After a sub-par running week (after Monday's 15-miler, only a short tempo run Tuesday and 1.5 miles Friday) and standing around while administering the SAT yesterday, I did not have high hopes for today's run. It had to happen after church because that is the little one's nap time, but I'm not as fresh and it's hard to know what to eat.
We went to the car wash (James' new favorite thing) immediately after church, and the line was so long that I trekked through the mulch and down a hill (in my church shoes) to buy a burrito at Taco Bell- dangerous before a long run, I know, but it was close by and I was starving!
I explain all of that because this was an awesome run. I started of under at 8:50 pace and never looked back. I put in a few speedy miles but realized I wasn't slowing down enough in between to not die at the end. So my 12-miler turned into a great tempo run. The pace fluctuated between 8:20 and 8:30 most of the time. The last mile was right at 7:30, and I still felt good. It was 40 degrees, and after the wind, snow, ice, and frigid temperatures of the last few weeks, this was teeshirt weather. The sun was shining, there was no wind, and the Greenway wasn't an ice-packed obstacle course. I didn't feel hungry like the last time I tried to run long after lunch. There were lots of other runners, walkers, and bikers around, too, and I love to wave to people. It breaks up the monotony.
The other momentous part of this run was that it was my first long run with music! My little blue iPod shuffle kept me motivated, but I might have been singing along to songs without being able to hear the volume or pitch of what was coming out of my mouth. Oh well...
Long story short- It was a good run and I know that music kept me from getting bored. It made me pick up the pace, but I could handle it. This was big confidence booster for the marathon. If I can run 12 miles at marathon pace now, I think I'll be able to run 26.2 at that pace in March. I'd never run more than six miles at race pace before the last one, and it exceeded my expectations. Bring it on!