Another Milestone: 11.6 Miles (and Reconsiderations)

This milestone happened last Saturday (January 7). On that morning I set out to run 11 miles, the next step in my half marathon training. I met with the 8am group at Berry that runs every Saturday morning, but by now I have eschewed trying to stay with any of the various groups, opting instead to do my own thing, because I run best when I can monitor and adjust my own pace, pushing (and pulling back) when I know I’m ready to. Because I forgot to start my Garmin, and was determined to log an “11” on it, I actually ran 11.6 miles, just to be able to see the 11. I’m not competitive or goal-oriented or anything, am I? 🙂

The Viking Trail itself is just 7 miles (3.5 out and 3.5 back), so I knew I would have to add distances on both ends of it. I started out with a perfect 2:1 run/walk pace, and my runs were pacing around 11:30, which is a full minute faster than what I have ever run. Of course, the walking intervals back me down to 12:30-13, but it’s all easier on my body, and I *do* really enjoy the faster running intervals. I ran a couple of extra miles out at the mountain school: beautiful scenery but hilly. But beautiful. Then when I returned to the main campus, I added a couple more flat miles. At about 9 miles, my left foot started hurting, and my feet just started feeling tired. Energy-wise, I was just a little tired; nowhere near hitting the wall, but my feet became my limiting factor.

Which led me to spend the last three miles pondering whether it would be a good idea to actually do the half marathon on the morning of the Heart of the Community ball. Because I am being honored at that ball, and it is the highest honor granted in my town, based on lifetime achievement, I CERTAINLY want to look and feel my best for the entire evening. There is a reception preceding the event, which will require standing, and then there is the black-tie seated dinner, complete with a hilarious roast of each honoree, and then there is over an hour of excellent live dance music, during which I completely intend to be out there kicking up my heels with my kids and friends. I became concerned that if I were to be fatigued from the half marathon, that I would not fully experience the most important celebration of my life. So I decided that the Heart Ball was a good enough excuse to back down, and that I would just do the 10K with the goal of a 10K PR, and do the very next half I could find.

I contacted the Berry race director, asking to change my registration to the 10K, and she replied that I certainly could do that, but why didn’t I wait until closer to the event just to be sure that would really be my choice. I respect her prudence, so that is what I have done. Today I did 5 at Berry (in 20 degree weather), and had a great conversation with Carlton Ulmer about my decision process. He had great insight, and I will cover that in my next blog.

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