15 Slow slow miles - watch me not panic

I'm off the step back week (it was nice) and had a long run of at least 14 miles on the schedule for today.  One of my favorite routes ever is just over 15 miles so that's what I picked.

Wake up - I actually woke up before my alarm because I had to poo.  Excellent.  That's actually a really good sign for the run.  I had a pre run breakfast of almond butter and Nutella (breakfast of champions) and got my gear together.  I am the proud owner of new calf compression sleeves but I decided it would be too hot to wear them.  I decided I'm also not that good so it probably wasn't legit for me to have them on.

Get out the door - Out.  It wasn't so hot but it wasn't super cool either.  It was definitely humid.  The sun was starting to come up; I was hopeful that by the end of the run it would burn off some of the humidity.  I was mistaken.

Run! The run was pretty fun, when I wasn't playing mind games.  Lake Harriet was packed as always, including some triathletes out for a morning swim.  I assume they were triathletes because who the hell else goes for an open water swim at 6am?  Lake Calhoun was the speediest part of my day and I had a blast flying around it.  I stopped for a gu along the greenway and then moved right along to Lake Cedar.  This is the second time where I've really felt like I was moving well around Lake Cedar and then I see the lap times and I'm all "it didn't feel that slow".  I have no explanation.  The Cedar Lake/Luce Line trail into town is one of my favorite parts of the who run.  Today I went a little off the beaten path, literally, onto a foot path and got in a 'trail' run too.  Lake of the Isles was more packed with runners than usual and I was glad for the company.  I tried to make my last leg of Calhoun a strong one.  I got slowed down by some stomach cramps.  Good news: one good fart was all it took to put me right.  I tried to go fast on the uphill sections between Calhoun and Harriet, and from Harriet back up to Lyndale. Fast at mile 13 is apparently a relative term.  At least I didn't fall down.  I've done that before.  I tried to take the run back home strong until I got to mile 15, and then I was stopping even if I wasn't home yet.

Stretching   Turns out I was about .6 miles from home when I reached my goal distance.  I used the time to walk and stretch my whole body.  Walk a block.  Stretch something.  Walk a block.  Stretch something.  It worked out pretty well.  I got to see this semi driving up and down the side streets.  I have no explanation.  I took an ice bath at home and then did more stretching after.  This Stretch Routine for Runners video has been really helpful.  I feel like I'm going to explode during the plantar fasciitis stretch.

Let's talk about pace.  I do have a goal marathon pace in mind that's much more challenging than I've ever tried to do in the past.  I'm trying to keep myself honest about the pace when I'm running.  It helps me work harder and stay focused.  Today, only 4 of those 15 miles were at the pace I wanted.  Watch me stay calm.  I never freak out about the first mile.  I figure it's good to learn to slow down since I start off too fast in the race anyway.  But I don't want to make excuses for too many other miles.  I assure you I was rationalizing it plenty during the run.  I had to stop for gu; I thought I had to poo, etc.  I figure I should get less lazy with the gels since I eat those on the run during the race.  The only thing I really forgive myself for are stop lights because those don't happen in the race and there's nothing I can do about them during training.   Miles 13 and 14 both had stop lights.  One was so long I had time to remove the rocks from my shoes.  Been wanting to do that since mile 8. 

I am thinking (hoping really) that the slower pace is not solely a reflection of my fitness level.  Some part of pacing comes from concentration and experience.  It will be easier on race day to have a pacer to follow.  I keeps the pace more consistent which saves energy and it takes the guess work out of my run which saves mental energy.  Fingers crossed.

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