Since my really bad 20 miler a few weeks ago, I've had some great runs. My 22 miler, went very well. I started at 3:30 am, to run 2 miles on my own. Then, I met up with my Chicago girls, to run 10 miles. I had to be back at Fit2Run before 6am, to meet the training group. We kept a nice brisk pace, getting me back in time to meet the group. I had about 10 minutes of standing around, talking to members of the group, before I headed out with them. The rest of the run went well. I ran a little slower than the first 12, mostly because I was running at paces set by various members of the group. This was fine, I was still staying in my overall pace that I wanted to keep. I ran a little with a few different people, checked in with others, when I saw them out there. I ended up finishing the 22 miles faster than I had run the 20 2 weeks before!
Last Saturday, I had my longest run for this training session. 24 miles. My Chicago girls started out early with me, at 3:45am! We wanted to get in 12 miles, before getting back to the store just before 6am. Once again, I was going to need to go out with the training group. In order to get back in time, we needed to keep a 10 min mile pace. We headed south, towards Siesta Key. Before the turn around, Gina was falling back and once we turned around and headed back, she had fallen even further behind. I really wish I could have stayed back with her, she had done the same for me during my 18 miler, but, I had a work commitment, and needed to get back to the store before 6 to lead the training group! I felt really bad, but there wasn't anything I could do! We got stopped by the draw bridge for a couple of minutes, but still managed to keep a pace at just under 10 min miles, to get back to the store in time. The chicago group headed out, while I waited for the training group to gather and then we were off.
I started off slow with them, even though I was itching to pull ahead. I did get ahead a couple of times, but stopped, to wait for some of them to catch up. Most of the group split up into singles. Everyone seems to have a slightly different pace. I ran a bit with Roxy, and then with Edith. I pulled ahead to get to the turn around spot for the people running 9 miles. Waited there for a few minutes to check on runners and then direct others to turn around, before heading back. Added in a mile in the Golden Gate neighborhood, where a couple of other runners where adding in distance, then added in the last bit I needed, along the water front, towards Selby Gardens. Edith was having issues, not feeling well, so I got her to head back. Ran into Gina, who wasn't having a very good run and was on her own. Thankfully, there were only a few people that didn't have good runs today. Most everyone did great, even though it was pretty humid out. I had an awesome run. Finished my 24 miles in 4:02! I felt great for most of the run. Started to tighten up a bit towards the end, but that is good for me. Usually that happens around mile 20-21.
I feel like I am in really good shape this year. My training has gone well, so I am optimistic about having a great race in Chicago. Now, I just have to deal with taper madness. Starting to cut back on the miles will seem great at first, but I know I will start to feel a bit crazy from not getting the long miles in!