For those of you keeping score at home, I started my 10 miler at 16:15 on Friday. I ran (1:54:22), I ate, I partied (well, it was a somewhat lame attempt at partying as I emptied the Brita pitcher by knocking back all kinds of water, then left early in an attempt to get a few hours of sleep before getting up to run...again...).
On Friday I e-mailed Angry to ask his opinion about my planned 20 miler. I had a group I could run half the distance with on Saturday morning. Would I be doing myself a disservice and not getting my full money's worth if I split my 20 miles up into two runs, separated by a 30 min drive or so? In his opinion, if anything, it might make it tougher as I would risk stiffening up during the break. He advised me to go for it, and so I now had a plan. The group was meeting at 8:30 am and since I wanted their support on the back half of the run, it was going to be an early start for me.
My alarm went off at 5 am on Saturday....I got up, washed my face, ate half a bagel and drank a mug of tea, then was out the door and running by 6 am. Since it was so dark and so early I plotted a 10 mile run around my neighborhood since it would be well lit, clear of snow, and reasonably safe (I hoped). My pace was a bit slower than on Friday night so I realized that getting a full 10 miles in before having to leave for downtown was going to be tough. The other kicker was the blister on the arch of my right foot. This baby formed on my 17 mile run a few weeks ago. I took care of it and it hadn't bothered me until Friday's run when some of the skin decided to come off and rub to form an adjoining blister. I bandaged it up with one of those Band-Aid funky blister bandages but after about 1.5 miles I could tell it wasn't working. As I was running uphill towards 12 Mile Coulee Road I knew I was cutting it close for time so I turned around and finished up with 9 miles (1:49:24). I stopped in at home, tended to my blister, grabbed my bagel and more tea and raced downtown.
I was about 5 minutes late, but luckily the group hadn't left yet. I hadn't run with any of these folks before, and after a combined total of 20 miles in just over 16 hours these folks were all a little too fast for me. I kept up with the back packers, but when they mentioned that they would be turning around at the 3 mile mark I heaved a sigh of relief. Phew...I'd be able to slow down... We were running along the Bow River pathway, and when we reached the pedestrian underpass at Crowchild Trail we continued on the south side of the river - on the pathway that isn't cleared of snow. Our feet were crunching in the snow and one of my running mates comments on how much stronger running in the snow will make my legs, but that snow is zapping the energy out of them and I still have several more miles to go. We hit three miles, my running mates turn around and I run on for a bit, but then opt for a nice long walk break. I can see the front runners up ahead have turned around and are running back towards me. The rest of the group is all turning around save for Instructor S's husband, Kevin, who is running a full 10 miles today. He slows his pace down and we run together and chat. We come across some icy patches on the pathway where you have to hold on to the fence to avoid slipping and falling down. Suddenly we are at Edworthy Park and we turn around back towards Eau Claire. If you turn around at Edworthy it puts you a bit short on the mileage, so Kevin's solution is to run up the hill at the Curling Club to McHugh Bluff, run down to Center Street, across the bridge, then back to Eau Claire. McHugh Bluff is where I did a bunch of my hill training - you gain 152 feet in elevation gain over 0.3 mi. Yowza, that is a way to finish off a run! As we keep going I realize I'm not going to be able to keep up with Kevin's run/walk intervals and my legs are starting to drag. A friend of his runs up to us, they chat, and Kevin asks for permission to run ahead for a bit. Phew...another sigh of relief as I can now slow down a bit more and walk when I need to. Every time I walk it gets harder and harder to get started back up again. My legs are moving not because they want to, but because my brain is ordering them to that they have no choice. I feel like I'm going to slow that I'm almost going backwards (although in reality it isn't that bad...) Somewhere between mile 17 and 18 I fall into the "Bite Me Zone." I'm tired and wondering what on earth I'm doing...this is so hard. I walk for a few minutes, then tell myself that the pity party is over. Time to start running again, so I keep it up all the way to the hill at the Curling Club. There is no possibility of running up this thing unless I want to roll back down so I give myself permission to walk up. When I hit the top I look at the view and realize how close I am. As soon as I reach the Center Street bridge I have 1 mile left to go. A group of runners in front of me are walking and I yell - "on your right!" (as the right side had more room). As I run past them I apologise and tell them that I can't stop now or else I won't get started back up again. I'm back on the pathway and on the home stretch....finishing those 20 miles felt so good!!! I attempted to stretch but my legs were having none of that as they refused to bend that much. I gave up, walked over to Good Earth and grabbed a tea and scone and sat down. I wasn't sure if I would be able to stand up. Luckily the blister didn't cause too much trouble on run #2, but I now have a 4 cm x 3 cm affected zone on my right arch.
11 miles done in 2:16:57.
Or 20 miles in 4:06:21.
Or 30 miles over a 19 hour time period in 6:00:43.
My quads are still slightly sore, but overall my recovery has been better than I expected. That's it for the really long runs now folks, on to taper time!