Woo hoo!! 22 miles, now in my running portfolio, and I would almost venture to say, it was the best run I've had yet! Who knew what a difference it can make to run with someone. The conversation helps the miles slide right by, and I was also pushing a pace that I can't even believe.
We ran the first 22 miles of the Pocatello marathon route. It starts up at the top of a mountainous area, winding down for about 13 miles until we hit the town of Inkom (where I live), then from there it's mostly small, rolling hills on a stretch of old highway until you reach the city of Pocatello. Now, keeping in mind my running partner for the day typically runs an average pace of 8 to 8 1/2 minutes per mile, and my standard pace for my long runs is usually between 12 and 13 minutes per mile, I was a little worried that I would push myself too hard and regret it. We started out running about 10 min./mile pace, and since we were going mostly downhill, I felt good. I did notice I was short of breath most of the time, which I'm not used to when I run alone. Anyway, my friend's technique includes running for 2 miles, then walking for about 30 seconds and doing that pattern the whole time. I haven't tried this method, but I decided to do things her way, considering she runs a 3:40 marathon. Guess what, it's a great method! On the stretches where we were running, I was definitely going faster than I'm used to, and my legs were feeling it, but then at just about the point I would feel my legs would not go anymore, we would slow to a walk for a bit and when we'd start to run again, I'd feel recovered enough to keep going.
I should also say, that as part of my pre-run ritual, when I woke up around 5am (we left on our run around 7:15), I ate 1/2 a banana, one packet of GU, one small piece of a homemade peanut butter and oatmeal bar, drank some water, and took some Imodium. When we reached mile 12 of our run, we were passing by my running partner's house, so we stopped to use the bathroom and refill our water bottles, and at that point my stomach was doing great, but I took two more Imodium just in case. We took off again from there, and I made it the whole way without any stomach cramps at all - yippee!! The last 4 miles, we did walk for a few seconds every mile or so, because I was really feeling tired in my legs, but my companion told me to let her know when we had one 10th of a mile left to go. I was thinking, oh yay...we're going to walk the last 10th of a mile! Wrong! With a tenth of a mile to go, she said: "This is where we sprint!" Yikes. But I had to do it, after all, I didn't want to be the lame wuss, so sprint I did! I've never felt better after a run - exhausted, sweaty, sore legs, but what the heck?! I just ran 22 miles!! And guess what? My average pace when all was said and done = 11:20 min/mile! I finished in 4 hours and 9 minutes, which is amazing, considering I did my 20 miler 2 weeks ago with a finishing time of 4 hours and 6 minutes. Again, I'm amazed with myself. Thank you, Holly, for pushing me and supporting me all the way home! Now I'm ready to enjoy my taper, knowing I've done all I can to prepare for this marathon.