I sat down Friday night in front of the computer and started mapping out an 18 mile run for the next morning. As I was mapping it out, I could not help but thinking to myself how far 18 miles actually is. It was hard to figure out a route that was long enough and not too short as Bozeman starts to look smaller and smaller with each increase of mileage. With Brent’s help, we made a route that had a couple loops which allowed for us to stash some water to fill up what we had already been carrying. Along with the help of some tasty Sharkie energy gummies, Gu Vanilla Bean gel, and the water, I was able to have enough energy to keep me going for what I though would be about three hours of running. I made it through the first 9 miles fairly easily as I have run that distance many times. Since I was a tad hungry, I started chewing on the Sharkies which kept me occupied for a good ten to fifteen minutes after running for about forty-five. (Remember to take energy 15 before the hour and every 45 minutes). I have decided that this is by far one of my favorite forms of energy. Plus, I always manage to get the gel on my fingers and then they remain sticky for a while. Although, when I had the Gu Vanilla Bean gel for my second form of energy, it tasted amazing. It is great to find the flavors and gels that work.
After stopping to fill up my water bottle around mile 8.5, I was feeling great. I was almost half way there! I reached my 9 mile mark which was the only spot that I knew what mile I was actually on. All of the rest, I kept on guessing at by how long I had been running. I picked up my pace a tad bit and kept it going for a several miles even after stopping to wait at a couple stop lights. I looked at my watch and decided that I could definitely come in around my goal of three hours. This would put me at a 10 min/mi pace. Which I would be completely satisfied with since I was running 18 miles. I figured that I could knock off about seven to ten minutes until I hit the last two to three miles. I was almost there, but at the same time my legs were starting to get a little tight and so was my right ankle. Fortunately, I was not in pain and knew that I could keep running. The thing is that I slowed down for those last few miles and started to wonder if I would actually make it before three hours. I knew I could still do it in three, but could I beat that? I made it to the start of the last mile knowing how long it takes me to run from the beginning to where I was. As it is normally the first mile of most runs that I log, I knew what I could do it in and that I normally do it at a decent pace especially on those days when I am feeling good. I also knew that it was the end of an 18 mile run and I did not have to kill myself to get there. I was finishing a run, not starting it. Although lately, the last half of my miles I have picking up the pace. As I started getting closer and closer, that last mile seemed to last forever, I knew that I was doing it under three hours. I came in at 2:56:30 which made out to be a 9:47 min/mi pace. I was excited and proud of myself for what I had just accomplished.
I started to walk around as it is never good to just stop after having fun so far. It kept my legs from failing me. As I continued to walk around for a while waiting for my sister and Brent to make there way in, I thought about how I would still have to run 8 more miles for the marathon in two months. I knew if I could run 18 miles, I can do 26.2 in two months after a little more training and a couple more longer runs. I am excited to see how the rest of my training goes. I can finally see an end coming soon. Marathon training is time consuming, but I know it will be worth it in the end. My goal is still to come in at least at 4 hours and 30 minutes, but know that I do have the ability to come in at a better time. I do not want to disappoint myself by setting my goal too high as I never know what my body will be doing that day. That is why I have made a few different time goals for the marathon, so that I do not disappoint. My primary goal is to finish and to do it in at most 4:30 with a couple more higher goals in mind.