The weather for Saturday was kinda iffy. We had a nasty thunderstorm Friday night that had threatened to hold over until Saturday, but it wouldn't have mattered. There was no chance these feet were gonna see a treadmill on Saturday. It was all pavement for me, rain or shine.
The TnT group was scheduled to meet at 7:30, but with my eldest baseball game on the schedule for 10:45, I decided to get an advance start.
I arrived at the park at 6:15 hoping to get in 5-6 before the group run. At that point, the sun was just at the horizon, the air was cool, with a nice mid-50's breeze. I was off. I felt very strong early, and my 10:36 downhill first mile showed it, but that would not last. At 2 miles, I got to the mall, hoping that the Starbucks was open for a bathroom break. Unfortunately, coffee drinkers would need to head elsewhere and there was little life inside despite the 6:30 opening time on the door. No worries, I was headed back to the park where I knew a bathroom awaited. After a few intentional detours to increase the mileage, I was able get in about 5.5 miles including a run up the last hill, a 350 ft incline over half a mile.
Once the group got under way at 7:40 the sun was up and temps low about 60. Shortly after we started a brief rain shower hit, one of several to muddy up the course. As the miles ticked off, I was keeping an eye on my time, hoping to maintain an overall pace of 12 minutes/mile. If I could do that for the full 20, I'd be very confident in a better than 5:30 finish at Frederick. At 10 miles, I was a few minutes to the good of that pace with 10 to go. At 12, I lost the pace I was hoping for and was surprised to be struggling this early on. Still 8 miles to go. I ran most of the next 2 miles, but from there, it got pretty tough. I ran as much as I could, but at the last two miles, I had nothing left and walked almost the entire length at 17 minutes per mile.
Final tally: 20.00 miles -- 4:27:17 -- 13:22/mile pace.
So, it's done and despite the pace, I know there are some positives here:
- I'm still not 100%. Lingering effects of the cold still kept me pretty snotty through the run. That should be gone soon.
- My ankle ailments seem like a distant memory. 20 consecutive miles with no pain.
- The course is not as hilly as the weekly runs, other than a few significant inclines between mile 16 and 18. Pretty much downhill from there.
- The design of the TNT runs have water stops every 2 miles. These become social calls, which is fine, but it's sometimes easy to relax here. I think I'll lose much less time walking through water stations at the marathon.
- If I had to, I could have gone another 6.2 miles. Not sure how fast, but in the midst of the race with the TNT coaches on the course pushing me along, I'd get it done.
The rest of the day was pretty much recovery. My feet hurt, but not a lot else. I ate. A lot. Dinner was burgers and veggies on the grill, baked potato and two ears of corn. Yeah, baby, a meal fit for a long run day.
Up until 8 this morning, I was thinking about a Sunday ride with my group. It's been pretty sparse since November, my last ride with them. Temps today were just in the upper 40's. My mind kept saying to go, but my body said otherwise. Just muscle aches in my lower extremities. Pretty much from my butt south. Not sure I'd make it a mile. Oh well.
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