What a great weekend!
If you're following along, then you know the biggest thing going on for me was my 18-mile training run.
I got to bed early on Saturday and fell asleep quickly, but I woke up no less than 4 times during the night. I think that sometimes my brain knows that I'm about to put my body through something tough the next day, and even though I know I can do it, my brain starts to freak out a little bit about it... and wakes me up a lot. It's annoying.
I got up feeling surprisingly ok considering I didn't sleep as well as I would have liked, and I got ready, had some breakfast and headed to the park.
18 miles is a lot... but it really didn't feel so bad. I met up with a local gal I found through our running club's message boards, and she joined me for the first 13 miles. Having company definitely makes the miles go by a bit faster!
We chatted and got to know each other as we moved along between a 9:20 and 9:40 m/m pace. We ended up finishing 13.1 in around 2:06... a little slower than preferred for a half, but faster than I would have gone if I were running alone. She headed home, and I grabbed a new water bottle out of my car. (A tip: if you are going to be back where your car is parked at some point during the run, pack a cooler! It's great to grab COLD drinks in the middle.. and when you finish!) I also got my ipod because I knew I'd need some extra help to push through the last 5 miles.
I tried to tell myself I was only running 2.5 miles. In some ways, lying to myself works. When I got to the turnaround, I paused for about 30 seconds to stretch a bit before telling myself I "only had 2.4 miles to go!" Those last 5 miles ended up being considerably slower, and when I finished the last step of all 18 miles my watch read 2:59:50. I'll take it. That means I'm on track so far with the pace I need to run a 4:20 marathon.
My plan is to run consistent 10-minute miles the whole entire distance on race day, and then if I feel like I can pick it up the last 6 miles I'll go for it. I know if I start faster, I'll lose so much energy that I'll slow down too much and won't reach the overall finish time goal.
The last 5 miles were also a bit challenging because it ended up getting pretty warm before I could finish. I was a hot mess, and you could see all sorts of dry salt on my skin. I decided to stop and grab a bag of ice (the woman who sold it to me kept looking at me funny... they must not get a lot of salty people in there often) and head home to do something I'd never done before: I took an ice bath.
EEK! I've always heard how great an ice bath can be, but I'd always managed just fine without them and never felt a need to try one. When I finished the run, I knew immediately that my legs might not make it to today if I didn't ice them down. So, I poured the ice in the tub (the noise scaring poor Tucker) and filled it with cold water. I grabbed a book and followed some advice I read on another blog (I think it was on Aron's, yes?) by putting on my swimsuit and a sweatshirt.
If the loud noise of the ice hitting the tub didn't scare Tucker enough, my cries as I climbed into the tub certainly did. It took me about a minute of sheer agony before my legs were numb enough that I didn't feel it any more. Tucker eventually worked up the nerve to come in the room and started batting the ice cubs with his paw off the side of the tub.
After climbing out and almost falling down (because oddly enough, ice makes your legs numb enough you can't stand on them) I took a hot shower and climbed into bed. I only napped for about an hour, nervous that if I slept too much it'd be difficult to go to sleep later in the evening.
Today? I'm very aware of my legs... but they don't feel too bad. I won't be running any today, and there is a dull ache every time I get up from my chair. Other than that, they feel pretty good. They feel like the legs of a marathon runner. :)
So only a few more long runs to go. This weekend I'll be running in a half-marathon, and then next week I'll hit the big 2-0 in training. The week after, I intend to run a 22-miler before cutting back a bit. After that, all that's left is my 26.2 mile training run, which I'm conveniently running at a marathon. In some ways, it's definitely a training run for Memphis. However, it's also hard to count in the training run department because I won't have to run it alone or with only 1-2 other people like most training runs. That's exciting!
The rest of my weekend went well. I had dinner with a good friend at Chili's. I watched three movies I'd been wanting to see: Fool's Gold, What Happens in Vegas, and Made of Honor. I cleaned out my closet and will soon be rid of a lot of clothes I don't like/fit in/wear anymore. All in all, it was both a productive and laid back weekend. Just the way I like them.