Since I had 8 miles to do today, I got up early: 6. But I’d actually set the alarm clock for 6:30 and then woke up early for no apparent reason. Argh. I just got up. I took my time getting ready and had some peanut butter toast and coffee. Then I put on BOTH pairs of my Wigwam socks to avoid blisters.
I didn’t feel like running in and out of cul-de-sacs for 8 miles, so I decided to drive to Renton and run along the Cedar River Trail. Since I was going to be by myself, I had to wait for light. I figured if I got there at 7, it would be light enough to start.
I wrote Mr. T an e-mail with the details of the run (just in case) and got on my way. It was 50 degrees, sprinkling and dark at 6:45. I rocked out to some sweet ’80s music in the ‘Bu, but the good mood was ruined when I suddenly realized I’d forgotten my phone.
Ah, crap. Forgot my phone. Should I go back? Should I turn around right here? Naw. I’ll be okay. I’ll be running along the highway.
At 7, I pulled into the parking lot at Ron Regis Park. Still dark. Pitch black and the trail doesn’t have any lights. I can’t run in the dark without my phone. I really didn’t want to run in the dark at all. It’s too creepy. One side of the trail is highway, but the other side is blackberry bushes and trees and river bank. Who knows what’s lurking on that side.
So, I drove home. Yep. 15 minutes there, 15 minutes home, ran in and got my phone, and then 15 minutes back. Not the best use of gasoline, but I have to be safe. I got back to the park at about 7:35 and it was just getting light outside. And NOT raining. There were two other women heading out for a walk, but that was the only other people I would see until toward the end of my run.
I brought my Nike fuel belt so that I would have water and some energy (strawberry Nutrigrain bar), and I set off for my run. It was 7:41. As soon as I started running, I realized I now had to use the restroom thanks to all that driving. But I didn’t have to go enough to go in the Honey Bucket at the park — I’ve been in there once (in an emergency) and once was enough. I decided to hold it. For 8 miles.
My route had me run west away from the park to the end of the golf course area and then turn around and go east, passing back by the park and heading to the big curve in the trail just after the composting place: 4 miles. Then, I would turn around and head back west and go all the way back along the golf course and then turn around and go east back to the park. This is how people do it without Garmins, folks. MapMyRun.com.
I felt good and could tell I was running faster than I normally do. I just felt so good. And I was okay with being alone. I need to do some long runs by myself. I realized this during the Seattle Half. It’s such a different experience when you run alone. I had my Zune and listened to my Seattle Half playlist.
As I passed back by the park, I debated using the Honey Bucket and dropping off my fuel belt, which was bugging me and I wasn’t even at a mile yet. I had my iFitness belt in the car. I could put my food and keys in there, but I didn’t want to hold my water bottle the whole way. And, I really didn’t want to use the gross potty, so I kept running.
I read a post by Glenn over at The Running Fat Guy a few days ago in which he talked about consciously turning his stride over faster. I focused on moving my legs more quickly. I could tell I was going faster than normal. It helps that the trail is mostly flat and straight.
I approached Mile 4 after a while. I’ve never been so happy to see a giant pile of compost. I turned around at the big curve, where the guard rail started and walked while I washed my Nutrigrain bar down with water. Mmmmmm, soggy. I started running again and texted Mr. T about my change of plans and that I was still running.
I was glad my water bottle would be lighter because it was annoying me, hitting me in the small of my back as I ran. I normally have on more layers when I use it, so it didn’t stay in place as well as it normally does. I think I went another mile before I took it out and held it. What a relief! It felt like the belt was rubbing my back raw. I’m not a handheld fan, though, so this was a challenge for me. I kept switching the bottle from my right to my left hand, all the while turning my legs over faster and faster. Since I got a later start, I just wanted to get back to the car and get home.
At about 6.5 miles, some guy came out of nowhere and passed me. He was really fast and he seemed to float as he ran. I tried, but couldn’t keep up. I run like an elephant, I thought. He just kept pulling away and it looked like he was putting in no effort at all. Amazing!
Then I got a stitch in my right side, which I figured would happen. I hardly drank any water yesterday. Baaaaad. I had to slow down, then it went away. I sped up, then got a stitch in my left side. It was annoying because I had been flying, as fast as elephants can fly anyway. At least it went away pretty quickly.
I passed the park (willing myself not to stop and just call it a day) and strode alongside the golf course, then turned around and went back to the park. I checked my phone: 8:57.
It wasn’t until I got home that I figured out the math. I’m still in disbelief and have checked the math with Mr. T, but I was right. I ran 8 miles in 76 minutes? For real?
I went back to MapMyRun.com. Says, 8.02 miles (and I even ran further along the golf course than I was supposed to on my first mile). How accurate can MapMyRun.com be? I mean, that just seems too fast. That’s an average pace in the nines! Right? Crazy.