Today was a planned 22 miler. The weather was threatening, after lots of rain yesterday and more due today, but I got pretty lucky. I hit just a little bit of drizzle for a few minutes, and that was it.
Three weeks ago was my last 22 miler, and I struggled late in that run. A few weeks before that, I struggled late in a 20 miler. Despite still feeling less than 100% today, my primary goal was to be consistent and strong through the run. I ended up getting a late start to my run - not the 7:00 a.m. start I'd planned. I wanted to be done by 10:30 so I could go to my son's soccer game, but I needed the sleep.
So, I ended up starting a little after 9:00 and ran for a couple hours and then stopped by my son's soccer game. I watched for a little bit, and then ran a few miles. I came back to the game, but my son was getting a breather, so I went back out to run some more. When I left the second time, varsity was losing 6-0, and my son's JV team was locked in a 0-0 tie.
I decided to run enough to return when the game would have about 8-10 minutes left. Regretfully, when I got back, they'd fallen behind 1-0. I stayed to watch the rest of the game, which ended in a 1-0 loss for the home team. After that, I headed out for my last 4.5 miles, and my plan was to really focus on pace, rather than just slogging through the miles.
Those last few miles went pretty well. Just after the 21 mile mark, I looked at my Forerunner, and I was running a 7:40 pace. That wasn't typical of those last few miles, but I was focused on maintaining a decent pace.
When I finished, I was 13 minutes faster than 3 weeks ago. I was only 3 minutes slower than a 20 miler in August.
There's still a lot of work to be done, but today was encouraging. I've got a half marathon next weekend, a 22 the following weekend, and then a 24 miler, and then I'll start tapering.
Hopefully, the rain, which hasn't arrived yet, will hold off. The Vermont 50 is tomorrow and the course is no doubt wet already. If it rains hard again tonight, the course will be really nasty for the runners, after the cyclists chew it up early in the day. Good luck to my friends running the race, including a couple of people from Maine who stop by here regularly. I can't wait to read Claire's race report.