Shelly and I just finished week 4 of our training for the Austin marathon. We're following Hal Higdon's Novice 1 program, which has us running 4 days a week and peaking at a long run of 20 miles. We're working the San Antonio Rock n Roll Half Marathon into the plan, so we've actually modified Higdon's program a little by repeating some of the weeks.
Today was our first long run of the training program. We ran 9 miles on Scenic Loop Road at 7:30 this morning. Last week's "long" run was a 5 miler; the last time I ran 9 miles was up a mountain at Reach the Beach 6 weeks ago. I didn't sleep so well last night - I guess I was a little nervous about this run.
We had an amazing run. I mean, it was an amazing run. I don't even know how else to describe it! We ran 5 miles out and 4 miles back, and then walked the last mile back to our cars.
The first half felt like a normal, everyday long run. As usual, the first couple of miles were weird until I got into a rhythm. Then it felt fine. We trotted along, chatting and laughing, enjoying the 55 degree weather (Lesson Learned: Do not wear long sleeves when it's 55 degrees outside. You will get hot after 7 minutes).
At mile 4 we started eating our first pack of sports beans and began to ascend The Hill, a mile-long hill that just seems to keep going and going. We hammered up it and then turned around to head back. Shelly struggled a bit, so we walked for about 30 seconds on our way back down.
But then... the run turned AMAZING! The second half of the run felt like a breeze. We were flying back towards the start. We even passed some roadkill (two runners and an actual dead animal). Both of us felt incredible for the 4 miles back to the cars. I felt like I was floating along in my fabulous, new, pillowy-cloud shoes (Asics Gel Kayanos).
I don't even know what happened, but I hope every long run feels like that. Last week's run was fantastic too. I guess Shelly and I have gotten into really good shape somewhere along the way. The cooler weather probably has something to do with it too. Hooray for a fantastic long run! Shelly, how about another high five!