Beija Flor ran 22.5 miles on Sunday, And that means I did too. But everyone loves to comment on how amazing it is a dog can run that far. All I can think of is, I only have two legs and I DID IT TOO! She did get an extra scoop of food for her efforts, and maybe a few gummy bears as well.
Sunday was ROUGH. I started a little earlier than my Fleet Feet training group because I had to be in San Francisco that afternoon. I felt good in the morning as I set off counter-clockwise around Lake Natoma (we ran around the lake twice, first counter-clockwise and then clockwise). The steam coming off the water was gorgeous, the colors were amazing, and there were several deer that cheered me on in their sweet but silent way.
Others in the group started catching up with me by mile 3 (Wow, I am a really slow runner!) But it was nice to say hello to the other runners in the group as they passed me. I usually never actually see them since I tend to start in the back of the pack and end there too.
Halfway through the run, when I finished the counter-clockwise loop, there was an aid station set up with pretzels and gummy bears. Thanks Fleet Feet! They may have been the best pretzels and gummy bears I have eaten in my life.
The pain began about mile 18. It wasn't a specific pain, more of a whose-idea-was-this-anyway pain. I started checking my Garmin and noticing whenever a tenth of a mile would go by. Then it was mile 19. Maybe I'll walk up this little hill and I'll be all refreshed for the last two miles. Ok, maybe I'll walk a little further. Then it was mile 20. Oh good, I'll walk while Beija takes a potty break. And while I'm walking, I might as well put some more Glide under my arms.
Then it was mile 21. Wow, I remember it being a little hilly when I started out, but these seem more like mountains. Then it was mile 22. Wait, wasn't this only supposed to be a 22-mile run? Where is that aid station? Um, it must be around the next bend. Uh, HELLO? Aid station, please? When it appeared, at the top of a hill, I could hear the angels singing.
It turned out to be 22.5 miles, according to my Garmin. And clearly, the last four miles were incredibly difficult. Will I have another four in me beyond that on race day? The lesson here may be that I have to really control my pace at the beginning. Go even slower than slow for the first three or four miles on race day so there's enough steam to finish the race strong.
I recently asked someone what a split is, and in runners speak, it means divide the mileage in half. If the time for the first half is about the same as the time for the second half, it's an even split. The goal is a negative split, meaning the second half is run faster than the first half.
Confusing, I know. But having the end be as least painful as possible sounds like a great goal to me.