Call me crazy, but I love getting up early on a Saturday morning to knock out two hours of running before my family wakes up. I like to call my husband minutes after he and the girls have rolled out of bed so I can gloat, I mean, so I can amaze him with the fact that I’ve just run 13 miles while he slept. He’s an excellent sport and he strokes my ego with the appropriate murmurings of how I’m insane (in a good way).
It did seem a little insane even to me when I left the house at 5:45 a.m. and the skyline looked like this:
I drove out to the Santa Ana River Trail and by the time I got out there, the sky had lightened considerably:
Saturday’s scheduled long run called for 12 miles at a 9:51 pace. The last time I ran 12 miles on the Santa Ana River Trail, our half marathon training group celebrated that group milestone with a post-run potluck breakfast. There would be no such feast after this run, but I was lucky enough to have something just as fun to look forward to. My former half marathon coach and now friend Stephanie generously offered to meet me at mile six to refuel me with a sports drink and some wonderful company for the last six miles of the run. Right on time, she met me on the trail and I didn’t even have to break stride as she helped me refill my sports bottle. What’s more, she offered a choice of homemade organic juice sports drink, or Gatorade! Give me organic homemade any day!
Wait a minute, let me interrupt, the training plan called for 12 miles at 9:51, but the title of this post says “13 Miles of Running Fun.” Yes, I had such fun chatting away with Stephanie that I forgot to keep track of the mileage. Good thing Stephanie spoke up or we could have ended up at the beach! (Not quite, but I felt so good I’d like to think I could have run all the way to Huntington). I also felt so great that I pushed the pace and finished the 13 miles at an average pace of 9:23 in just over 2 hours. Stephanie is a good sport to run an extra mile and faster than advertised. Plus she let me pick her running coach brain on the latest thoughts about dynamic warmups and ways to maintain good posture and form on the run. Who knew that the ladies can remind themselves to tighten their core by doing a few secretive Kegel exercises on the run?! I need all the posture and form reminders I can get. By the end of a race I am quite the hunchback. I might think my core is tight, my head is up, my shoulders are back and down, and my chin is in line with my chest, but the finish line photos prove otherwise!
The most valuable thing I got out of this run, though, was the encouragement from someone I respect. If Stephanie thinks I look good at this point in my marathon training, I believe her and that makes me all the more excited about increasing the mileage over the coming weeks. So, Stephanie, about that 18-miler coming up…. I promise I won’t make it 19 if you’ll meet me for another 6! 😉