Monday was the usual three miles. Nothing remarkable here, except that my armband kept slipping off midstride. And when I say slipping off, I mean the stupid thing would fly off my arm and I'd have to catch it. To say that this makes it difficult to maintain a consistent pace would be an understatement.
Tuesday was a four mile run. I followed a path near my school. It was a pretty rough run. One of those runs where I felt like I could not catch my breath, like my legs were made of lead, and like it could not end quickly enough. Apparently a co-worker passed me and waved, and I scowled at him in response. I don't even recall this, but I imagine I had a pretty permanent scowl on my face throughout the run. I was pretty frustrated! I finished with a 10:30 pace, but felt it should have been better if I wouldn't have had to take walk breaks and could've made my legs MOVE.
Wednesday I managed to not die during the Tough Mudder workout and did two real pushups. I am so weak in my upper arms! Thursday was only a mile run. I finished one mile in 9:24, which is pretty fast for me. I passed a woman with a walker on my run and realized that someday, I won't be able to run. This helped me push through my tired legs and really give it what I could.
Saturday was the big one, my longest run before the half marathon. This is silly, but I tossed and turned all night long Friday. It was super windy. Every time I'd wake up, I would hear the wind howling. Last Saturday's long run was a miserable endeavor due to the wind, and I just couldn't handle another painful, cold run, you know? If last night was an indicator of what the night before my half will be like, I am not looking forward to it.
I drug myself out of bed at 6:20, complete with a lack of sleep and weather change related headache. I did not want to go, but I also just wanted to get it done. I set out slow. I altered my usual route, because I felt like I was getting bogged down with it. I live in a small town, so finding a route that would cover twelve miles is NOT easy. It most certainly involved going out and a back and it involved going through every side street and cul-de-sac in a neighborhood. I am not exaggerating. I started out on a country road that I don't usually run. It is hillier than what I usually run, and I reminded myself to keep it slow. Because I was running on the road and wanted to be aware of my surroundings, I didn't have my earphones in. I almost always run with music, but I found myself lost in the rhythm of my footsteps and breathing and the sound of the early morning birds. Even when I got into a neighborhood, I kept my earphones out. When I neared what I thought was the six mile point, I put them in. Until this point, I had no idea what my pace was, just that I was keeping it slow and felt good. I was a little surprised to hear that my average pace was 10:39, as I felt like I was going to slower than that. I am definitely not complaining!
At the halfway point, I'd planned on stopping and chewing a shot blok, but I felt good. I didn't want to stop. I have a problem with stopping, because once I stop, I don't want to start again. I kept going. Of course, by this point, the wind had picked up and it'd started snowing. I played a mental game with myself, telling myself that I was stronger than the weather. I knew I had a stretch around ten miles where I'd be straight into the wind for awhile, so I worked myself up for this moment. After that stretch, I had to stop for traffic at a little over ten miles. I only had to wait for two cars to pass, but I used this time (less than a minute) to pop in a shot blok and continued. My legs started to get heavy as I neared eleven miles, especially as I was going up hills that seemed MUCH bigger on the way back than on the way out. I was so excited when I got near the field behind our house and could see the back of the house. I may have thrown my hands up in the air!
I finished with an overall pace of 10:26, which made me pretty happy. I'm happy if I can do less than 10:30 on a six mile run, so to maintain it for twelve miles? I am proud of myself! This is the moment where I definitely see the nine weeks of training paying off, because seriously? I ran for TWO hours and five minutes. When I first started using DailyMile, I laughed at the space to punch in a number for hours because I couldn't fathom running for more than 45 minutes. But I did. Aside from two stops for traffic, I ran for two hours without stopping or walking! I kind of can't believe it.
One last thing. As I mentioned above, I've been having a ton of problems with my armband. I've also been kind of annoyed with an armband in general, because it gets heavy sometimes. Unfortunately, I am directionally challenged and NEED my phone to tell me how far I've run. Someone in a Facebook running group recommended that I try a Spibelt, saying that he uses it with his iPhone. It came yesterday, so I ran with it today. I can't say enough how much I love it! When it came in the mail, it looked SO tiny that I couldn't imagine it fitting my phone, but it did. I was able to run with my phone, two shot bloke, and a Gatorade G-series bite and had room left for money and a key, if necessary. I was worried about bouncing, but it fits snugly enough that there's no bouncing. After a mile, I forgot that I was even wearing it! Much, much better than an armband and more useful, too.