Yes, 27 MILES! Bob has been training under the Galloway method since July. He has used Jeff's coaching to guide him to a successful marathon finish. His longest run before Saturday was 24.5 which he did with some road side support from his wife and daughter. I knew that despite it being a very tight weekend (wedding anniversary and Brock's birthday), I had to run this momentous run with him. I mean, after all, he would cross 26.2 miles before 27... and I wanted to be with him to call him a marathoner!!!!!
He picked me up at 4:45. It was 41 degrees. Cold. We drove a short distance to the Mill Trail and started out just before 5. Our plan was to run the 11 mile loop twice and then find the extra miles by circling down to Rock Creek Trail.
The first loop felt great. It was almost entirely done in the dark. Head lamps and lighted brims guided us. I was worried before of my Baltimore Half FAIL, but the 30:30 run:walk was easy. We started off with our runs around 8:30-8:45. At first, walking felt strange... but pretty soon, it was easy to fall into place.
We blabbered on for the first 11 miles non-stop. It had been a month since we had seen each other, so we had a lot to catch up on.
As we passed the car, we opted not to refill our bottles, we were feeling good. The trail the second time was different, because we actually had sunlight. Around mile 18 I remember saying that my hips were starting to talk to me. Not bad... but enough to notice. We were running faster now. Our average was about 8:15 pace for the run. Bob said, "I like the run:walk because I feel like I am actually running." So true. Our conversation hits some lulls on the 2nd loop. Partly because we were fresh out of new thoughts and partly because we were concentrating on running. We were in sync. It was good to have my partner back! We were like rubber bands, pulling each other at different times.
As we were approaching the car for the 2nd time, I noticed that if we ran to Lake Needwood, we would actually be running (or walking) more than 27 miles. Not ideal when we were already going 27 miles so we altered our plan. I was out of fuel and gatorade, so we stopped at the car for less than 2 minutes with 21 miles in the bag. I grabbed more bottles, a Gu and an orange slice (Bob ate 3.... more on that later) and we were off again on Mill trail.
I was tight. My quads ached, my calves were tight... and my hips... more than ached now. Bob looked amazing and didn't have much to complain about. His 24.5 mile run had prepared him for this.
When we started back running, we were averaging under 7:30 on the run part. I was amazed... we had several 30:30 intervals at 7:15 or less and 3 under 7 min pace. At mile 23 I confessed that if we kept this speed up, I wasn't sure I could handle all 27. Bob said it was the orange slices and slowed for me. :-( He was doing awesome.
By 24 my hips were REALLY sore... I think just the constant use. I hadn't run this long since MCM. We were averaging around 8:15- 8:30. At mile 25... I was getting excited. I was hoping I remember to tell Bob congrats at 26.2... and I was afraid I was going to miss it... so I looked at my watch obsessively. Mile 25 was the LONGEST!
At 26.2 (my Garmin was about .10 ahead of his), I said, "How does it feel to be a Marathoner?" holding back tears... and then I realized that we did 26.2 in 5:01... 2 minutes faster than my MCM time. It was awesome! Mile 26.2 to 27 felt awesome. the last .28 was tough... but we wanted to run until Bob's watch read 27 miles.
We embraced. It felt good to be done. Enjoyed cold chocolate milk, watermelon slices... relishing in out feat! My calves were tight. VERY tight. The only way my hips did not bother me was to kinda squat-like.... I was home by 10:15... ice bath by 10:30 and on my way to Annapolis to spend some time with the family by 11.
Bob is ready to conquer Richmond... and I am thrilled to be there along side of him!
Life is good... as G says... ~ savor the run~