Tuesday (the day of the 20 miler) we woke up a bit hesitant to open the blinds. They had been calling for rain all day. We were a little worried to see this...We lucked out and actually didn't get a single drop the entire day. But it was icky looking (the perfect day for a long run in hindsight, minus the humidity which I wasn't prepared for). I got up, ate my bagel, drank my caffeinated Diet Pepsi, drove the course with Tom to put out nutrition and came back, turning around as soon as I could so I couldn't think about the slight fear I had of running 20 miles alone.
The run actually went REALLY well. I didn't really look at my pace the entire time and just ran what I could run. I think this is going to be my game day strategy as well on May 3rd. No pace group, no goal pace. Just run what I can run and finish when I finish. I felt really good albeit lonely, even with the hills, until about mile 17.5. At this point, I was outside of the hotel and running straight into a headwind. I knew that the last 2.5 miles would be the hardest because mentally I always check out a little early on long runs and I knew that the penny slots where calling me, but I pushed through. I ended up finishing in 2:54:59!!! I averaged 8:45's for the 20 miles (I did stop my watch at my nutrition stations, but I figured that difficulty of running 20 miles on absolutely deserted roads by myself would be harder than the marathon setting and thus justifying not adding the stoppage time to fend for myself without aid stations! That's what I told myself at least!) I was super thrilled with my pace. My fastest mile was an 8:19 and my slowest was a 9:23. Even my last deadly mile was a 9:08 which I can't complain about at all. I did it! I felt awesome! I finally feel like I'm super ready for the marathon!
I came back to the room, waited about 15 minutes for Tom to walk in from his TOUGH bike (he told me that he didn't hit hills, he hit walls). We showered, blew some money in the casino and then treated ourselves for a fabulous dinner!
Overall, training camp was just what I needed. I'm now in taper mode. Resting and recovering for my potential PR in Cincinnati. I'm anxious to see what kind of time I can post!!!
I'll leave you with two pictures from Easter. Me and the hubs: and then a picture of my awesome grandparents, my beautiful sister and her wonderful hubby with Tom and I.