Today was the second long run of my training plan for Illinois Marathon. It was supposed to get in the 50s but when it was actually more mid-30s/low-40s. My stretch goal for my marathon time is 4:15:00, so somewhere near 9:45min race pace. My goal today was to see if I could hold race pace. For some reason I’m not quite sure of though, I chose to run at the State Park, which has some nice hills, uneven trail in a good portion of it, and large sections with either packed or melting snow. So essentially is was a bit of a challenging run.
The first five miles were pretty solid at 9:46-9:56 pace. There were a few hills there but not incredibly steep. Mile 6 had a nice, steep one so I went down to 10:05. My turnaround point was 8 miles due to the path being blocked off (and a nice sign warning hunting was in progress – yikes). Despite some more rolling hills I think I did surprisingly okay with 9:42-9:59 up thru mile 13 (and 9:42 was on the 13th mile!). It got hard after that though. Mile legs just felt so tired.
I was listening to two Another Mother Runner podcasts for the first 12 miles and one of the “best of” selections they played was an interview re mental toughness and so I kept repeating mantras in my head and telling myself I could do this. Miles 13-20 were all over 10, with closer to 11 as I finished. My new goal those last few miles was to finish running. I’m a little disappointed in the run because I couldn’t hold my pace, but I have to remind myself that the conditions are not likely the same as I’ll face on race day and I’ll have race-day momentum in my favor too – hopefully! My overall pace ended up at 10:05 thanks to those early, somewhat faster miles, and that would give me a PR if I could hold for another 6.2, so that’s the takeaway I choose to hold from this run!
And…. after today’s run I hit a new milestone for 2,016 in 2016: 300 miles!