It is always good to have a plan B!
Early this morning, I made a realization: there was no way that my long run (the plan called for 12 miles) was going to happen on Saturday morning, as I'd planned. My husband is leaving at 8 AM to help my parents move, and then he's headed out for a weekend fishing trip with a friend. I could get up at 6 AM to run... but I have Hunter this weekend, and his caregiver isn't coming until 9 AM. She worked a 12-hour day with him today, so there was no way I was going to ask her to come at 6 AM so I could run.
Enter plan B. I did my 12 mile run tonight. It took a bit of planning, as Joey had soccer practice and of course there were the other 3 kids, but I figured it out and set out at 5:45 PM for my run. I don't think I have ever done a long run in the evening. I know for a fact that 12 miles is my second-longest run ever; the only time I have ever ran further was when I ran my first half-marathon back in May.
I wasn't afraid of the 12 miles... what scared me was the caveat: I was supposed to run the "middle 4" miles at race-pace. "Middle four" is a somewhat ambiguous term; in the book Train Like a Mother, the authors say that any four miles in the middle would do just fine. However, for a negative-splitter like yours truly, I knew that ANY four miles at that quick of a pace in the middle of a long run were not going to be easy for me. Then there was the question of what was my race-pace? For a 5K, it's sub-8:00 miles, but that wasn't happening tonight LOL! A friend told me that it was race-pace for my goal race, which of course is the half marathon in October. According to the McMillan Running Calculator, my 24:26 5K PR translates into a 1:53 half marathon, a full SEVEN MINUTES faster than my half-marathon PR. Say what?!!
That's an 8:37/mile pace. I knew that was going to be near-impossible to hit for four miles, so I decided to try to get around 8:50/mile, which would be a 1:55 half. I am cool with that time.
I decided I would start out nice and easy, and then hit my race-pace at either mile 4 or 5. I procrastinated a bit and mile 6 it was. I had taken a GU at mile 3.5, so I felt pretty good starting mile 6, even though I didn't quite hit my pace (8:56). Felt even better the next mile (8:39). Mile 8 was almost entirely downhill, so my 8:29 was a bit inflated. I took another GU at mile 7.6, feeling great and ready to rock mile 9 (my final race-pace mile). However, I quickly started to have trouble controlling my breathing. Because of this, at mile 8.4 I had to do something that I have never done on a long run: stop. I just totally stopped. I almost cried. I just couldn't breathe. My heart was racing, and I was worried that I wasn't going to be able to get home. I took about a minute to get my breathing under control, and then I finished out mile 9 (8:51). I took another breather after I finished mile 9 to restart my music (I always forget that the "shuffle" mode on my playlist doesn't repeat automatically), and then finished up the final 3 miles. I wanted to walk sooooo badly on those final 3 miles. I was tired beyond belief. I didn't think I was going to make it home, I truly didn't. I still don't know how I did, but here I am. Splits...
So, what was it about tonight? I have come up with numerous
1. It was a night run, and I was tired from a busy day taking care of my kids. Also, as I mentioned, I don't typically do night runs (especially for long runs).
2. I had dinner at 3:45 PM, and ran at 5:45 PM. Since I don't typically run at night, I wasn't sure when to eat, what to eat, or how much. I don't think my chicken and mashed potatoes settled as well as I had thought they would.
3. The delicious Salted Caramel GU with added caffeine... I really do feel this messed me up. I have never had a GU with caffeine before. I am really not a huge caffeine drinker... maybe one can of soda a day, but that's it. No tea, coffee, energy drinks, etc. Lesson learned: no more GU's with caffeine!
4. I had Gatorade in one of my two water bottles tonight. I think I should water down the Gatorade if I take it again. It was too much for me; I found myself just wanting water. I had planned on using a Nuun hydration tablet in my water, but I tried a sip before I left and it was GROSS, so Gatorade it was.
Whatever the reason, this run was super hard for me. However, when I look at my final time, I think I know why. It was a 1:52. That is fast. If I had run 13.1 miles, I likely would have gone around a 2:02-2:03. As I mentioned, my PR is a 2:00, so I clearly was working it.
If I had taken a picture of myself, this is what it would have looked like.
I am so very thankful that I am not running again till Monday night, and that next week's long run is only 10 miles, with no caveats :) For my plan B, I think tomorrow will be total rest day (with a ton of foam rolling of course), cross-train on Sunday, and then run on Monday.
Oh, I did do the two challenges today (55 squats and a 20-second plank) this afternoon. I like the structure of the challenges. Let's see if I am still saying that in a week when they get hard ;)