Sunday dawned cold but clear. When I went out to get bagels from the grocery store across the street, this was our car:
After eating a cinnamon raisin bagel with peanut butter, I was off on my run and Travis was off to his morning hockey game. I took the pooches with me for the first 3 miles, then planned to drop them off to run the last 15 alone. After being couped up in a hotel room for 36 hours, only going outside for bathroom breaks, Katy and Charlie had a LOT of energy. And needed a lot of #2 pit stops. Nothing gets things moving like a run.
It was 35 when I first went out so I had decided to wear a long-sleeve tech shirt plus a lightweight jacket. The sun was out in full force, though, and by the time I got back to the hotel with the dogs, that jacket was too much. I left my long-sleeve on and with my compression tights and running skirt on bottom, I was perfectly dressed for the 40-50 degree weather.
Running in the mountains isn’t all bad
Pooches in their kennel, I headed back out with 3 hours of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix to keep me company. Having something like a story to think about helps to pass the time. Since I had a long way to go and was running at a good 4,000 feet higher than usual, my strategy for this run was to run at an easy, comfortable pace and walk when I needed or wanted to. Which was good because there were a lot of hills on this run.
First 3 miles:
15 mile out and back:
And those just show the main hills! There were also a bunch of smaller rolling hills. I ran up most of the smaller hills but walked up the big ones. It just wasn’t worth pushing myself to run up them, only to be completely out of breath at the top and have to walk anyway.
Miles 5 – 7.5 (of the 15 mile route) were tiring. It was enough uphill to be noticeable but not enough that I could justify walking. Around mile 6, I saw Travis driving back from his hockey game. He honked and I waved.
Finally I got to the turnaround! But because of the doozy of a hill at miles 10-10.5 (which I walked most of), and my aching legs/hips, I actually only ran the way back a minute faster than the way out.
Around mile 13, I took a bathroom break, which was glorious. For the last 2 miles, I alternated between thinking “Hey, this isn’t so bad”, “Holy crap, my hips are throbbing”, “I can totally run a marathon”, and “EIGHT more miles after this? I’m screwed”. But I made it. And I’m pretty sure that I’m going to cry at the finish line of the real marathon because I get emotional just finishing my long runs.
I borrowed Travis’ phone so that I could track my splits via the MapMyRun app but I’m pretty sure it didn’t work correctly. It says that the route I ran was only 14.6 miles instead of 15.1 (and actually, on the phone it said it was only 13.99 but when I looked it up online later, it said 14.6). It also said that my pace on some of the flatter miles was something like 14:45. I know I’m slow but I’m not that slow.
So plugging in my own numbers, it took me 3:47:36 to run 18 miles, for an average pace of 12:38. For running the longest run of my life at 9,300 feet with a cumulative elevation gain of 736 feet and a bunch of walking, I’m feeling pretty good about that pace.
Nevertheless, I’m hoping that I’ll run the marathon faster than that. And since the race is practically at sea level and I’ll have tapered beforehand, I feel confident that I can. Even if I run the race at an average pace of 12:30/mile, that would put me around 5:30:00 for a marathon finish time. So the goal I’m toying with right now is somewhere between 5:10 (11:49 pace) and 5:30 (12:35 pace).
I’ll wait until after my 20 miler to officially decide on goals.
After my run, I took a shower and Epsom salt bath. Travis’ team had won their morning game too so they were moving on to the championship game at 3 pm. We packed up all of our stuff, ate lunch at Noodles & Company, and then went shopping at the outlet mall for 25 minutes to kill time. I went to the Gap Outlet and found this adorable dress for $32 that I am smitten with as well as 2 pairs of black pants — traditional dress pants for $30 and skinny jeans for $35 (I’ll post pictures later). I’m only going to keep one pair (due to our Alaska trip limiting our $$ resources) but can’t decide if I want to go trendy or timeless. Thoughts? Travis had some luck too with finding some hiking/aquashoes at the Columbia outlet for $25, marked down from $85!
Then it was off to the last hockey game. I took the dogs for a short walk while Travis got ready and then went in to watch the game. They lost by 1 point in overtime. Bummer!
A quick stop at a gas station for snacks and we were headed home to do laundry and veg out. We took Loveland Pass instead of the Eisenhower Tunnel, which neither of us had done before. The views were gorgeous:
But as always, I got freaked out and asked Travis to slow down at least 10 times. I’m a wreck on mountain roads.
Finally, we made it home. After we unloaded and unpacked everything, Travis was going to recharge the AC in our Focus when the car just up and died. Now it won’t start. I’m just glad that it didn’t die at the top of Loveland Pass! That would’ve been bad.
But I convinced Travis that instead of spending all night trying to fix it, he should just hang out with me. And so we ended our nice little anniversary weekend with an episode of NCIS (we’re totally addicted to that show).
Pretty soon, though, the real celebration begins: ALASKA!!