The 20-mile run went really well. What a difference a year makes! My only wish is that I'd have enough time to do one or two more of them, but that's not possible before the Chicago Marathon. So, it's on the plan for the next big race.
I set out my "stuff" the night before. I figured I needed to wake up at 4am, have my coffee to get "cleaned out", hit the road by 5:10 and get on the running path by 6. I would do an hour running alone, 5 miles, then 6 miles with the running group, then off alone again for another 9 miles.
My son lent me his ipod and even set up a "Lora's Running Playlist" for me to use. As he and I listen to the same old rock music, it was pretty easy for him to do, but I was still touched that he put it all together for me.
All went well until I pulled into the parking lot at 6am. It was still dark out, I was the only car there and it was a well-hidden area. My mind fought with itself for a bit.....stay here or move to a better lit area. I was almost out the door when my logical side got the best of me. Like it or not, I'm a chick, and we have to take these precautions......so I moved to the main street for this first hour of running.
The first hour went well...I didn't use the ipod just yet as my mind needed some clearing. I saw only four runners the first half hour. I was a bit creeped out and realized this was stupid to be all alone, but of course I kept on going. By 6:30 the running groups started showing up.
For those of you that haven't see what goes on here in Chicago, it's pretty amazing. There are 3 or 4 main organizations that have running groups specifically to train runners for the Chicago Marathon. The largest is CARA, Chicago Area Runners Association. There are about 25 runners in their packs, lead by a pace leader in a special tanktop advertising the group. Pace groups run from 7:00 thru 12:00, so just imagine six of these, 25 runners deep, times 4 different programs and you can figure how packed up the lakefront can be. Of course add the "regular" people out there not in a paid-for program, along with the bikers, walkers, dog walkers and you have a good visual.
I ran back to my car, moved it to the other parking lot, which is closer to my group, changed my top (to my advertised tanktop), refilled my water bottle, forced down the frosting-tasting Gu, gulped down water, and off I went.
There were only two people in my group....hmmmm, the rest must be slacking since it was only a 6-miler. But these two were the ones showing up every week, a brother and sister, who both seemed to be naturals at listening to their bodies and keeping their pace based on that info. I was proud of them for being there. I've watched both of them increase their endurance and speed thruout these weeks and I must say, it's a great feeling to know that they will accomplish their final goal next Sunday.
We kept a comfy 12:00 pace for most of the 6-miles, with the brother taking off a bit at the end. Ahhhh, he has some extra energy he has yet to tap into. I predict he will do better at the race then he even imagines.
We got back to the start, said our goodbyes, and back I went to my car to refill my water bottle, change my top again, gulp down another Gu with water and get the ipod ready to go.
Off I went. I was heading out for 4.5 miles, then turning around back to my car. I got a real kick out of hearing the songs my son picked for me, Respect, Yellow Submarine, (I'll fill more in as I remember them--damn this early dementia) and I realized how great it is to run with music. That's right......this was my first time. In all these years of running I've just gone with my thoughts and the sounds of Mother Nature. Not a bad thing, but for long runs, it sure does help to have some assistance when you're alone.
I continued the 12:00 pace and soon hit the asphalt area. Most of the lakefront is trails, and I wore my Montrails which made my feet very happy. But hitting that asphalt for the 5 miles basically just sucked. My shins were aching a bit and I had to stop a few times for a good stretch.
Unfortunately at around mile 15, the ipod shut off. Or rather, I couldnt hear the music anymore, the screen was still on. I couldnt figure out what the problem was, so I just keep plugging along. Then, at around mile 17, my garmin died! The battery recharging gods were not my friends today.
As I continued on, I realized how much stronger I felt from the last time I did a 20-miler (a year ago). I was in agony then, and walked a lot. This time, I was achy, but that was it. By mile 19, the agony hit, but I had the experience to make it thru with mind games and basically just ignoring it.
Here are the breakdown of my miles as requested by Neese (just for you Sweetie!):
Mile 13......13:18 -- walked & stretched
I'm happy with my times. I got home, showered (there is nothing so wonderful in this world as a hot shower after a looooong run) hit the pillow for 2 hrs, got up and then iced my legs.
I'm off to my girlfriends home for dinner. Happy New Year to all the Jewish bloggers out there. May this year bring you all good health and happiness.....and a few good PR's!!