Great weather + Over 3,200 ft of cumulative elevation gain + Just over 18-miles completed + 8:11 average pace per mile = one of the best tough long training runs of my running life.
Today the group planned to run the 16.5-mile loop in Percy and Edwin Warner Parks, which is one of the toughest road routes in this area. My scheduled called for 16 to 18-miles at easy pace, so Nathan and I added a little bit here and there to end up with just over 18-miles completed for the day. I ran the entire way with Nathan, but after starting off with the entire group we ran at different times with either Marc, Aine, or Paul.
We had great weather with starting temps around 63º, and the humidity began to burn off about 45-minutes into the run. The 16.5 starts off with an almost 250 ft climb during the first mile, so our pace was very, very chill starting out. This included our first two miles which were just under 10:00 min pace, and our second two miles which were just under 9:00 min pace. After the fourth mile, 10 of the next 14 miles were completed under 8:00 min pace, and 5 of those were under 7:45 pace (our final two miles were 7:25 and 7:06).
Nathan and I both felt fantastic, and for me the run felt really comfortable, even going up the big climbs throughout the route. I’m still fighting a little twinge / strain in my right quadriceps muscle, but this was litte more than an annoyance today. Overall my legs felt great, and I was in one of those rhythms where I felt like I could run all day.
We also had a lot a great conversation today which ranged from Victorian Poetry to computer programming to great guitar players. After the run we headed out to our normal breakfast spot, Bread & Company, and a great morning was topped off because they were serving my favorite coffee, Bongo Java’s Immaculate Percolation.