Coming the day immediately after my eight mile adventure in the woods, I wasn't expecting a fast time, certainly not a PR. It was 38 degrees out when I left home, so I had to bundle up. Met racing fanatics Ryiah and Danni there and chatted a bit at the start. Both of them also said they weren't planning on fast times, Ryiah especially as she had a cold.
The three of us started out together. After completing the first mile in 10:17, though I was enjoying the company, I said that I felt like I wanted to go a bit faster. They said "You go, Julie!" So I took off. I did the two loops around the ballpark, surprising myself that I was running faster than 10 minute pace and really not feeling tired.
On the way back I saw two men with young girls (presumably their daughters), who had quite different coaching styles. One seemed gentle and accommodating; they walked when needed and then resumed running. The other kept telling his young charge to "look ahead, not down at the ground", while she was wheezing very loudly, sounding in distress. It was somewhat disturbing and distracting. But knowing nothing about parenting nor this particular child's history, it's not for me to judge. I eventually passed them.
I pulled up to the finish line in 30:41, for a pace of 9:53/mile; much faster than I expected to go that day. Ryiah and Danni came in a couple of minutes behind me, and Danni surprised herself by setting a PR. I placed 176th out of 267 in the field; 66% is a good placement for me in this club.
After a rest day, today I headed out for my longest run since I was first in marathon training back in the year 2000: Sixteen miles. Farther than I needed to go for the Kaiser Half Marathon on February 3 - I'd already gotten up to 14 miles some weeks before - but I would have to get up to and beyond 26 by June anyway, for the SF Marathon.
I planned a route similar to my 14 mile run, going from Russian Hill to Aquatic Park and Fort Mason, along the Marina and Crissy Field to Fort Point, retracing my steps to Fort Mason then heading through Fisherman's Wharf and out along the Embarcadero to Mission Creek, then back to Fort Mason. I used intervals of five minutes running, one minute walking. My new Garmin's run/walk feature worked well, and it still alerted me when I reached the end of each mile which was helpful.
I deliberately went very slowly the first couple of miles, following Jeff Galloway's advice to pace a long run at least two minutes slower per mile than desired race pace. Thanks to good pacing, by mile 10 I was actually picking up speed, and finally got warm enough to shed my jacket (though I was still cold when running in the shade). I didn't start feeling fatigued until mile 12. My feet were getting a bit sore, but my knees, those all-important levers, were perfectly fine. I wished I'd eaten a more substantial breakfast and/or brought more Clif Shots with me though. I was also running out of water.
After mile 15 I cut out the walking breaks. I was starting to feel a bit wobbly, but I knew the end was in sight. Unfortunately the route I planned had an uphill bit then after miles of flat terrain. Still, when I saw a traffic light up ahead with 8 seconds to go, I managed to pick up enough speed - after running for well over three hours - to sprint across and make it.
My Garmin registered 16 miles a couple of blocks before I'd planned to stop. I ran a bit farther, then finally came to a stop when I saw a bus stop. Then realized it wasn't for the bus I wanted. No matter, I needed to walk a bit to cool down anyway. I walked another block, panting and wheezing a bit, to the correct bus. Collapsed into the seat when it arrived, then needed to walk another 1/2 mile or so home once I got off. Mostly uphill.
The run took over 3 1/2 hours. The average pace was over 13 min/mile. And that's absolutely fine. I finished feeling like I could have run a bit farther if I had to, which is good because I will indeed have to in the course of my marathon training over the next five months. Good pacing is very important. I came home, had some food, and iced my legs down, unpleasant as that felt. Proper recovery is really important too.
Half marathon in three weeks, full marathon in five months! Wish me luck!