Before I checked the training plan last night, I kept hoping that today’s 17 miler was just that, 17 miles, not the marathon specific long run I knew was coming up soon. After last week’s tough 18 miler and the tough run Thursday, I wasn’t sure I would be able to hold goal pace for 14 miles.
Well, the second marathon specific long run came today. Whether I was ready or not, here it was. Instead of backing down, I decided to go for it and see what happened.
I woke up refreshed and ready to tackle the run. I’m pretty sure the “normal” wake up time of 6am (rather than the 5am wake up that I’ve been “practicing” with this week) helped in that regard.
Once I arrived at the Swamp Rabbit Trail, I started the warm up miles as prescribed, still unsure if I would be able to hold race pace. (This makes me wonder whether I should choose a new race pace or just tell myself to buck up and get it done.)
The first mile or so of the race pace miles was filled with constant adjustments to pace. My internal Garmin is something that needs a lot of work. However, I settled into the proper pace sooner than the first time I attempted a marathon specific long run. I’ll take it.
Just like last time, I found it easier, relatively speaking, to settle into an 8:40-8:50 pace than a 9:00 min pace. I figure, if that’s the pace I try to hold in San Francisco, the hills will help balance everything out. 😉
I’ll admit, around the 8 mile mark I thought about just forgetting about holding race pace and just running the rest as a regular run. I’m not sure why. I wasn’t hurting then, not like I have in the previous two runs. I didn’t give in.
At that exact moment the perfect song came on. (I love being able to talk about the music that I listen to on my runs instead of avoiding all mentions so I won’t get demerits. ;)) I just added four new songs and I think I chose well. This one was “Next to Me” by Emile Sandé. Love it!
The new song helped me pull out of the mental slump and keep pressing forward.
I did stop three times at water fountains so the race pace miles weren’t an unbroken tempo run but it was close.
The last few miles were hard but in a good way. I couldn’t believe that I was almost done already. I kept expecting my music to run out but the additional songs plus the faster pace combined to play the perfect song for the last third of the last race pace mile, Macklemore’s “Can’t Hold Us.” I don’t think there is a more perfect running song. (I also may have put my hands up a few times but I’m not admitting anything.)
Then, almost as if no time had passed at all I finished the race pace miles, walked to eat my last pair of Gu chomps and then finished out the 17 miles in 2 hours and 32 minutes. My average pace was 8:57. I never thought I would see an 8 in front of my long run average pace but it’s here. I’m another step closer to Boston.
San Francisco first though, only five weeks away!