run by cutting a few corners, still shocked that I was keeping up my pace and hadn't even taken any Sports Beans or my PB&J tortilla wrap yet.
As I crossed the Stone Arch Bridge back into downtown Minneapolis from St. Anthony Main, I realized that I was kind of booking it -- at least by my standards I was. I was on track to beat my half marathon time, and picked it up even more. I saw that some half marathoners were back at the starting line at this point, but remembered that they ran 11 while I ran 12.5. It was a good feeling to know that I was able to pick up my pace and run more than an additional mile while others were finishing up -- all while on a training run!
I got back to the starting line and clicked off my Garmin: 1:48:39. I have never run a long run so quickly! That's when I began thinking ... Why couldn't I have done this during my half marathon 2 weekends ago?! That would have been good for a 1:51 or 1:52 race, dang it! Other than the first mile where V and I were separating ourselves from the gaggle of runners, I never went above a 9-minute mile. What a perfect Saturday morning long run. :)
Happy early Mother's Day to all you beautiful mothers out there -- plant, pet, and child mothers alike!
12.4mi splits (1h 48m 39s):
Air Temp: 42F