Yesterday's run was supposed to be my last semi-long run. It ended up being something else: A 20-miler.
Now, I know, I know...before you comment about how this was stupid (It probably was) and with a marathon a little over a week away I should keep the miles down (I probably should), I would like to suggest that this run did more for my mental preparation for the race than it could damage my physical preparation. I ran very successfully on pretty tired legs. I'm more ready than I've ever been.
Ellie had a 17 miler scheduled, so we headed out to the kettles where she would run a 5 mile loop trail, then a 7 mile loop road, then another 5 mile loop trail. She got done with work earlier than me, and as I pulled up to the trailhead parking lotin my car she was just getting done with her first 5 miles. Feeling good so far, she smiled and began "Part 2." Off she went down the road in one direction, and I headed the other. I ran the same 7 mile loop that she did, feeling great the whole way and finishing in 48:03 (6:52 pace). I then ran another 3.2 miles before she returned at 6:30 pace. Despite the hills and the wind, I felt fantastic! I then caught Ellie on the trail loop as she was finishing up her 17 miles (2 miles further than she'd ever covered, and about 4 miles further than she'd ever covered continuously running). With about a mile to go, I could really see the "wheels" coming off for Ellie, but she was a trooper and was ecstatic upon finishing (and NOT faceplanting over a rock or root). I wouldn't trade being with her at that particular moment for anything. She was smiling, proud, and sore. But she had realized she's capable of more than a lot of people thought she was. And the best is yet to come! Now we just need to get her IT Band calmed down.
Ellie headed back into town, and I decided, with my mileage at about 15, that I was still relatively fresh...why not do a couple more miles? I ran a quick out-and-back 5 mile stretch at 6:59 pace.
All in all, I ran a bit over 20 miles in 2:35, with 10 miles at the beginning at sub-7 pace, 5 in the middle with Ellie, and the last 5 miles at sub-7 pace. Now I can taper down, enjoy the anticipation of the marathon, and pray continuously for favorable weather.
This is Wisconsin in mid-May, after all.