That’s right, today I ran 26km. Not only did I do my longest distance ever, I ran it at a good pace. My final average pace was 5:56 min/km. For a very large chunk of the run I was averaging 5:51. When I hit the 21.1 mark I was only a little more than two minutes slower than my race times for the half marathons I did in spring. I did stop for a quick bathroom break at that point, my only break (for which I did not keep my watch turned on so the break is not counted in the final time) then started again albeit at a slower pace for the last 5k.
So basically today I threw all the training suggestions out the window. No planned walk breaks, no really slow pace. I ran the way I felt I wanted to run, not what the book is telling me. I kept an eye on my pace, mostly to ensure I didn’t go too fast since I can’t seem to gauge it myself, but I didn’t even look at the distance until after 12k. I figured there was no point in knowing how far I had gone since there was so much ground to cover.
The course I ran also helped I think. I took the Ottawa River Pathway from Andrew Hayden Park to the War Museum and back. While I am always content to run on my own, it was fun to see so many other runners, not to mention bikers enjoying the beautiful morning. There were no huge hills, though plenty of small rolling grade changes. While it was a very sunny morning my early start and the breeze off the river helped keep me cool. I think the straight out and back run made it an easier run mentally compared to my last few runs in the small towns of Fitzroy and Maniwaki. I didn’t have to constantly find loops to run to try to gain mileage. When I recently mentioned to a friend that I had run 19k in Fitzroy, she looked at me and asked, “What did you do, run around it 19 times???” Small towns and long runs are not the best combination.
I know my break from the training manual will mean more recovery time needed. But the thing is, when I try to follow the suggested times and walk breaks I have crappy runs. Then I have to recover not only physically but mentally. Right now I may be tired and sore but I also feel happy with my run. I will admit that at the end of the run I wasn’t sure if I would laugh or cry. I really didn’t have anything left at the end of the run and again I suppose you are not supposed to be at that point at the end of your long slow run. But the fact is I had the first long run that I felt good about in a while. It wasn’t just a “well I got through it” run. It was an “I am a runner and I can do this, not matter how hard” run.
Final stats: 26.03km 2:34:32