Spectacularly stupendous! (Yes, I'm being intentionally alliterative. Please forgive me. I'll stop now.)
I had the best run today! I really wasn't expecting too much out of today's run, since I'm just coming off a 22-miler and I figured I'd still be tired from that. But apparently not. In fact, I ran my strongest 16-miler ever today. Not that I've run a whole bunch of them, but I've done three 16 mile runs in the last few months. And today's was by far the best. The data shows it. My previous two 16-milers were done at an average pace of 13:08 and 13:00. Today's 16-miler I ran at an average pace of 11:44. Whoah! That's practically a sprint for me! And when you take a look at my pace for each mile, you'll see that I got progressively faster over the course of the 16 miles. Of course, the first 7 miles were the hilliest. But the more I ran, the better I felt - I got into a groove and just went with the flow.
Why was this run so awesome for me? Well, I can really only think of two things that contributed to my success. First, I didn't have to wear my stupid, annoying, uncomfortable, awful water bottle holder. I've mentioned before that I hate this thing. That's really an understatement. I LOATHE it. It's nothing against this particular water bottle holder. Water bottle belts in general just don't work well for people with big hips and small waists. But I digress... I didn't have to wear it today. For the first time in... well... as long as I've been doing my long runs outdoors. And it felt fabulous to be free of it. FABULOUS! My awesome FAST coach set up water stations along my route, so I was able to to get water every 2-3 miles without having to carry any with me.
Second, the weather was perfect. Well, except for the crazy wind. But it's always crazy windy here, so that's hardly anything new. In fact, I would like to petition Illinois to change their slogan from "Land of Lincoln" to "The Wind Tunnel State". The wind just never stops here. But I digress... the weather, aside from the wind, was beautiful. It was sunny and about 45 -50º. I was comfortable in my capri-length CW-X tights and a short-sleeved shirt.
I can't think of any other reasons for having such a great run today other than those two things - the absence of the water bottle and the perfect weather. Maybe it was just my lucky day. I'm not complaining. I ran my last mile at a sub-10:00 pace. I don't think I've ever done that on a long run during these 5 months of training. I saw a fellow FAST teammate while I was out running, and apparently she saw me toward the end of my run, because she told me "it looked like you were really moving!" That's really saying something, since this particular teammate is a pretty speedy runner (much faster than I could ever dream of being!).
After my run, I went to Panera and got myself an Asiago cheese bagel with sundried tomato cream cheese, and a strawberry smoothie. Then I drove back to Grandview Drive (I always run on Grandview Drive on my long runs) and enjoyed the beautiful view while eating my yummy post-run food. And I got a brilliant idea. Well, maybe not brilliant but definitely COOL. I decided I would take video of Grandview Drive (and Bishop Hill) to share with all of you (especially those of you who don't live in Peoria). So you can experience a small part (just 2 miles) of my awesome run with me! It was not easy trying to hold a video camera (well, iPhone) steady while driving, but I think I did okay. Here's my video. Enjoy!
Peace. Love. Train.