Plans were made, and I knew that a couple of people would be showing up. I was a little nervous about it. I had said I run between 10-11 minute miles when I run the hills of Percy Warner, and some of these other folks said that sounded like a great pace... but I didn't know any of them and couldn't help be a little afraid that everyone who showed would be way faster than me. The whole idea was that I didn't want to run alone.
I was surprised when I got there to find that at least 20 people decided to come out! Not everyone was running the full 16 miles we had planned a course for, but still... all that because I made a little post about needing to run and wanting company.
It ended up that within the first mile I settled into a comfortable pace right next to another gal, Melissa. We ended up running and talking the whole time. It's nice when you run a long run with someone new because you don't know anything about each other and can usually find plenty to talk about. Her husband Jeff was out there as well, and he'd circle back from time to time to check in. We also ended up running at times near a couple of other guys, Dallas and Chris. (Thanks for saying hi, Chris, and for sharing that you read the blog. Hi there!)
I was blown away when Melissa told me about halfway through that we'd be running a 9:50-10:00 pace. We also were totally pushing to run up the hills. I didn't walk at all until a steep hill in the last couple of miles. AND we talked pretty much the whole time.
It was definitely a great workout, and it was fun to meet some new people. I've started running with the East Nasty group as well on Wednesdays and plan to keep doing that. I didn't really get to have a good experience there this week, but I'm hopeful to have more fun in the coming weeks. (Long story I'm not sharing on the blog.) There are a lot of people my age in that group, and everyone hits up 3 Crow Bar after... so that should be a fun part of each week. I really love the social aspect running, and it's time for me to be more proactive about meeting people through it.
The 16 miles we ran yesterday are pretty much the first 16 miles of the Monkey marathon. It definitely helped me prepare for the race. Not only did I get excellent hill training on the actual race hills, I also figured out that I probably need to start with an 11:00 minute mile pace. When I finished 16 yesterday, I could have kept going but there's no way I could have kept at the 10:00 minute mile pace. And I may let myself walk up the steeper hills instead of pushing up them. No sense trying to be an overachiever on race day.
I'm also wondering what I've gotten myself into. 10 more miles out there will be TOUGH. But I'm looking forward to it.
Easier running week this week, and then I pick it up again next week. That marathon will be here before I know it.