Saturday morning meant another long run. My training plan called for ten miles, but I'd already accomplished that. It was time to go above and beyond. I was going back to the Airline Trail for a twelve mile run, longer than anything I've attempted.
Thankfully it was another perfect day. I brought a water bottle filled with Gatorade to carry with me. I resolved to stop for a swig every three miles. I found the starting mile mark at precisely noon and hit the trail.
The first miles were easy. I had no trouble knocking off the first three at a nine minute mile pace. I stopped for my first drink and felt fine.
The next three miles were on a part of the trail that was a little rougher: washed out and slightly uphill. I missed the five mile marker the week before. I had a pretty good idea of where it was this time, so I hit my stop watch as I passed it. It's a good thing I did, because thirteen minutes later I hadn't encountered the six mile marker. I stopped for a drink, turned around, and headed back where I came from.
I was experiencing some discomfort on the way back last week. My feet were sore and tired, and my right inner thigh hurt every time I picked up my foot. Not so this week. I felt strong and determined. My pace was slower, but I was still in the 10-10:30 per mile range. I still had some energy when I passed the ten mile mark. I finished twelve miles in 2 hours 5 minutes. Not bad! Best of all, I felt okay when I walked back to the car during the cool down.
My legs were tired for the rest of the day, but I was far from wrecked. When I woke up the next day I felt stiff, but not too bad. It was another gorgeous day. I could have followed my plan and done 30 minutes of easy running. I had gas in my tank, but I decided to spend it cutting my grass instead.
Next Saturday is the last long run before the race. The plan calls for twelve; I'll go above and beyond again and shoot for 14 miles. If I can do that, I know I'll finish this race in fine style. After that, I start tapering down for the race.
I'm going to hold at this level for a while. I'd like to try a few more half marathons and see how I feel before deciding on my next step. This has been a terrific ten weeks. I doubted whether I'd be able to do this when I started, but those doubts are almost gone.