A little more than two weeks ago I had my best 16 mile run ever. Just last Sunday I had an even better 16 mile run!
It was very sunny but a little cold. I think it was 44 degrees when I left the house. I was worried about being cold so I wore gloves and three long sleeve shirts. Oh, and I wore shorts. I don’t run bottomless and I strongly prefer to wear shorts instead of tights. It turns out that I overdressed a bit. I was comfortable at first but after three miles I was ready to lose a shirt and gloves. At 6.5 miles I ditched two shirts and my gloves. I stowed them in my parent’s mailbox! Even after all this time my fan club is still helping me with my running!
Right from the start I felt like I was moving fast. When I got to 6.5 miles, the first place I allow myself to look at my watch, it was confirmed. I ran that in about 51 minutes. That’s a sub 8 minute pace and I almost never run that portion in less than 52 minutes. It’s kind of amazing to think of how little speed variation there really is. Varying by 1 minute over more than 6 miles isn’t a lot under normal conditions but when running it is significant.
Feeling good about losing my extra clothing and my good time I continued on with a little pep in my step. I felt so good! I couldn’t believe I felt that good. I had planned to down a gel at about 8 miles but when that time came I didn’t want to. My stomach was too full so I delayed the gel intake until mile 10. I tried a gel that had a “2x caffeine boost.” That’s 50 mg of caffeine which is about a quarter of what you’d get in 8 oz of drip coffee but you get it all in one “shot.” Also I’m rather sensitive to drugs and have given up caffeine in all other forms completely. I don’t even drink decaf anymore since it has 4-5 mg of caffeine per 8 oz.
Who knows if the caffeine helped or not but I continued to run like a cheetah chasing prey. The (almost) 13 mile mark came around and I felt as strong as 5 miles into the run. This is the second point on the route that I allow myself to look at my watch. It read 1:39. I was happy but not too surprised because I knew I was running fast. That left just 5k to go. I pushed myself. I want to see if I could beat my previous time of 2:02:33.
I zipped around the 3 mile loop feeling strong. When I reached my mailbox I stopped my watch completely in awe because it said 2:00:51. 16 miles in two hours! Almost 2 minutes faster than my best run ever which was only 2 weeks prior?! All this at the end of a 52 mile week?! I felt like doing a Toyota jump, the happy dance, and a fist pump all at once. I think I settled for a big smile and a verbal “holy crap.” My high lasted for the rest of the day. I was high even before I entered my run and learned that it was a 7:35 average pace and that I ran the last 3.1 miles at a 6:52 pace!
I wish everyone could experience what I felt that day.