I ran an easy 5.5 miles on Thursday night in Cabin John (making it 15.5 for the day) and then an easy 8 the next morning before work. I was feeling good. The running is boring, but sometimes that's what it takes.
On Saturday Karl and I drove to Lake Needwood. We explored new trails and at one point I ran with a frog in my hand for a quarter mile. Due to all the stops it took us about 7 hours to run 10 miles. At the least the pace was easy.
On Sunday I drove up to Edward's Ferry for a chance to run the now infamous "Duel Ferries" loop...twice. Although I've made the trek to Poolesville two time this spring, I've yet to attempt the 20-mile distance. My goal was to cut the pace down until I was hovering near 6:00 per mile, then contain that pace until the 15-18 mile mark. I wanted to put myself in a position to take down the course mark the evil Chris Sloane set earlier this spring, but that wasn't my goal per se. I started off easy, but quickly found my stride running in the 6:10s for the first 5 miles. I finally dipped below 6:00 around 7 miles into the run. My breathing was noticeably relaxed. In fact, I was hardly breathing at all. I took a moment to reflect a little and was thankful I'd come this far in my training. Now 6flat pace felt like a jog.
I steamed ahead through "Kansas" but, the sun, although shining brightly, wasn't nearly has hot as in run's past. A pleasant wind blew across the grass fields and chilled the sweat on my brow. The unseasonably cool (high 70s) weather was rare for a "Duel Ferries" run. Today was a day to take advantage of that fact. But, no sooner did I have that thought did I spy a couple of giant black vultures mauling the remains of a carcass on the side of the road. As I rolled closer, the critter looked like a fox. "Poor fella", I thought, only to discover a moment later it was actually a possum. Good. Omen avoided.
As I approached the half way mark (1:01:30), I saw a shirtless Chicken Tender Stalker mingling near the old dilapidated white house. I grabbed a quick slug of Gatorade and drained the fox kidney in the bushes and then began to chase Andy as he, strangely, surged quickly ahead. I was running 5:50s and CTR was likely running 5:45s, but I wasn't running with him. So I lingered behind the chicken-loving starlet and yelled out "aqua" around the 12 mile mark as a signal for him to take to the water pump coming up in a mile and a half. I wanted water, but I also wanted to run with him. Thankfully he heard me. When I slowed up to grab a drink, a biking/camping couple was filling their respective CamelBaks. Not in the mood to wait, I pulled out my revolver, fired three shots in the air and ordered CTR to start pumping water. The couple, now wide-eyed, backed away from the pump and I had my fill. Soon I was refreshed and back on my way.
I hit 15 miles in 1:30:30, but the CTR was gone. He had headed back towards Edward's Ferry via the towpath. I knew the record was in sight, but I wanted to hold my pace until the last couple of miles. My pace hovered between 5:35 and 5:45, depending on the ups and downs, over the next couple miles. I felt super strong. 17 miles came and I realized I "only" had to run 3 x 5:40 miles from here on out. It was very doable since I hadn't really started pushing yet. "Kansas" came and went and I began to focus all efforts on getting home. The vultures were gone, but the possum stared up with his last dying eye. I closed in 5:29 and ran 1:59:03, which apparently is the record. The old record was 1:59:30 something.
It was my longest run in about two years and my best week of mileage (84) in two years. And, it was the easiest hard 20 I've ever run. I can't remember when I've felt this good running so long so fast. Later in the day I hiked 3 miles and worked out the kinks.
It's all very silly to post so much about a stupid training run. Yes, I agree.
642 618 613 612 603 - 31:23
608 600 600 558 553 - 29:59 (1:01:22)
552 550 548 552 547 - 29:09547 546 541 544 529 - 28:27 (57:41, 1:59:03)