I adjusted my running this week since the "race" was Monday. I just moved everything back one day and after today's long run, I am back on track.
Friday I had an easy 3 miles on the menu. I wore my Asics support shoes which feel like clown shoes, pushed pretty hard and still came in at a slow 26 minutes. I have learned to stick with my Kayanos when it matters.
Saturday I got up at 500 to join my friend Kit who was driving over to Titusville so her two high schoolers could run in the first cross country meet of the year. After hanging around the program since 1999 I am a veteran and now an alumni parent. It was fun to watch all the kids race and not have the anxiety of worrying about how one of mine performed.
After the races we were treated to the sight, roar and ground shaking of the shuttle Atlantis taking off from the cape just 10 miles away. It was a clear day and we could see the ship distinctly for a few seconds. It was cool.
Today's long run was to be 18 miles. I planned. I went to bed early. I took it seriously.
For a warm up I left the house at 545 and planted a cooler with Powerade and water behind a wall where weekend runners usually stop for breaks. I took a four mile jaunt down through Baldwin Park and back, had a sip of Powerade and jogged up to downtown Winter Park to meet the Sunday morning 700 crowd.
On the way over I stopped at the college for some water and a Gu pack. I arrived a little early at Park Avenue but it did not have an adverse effect when we did start running. I was joined by Dave, Jill, Chris, Jack and Ed. There were at least a dozen other runners milling about either finishing, refreshing or starting like some of my mates.
I kept to the slow pace the group set so we could chat a few miles. At the 4 mile water stop I had some Gatorade with everyone else. When we restarted we went down through a glen of cooler air. It was slightly down hill too. My legs just started churning and I pulled away from the group. I went another mile and hit a water cooler for a second Gu. Everyone was still behind me.
Dave caught me about a mile later and passed. A few other runners came up on me but none others from my group. I was flat out pushing with no effort. At the seventh mile of the 10 mile loop I caught up to the four people who passed me. We all commented on the heat and I had some Powerade from my cooler.
I was the rabbit and was the first to move on. I was feeling so good I did not want to slip into a slower pace with tight calves. I kept ahead of all of them for another mile or more before they passed me again. I was happy to be their pacer to catch.
I made it to the 10 mile loop finish and then jogged home to finish my 18. There was no stopping, walking or cramping. It seems I did very well with the Gu, energy drinks and water. When I got home I enjoyed a Cliff bar and bottle of water while cooling off in the pool.
It was a very satisfying 18 miler, covered in 2:54. [I'm gunning for you Michelle!]