After a week of not feeling so hot I was so psyched to be feeling better on Friday and looking forward to my long run on Sunday. Well I forgot that one member of our household still hadn't been hit by the bug...Yup! Friday night just after I put her down Mia started puking and puking and puking. Of course Joe was away so I was on my own to tend to her, clean up the messes and continuously wash everything. I think by Saturday morning every pillow, blanket, sheet, and towel in our house had been washed. Luckily she was feeling better by Saturday afternoon so I didn't have to cancel my plans to meet the girls for my 18 miler Sunday morning.
My friend Tami had planned a route out by where she lives for a group of us to run. Tami lives on a mountain and told us it would be a hilly run but I had no idea what I was in for. This was one of those cases where ignorance is bliss. If I had known going into it what these hills were like I don't think it would have helped me.
We started the run on a pretty steep uphill. Tami kept assuring us that this was the worst hill of the run, and we would be coming up on a nice downhill soon. It was so long!!! I could not catch my breath, I think because it was the beginning of the run and I hadn't gotten into a steady pace yet. I was getting nervous. I kept thinking about last weeks 17 miler and how I feel apart near the end after a good start. If this is how I was starting out, how would I last 18 miles. Tami was right though, once we got over that hill there was a nice downhill and I started to fall into a rhythm. The rest of the run was pretty hilly- big freakin' hill but none were as bad or as long as that one. We all chatted away and before we knew it we were finished with the first 11 mile loop. We refilled our water and headed out for the final 7 mile loop. This loop was not as challenging hill-wise but by this point we were all starting to get a little tired so there were a few hills in there that felt like they could have been comparable to the first one even though they weren't.
We all finished strong at 2:58 with a 9:54 pace! My training plan had me running my 18 miler at a 9:52 pace which is slower than my marathon goal pace. I'm really happy that I was able to complete this particular run so close to what the plan called for because no where in the plan does it say to run your 18 miler on a freakin' mountain! I felt really tired and tight after the run but I came home and stretched and used my foam roller. My legs felt much better after that. I took my scheduled rest day yesterday which I definitely needed because I was still very tired but my muscles felt pretty good. Tonight I was able to run 5 miles on the treadmill with no problem at all.
After what happened at the end of my 17 miler this 18 miler was a huge confidence booster. If I can run strong and steady on hills like that I can run my marathon goal pace on a flat course like New Jersey!