You know you are a runner when you set your alarm earlier on weekends than you do during the week for work. Fortunately you also have the luxury of hitting the snooze a few extra times which I took full advantage of today. It was going to be a a cool morning so I was in no hurry to get up. I eventually did get up and was on the road before 8 for a planned 24 miles.
Since last Saturday's run went so much better than expected, early on I gave serious thoughts to bumping up to 26 and by the time mile 5 had passed I was pretty much committed to the idea. Even though it was warmer, sunnier and windier than it was last week, which was causing me to be 30-40 seconds slower, I felt good and was confident I could do it.
Another run-time decision that I made was to do 3 9 mile loops instead of weaving my way through the streets to get the miles in. I also figured it would break the run up into less segments which would be good for my psyche. After all, 3 loops is less intimidating than 27 miles. Yep, you heard right, 24 turned into 26 which turned into 27. It's that runner's math.
As I approached the end of the first loop I could see a walker in the distance and knew from the shirt that it was Christine in the home stretch of her 5 mile run/walk. This gave me some extra motivation to catch her before she finished up so I picked up the pace a tad. As she was walking I could tell she wasn't very focused on the now and as I caught her I yelled out to use her arms. I damn near scared her to death I think. [I'm also so proud of her because looking at her stats, she ran a mile nonstop for the first time. Kudos!]
Going into the second loop I felt great and was beginning to get ahead of myself as to where I was. Sure I was slower than I wanted to be but the important thing was that I was going to rack up a PB in terms of mileage. What I really should have been doing was accessing my current situation because I was beginning to struggle.
Maybe it was the sun or the wind or the heat or possibly not having a pre-run banana like I did last week but by the time I hit the half way point I was beginning to wear down and by mile 16 I was cooked. These next 10 miles were going to be a hard.
At this point I was trying to convince myself that I need to push through it. The hard miles now will make for easy miles later, blah, blah, blah. This was all well and good but there is a difference between running quality hard miles and suffering through junk miles. As I continued to fade on 17 and into 18 I knew it was time to be smart and cut this run short. If I was dead set on 24, 26 or 27, I could always get out later in the afternoon.
For now, 18.4 miles was going to have to be good enough.