Despite having an absolutely atrocious 15 mile run out at Mission Creek on Monday I was keen to go back out there for my 16 miler on Saturday. The long runs were maybe a bit close together, but I didn't want to leave the 16 miler for Sunday, I wanted this out of the way before I left Kelowna.
All I can say is...wow...what a difference a few degrees and a couple of clouds in the sky can make. Things felt so much more comfortable out there. Don't get me wrong, it was still warm and muggy, but it felt a million times better out there. I parked my car at the start of the Mission Creek Greenway this time, and right by the Starbucks, so that I would be able to get my hands on that iced latte as soon as I was done running. It was about 6:30 am and there was barely anyone out there. Things were feeling really good too - no weird hip pain this time around. I was just going to do a straight out and back on the greenway. On Monday I had only run through Phase 1 of the greenway - where the trail is nice and flat and wide. This time I'd make it through to Phase 2 where the trail narrows, gets a bit hillier and goes through more forested areas. I arrived at Phase 2 about 6.5 miles in. There was a nice uphill, then past some picnic tables and a garbage can. A bear proof garbage can that warns you to throw all of your garbage away to protect the bears. Seriously...I have no desire to meet a bear while running and any mention of them thoroughly freaks me out. The trail continued to be really quiet, and when I finally saw some people out for a walk I wanted to slow down just to have some company in case a bear did venture out this way. Despite my bear fear this was probably the prettiest part of the whole run as you wound through trees, and across beautiful bridges over the creek. At 7.5 miles in the trail really narrowed and went steeply up a hill and turned into more of a hiking trail. I decided this was a good time to turn around and that I would just make that half mile up later. Apparently I shouldn't ask my brain to do complex math while running. And by complex I mean simple addition and subtraction. When I hit 8 miles I decided to turn around to make that half a mile up, except by that point I'd forgotten it was a half mile and thought it was only a quarter mile. I was then really perplexed as to why the kilometer markings weren't jiving with where I thought I should be mileage wise and I was always off by 0.3 miles. I thought maybe it was my ability to convert between miles and kilometers. Nope, it was my inability to add and subtract. When I reached the bathrooms on the way back I knew it was exactly 4 miles back to the start so I realized the error of my ways and corrected it.
This run felt infinitely better than the 15 miler. My pace picked up on the back half of my run and I truly felt like I could have kept running longer. Except I was back at Starbucks, just out of water, and ready for that latte so I decided I'd just keep it at 16 miles.
As proof that my 15 miler was terrible, and that my 16 miler was amazing:
Time to run 15 miles: 2:57:30
Time to run 16 miles: 2:56:23
One more mile, but over one minute less on my feet.
I will say though, that after running 16 miles a 7.5 hour car ride home is painful. There wasn't enough room to push my seat all the way back (something about the 30 bottles of wine I was hauling home taking up so much space)...plus my dog was really sensitive to the high elevation at some points through the Rockies on the way home so he would nervously push his way forward, then spin around and shake like a leaf on my lap. That run was awesome though and well worth it. I feel mentally ready to tackle the rest of my long runs up to Quebec City next month.