Normally, I try to run a loop regardless of mileage. I despise out and back (I think it's because I'm always looking for that turn-around point..."I'm not even half-way done" is the thought that keeps going through my mind). Today, I tried a 10-mile loop I've done in the past and then added the 8-mile loop I run every Tuesday morning before work (2 different loops...2 different directions). That way, if I needed to stop at the house for extra water, supplies, etc., I could. I also thought that maybe there would be a psychological benefit to finishing up with a shorter run loop (like my body would think that I didn't just run 10 miles, and I could breeze through an easy 8 miles - ha ha).
Miles 1- 4: kind of slow and sluggish; I stop drinking water about an hour before I run, so why 2 pit stops in the first 4 miles??? This happens every long run (I know you don't really care about this, but part of the reason for this blog is for myself to keep track of what went right and what went wrong on the long runs, so I have to include these types of details). I kept the Garmin going the whole time, so some of the mile times were downright depressing.
Miles 5 - 12: I felt on top of the world; no fatigue, no aches, and had to slow myself down to keep in the 11:00 - 12:00 / mile range (I KNEW if I didn't do this, I'd be dead - not dead tired...just dead - before mile 18). Stopped at a park briefly (to use porta potty - of course - and stretch) at mile 11. It felt wonderful to pass by the street to my house at about mile 10 and not take it...I felt too good to stop.
Miles 13 - 15: Still felt pretty strong, but my legs started kind of doing their own thing independent of what my mind was telling them to do; could feel some tightness in the ankles and achilles area. Remember I gave myself the "out" of only having to do 16 if I felt like it. The moment of truth came at an intersection about mile 14.5 where, if I went straight, it would be 16 miles...if I turned right, it would be 18, no matter what...whether I ran, walked, or crawled, it would be 18. I turned right.
Mile 16: The most mentally tough mile of the run. Slowed to a walk in order to put on chap stick (my lips felt like they were glued together) and adjust my camelbak. Walked for .25 mile...almost threw in the towel and walked the rest of the way home. I had run 16 - the most I have done so far in this training - good enough, right? Then I reminded myself that this is what I would feel like about mile 22-23 in the marathon (hopefully not before), too, and I NEEDED to get used to this. Starting to run again was SO hard! But, gradually, my legs started cooperating again and I was running.
Yes, 18 miles completed...FEELS SO GOOD TO SAY THIS!!!