The morning did not start off well. Instead of waking up at 5:00 am like I'd planned, I silenced my alarm a few times and did not wake up until 6:00 a.m. This is not such a good thing when I have to be on a run by 6:30, and I'm tired and not moving at full speed. I fed Cody, Lollie, Merlin, and the cats, got dressed, had some water and a banana, and was out the door by 6:25. However, it takes about 10 minutes to get to my run start, so I was late. I was hoping the team would have left late, but apparently they're more punctual than I am. They were nowhere in sight.
I started running the scheduled route with the hopes of catching up with my group, and I was joined by a coach from the half-marathon training team, so I had someone to chat with. I figured my average pace on a good day is about 9:45/mi and on a bad day is closer to 11:00/mi, and some people on my team have an average of over 12:00/mi. Depending on exactly when they left, I should hopefully catch up to the back of my team by the S.A.G. team at the halfway point. Well, apparently yesterday was a good day. I was running about a 9:45-10:00 mile, and I caught up with the back of my team within a mile. However, the people I usually run with were a little farther ahead, so I had some more running to do.
At one point, my route intersected with an intermediate team, and I had a bit of a panic attack. Surely the runners on this team would recognize that I was an imposter. I would be too slow or awkward, or, I don't know, a big light would come on over my head saying, "THIS IS NOT YOUR TEAM! GET OUT!" Imagine my surprise when no one asked me which team I was actually from. Imagine my even bigger surprise when I realized that I was not only keeping up with the team, I was passing quite a few! Sure, I was running faster than I often do, but the run felt good, and I had no intentions of slowing down.
Right around the half way point I hit the main group of my team. I saw them up ahead, and I charged a little harder because I knew I was close. Finally, I ran into some of the girls I normally run with. Hurrah! I was back with my people! I slowed down a little and relaxed into running and chatting with them. Then we hit the hills.
The run yesterday was beautiful, but it was full of long, steep hills. People must have thought I was praying really hard, because I kept exhaling, "Sweet Jesus!" It was exhausting, and if you look at my times at that point you can see a clear time difference. Still, we made it through those hills continued on.
Once we were past the hills, the run should have been easier, but by this point I was tired. I was feeling particularly fatigued when we reached a local park. On the other side of the park is the Cathedral, and the view was one that I don't often get. Seeing it from the angle I did, bright and early on a Saturday morning was amazing. I continued on.
By the time I reached the end of the run I was tired. Nine miles is the longest I've ever run (I'll be saying that a lot from here on out), and I felt it. All in all, I did take 2-3 short walk breaks to catch my breath, but I think that's OK. I also really enjoyed the S.A.G. stops. Oh, and I thoroughly enjoyed the fuel belt Hans got me last week. It very much came in handy. Next week is 10 miles, and in a few weeks I'll be running my first half marathon. Wow! I'm excited!
|Me at the end of nine miles...lookin' like a runner!|