As I was talking with my husband last night, complaining that I'm starting to get bored with my current running routes, since I've done them all so much, we started to brainstorm about my different options. I knew I wanted to do more than 26 miles and that this would be my last really long run before the marathon. I finally decided I would run from our house into Pocatello on the main highway (about 10 miles), then take the road that comes back to our town through the mountains. That meant making a very long climb (another 10 miles), then come down the other side and back home (10 miles). Yep. 30 miles. With a total elevation gain of over 3500'! My husband said, "Uh, you're going to run 30 miles??" Sure, why not. :)
I got my start around 5:45 this morning. I used the Galloway method and did a 4:1 minute run/walk ratio starting from the very beginning, which I maintained for the entire run. The air was cool and there was a decent wind. The first 12 miles flew by. At least it felt like it. My average pace for those first 12 miles, including the walking breaks, was around 11:15 min./mile. After I started the climbing portion of the run, my pace slowed considerably. I kept with the 4 minutes of running, 1 minute walking, but my legs were getting very tired so the running felt like trotting. I tried to take some pictures with my phone to show the massive hills I had to go up, but the pics just didn't do them justice. Sometime soon I am going to go drive the route and try to get some pictures with our regular camera to show you all how crazy this run actually was. It felt like I was going uphill f-o-r-e-v-e-r. I couldn't wait to get to the top, thinking that I could make up some time cruising down the last 10 miles. Unfortunately, my legs were so torn up from going up, that going down was almost just as painful.
See that group of buildings way off in the valley directly above my head? Yeah, I was down there at some point. I'm not even anywhere near the top yet, either.
At around 20 miles, I called my husband who was at home on support stand-by. I needed more water. I carried all four of my hydration belt bottles, but that's only 32 ounces of water. When he finally met up with me, I was parched and exhausted. He had also brought me a little bit of Coke Zero - that hit the spot! Then he left me to forge ahead, though his parting words were: "Call me if you get too tired and are ready to call it good." I said, "I've only gone 20 miles." "Yeah," he said "but it was a super hard 20 miles!" I love him. :)
I just kept going, the downhill did help carry me a little bit, but not much. I was hot, thirsty and my legs were throbbing. By the time I reached 26 miles, I was just glad I made it that far, having kept consistent with my run/walk intervals. So with just about 4 miles to go until I reached my house, I called my husband again and asked him to go to the gas station and get me a fountain drink - Diet Coke - then come find me. By the time he got to me I had gone a total of 27.21 miles with an average pace of 12:38 and I felt pretty happy with that. I was wiped out. I don't know how ultra-marathoners do it! Lots and lots of training, I suppose.
I spent the afternoon with the kids at the pool. It felt good to just float around a bit, but my legs are still aching pretty badly. Hopefully my recovery goes alright. Anyway, it was a fun run. I like adventures.
Tomorrow...the women's Olympic marathon!! I can't wait to watch it.