I had another very humid long run today, but thankfully I learned some lessons from last time that were helpful.
Surprisingly, I didn't wake up at ALL during the night--which is so strange! I almost always wake up about every hour or two, because I'm such a light sleeper. But at 5:55, I looked at the clock and thought, "Shit! I better get ready to go!" I wanted to beat the heat and get out early for my 11-miler.
My schedule said "7 miles easy + 4 miles at marathon pace". I'm choosing a goal for the marathon that should be pretty easy--I really want this to be my last full marathon, and my only real goal is to have a time that starts with a 4 instead of a 5. Yes, that was my goal for the last marathon, but I wasn't factoring in my knee injury + the heat index of 95 degrees that day. So to finish sub-5 hours in the fall, I will need to run an 11:24/mi pace. Very do-able. I'm going to be training faster than that by about a full minute per mile on my long runs to ensure that I will be able to do it.
I drove about 20 minutes and parked at a community center to use the same trail that I always use. This way, I would be running into the sun for the first half of the run, and away from the sun for the second half--the opposite of what I did last time (Lesson #1 that I had learned). I also brought Powerade in my hydration belt (Lesson #2).
I felt much less pressure this time, because I had decided that my pace didn't matter. I wanted to run by feel alone, and forget about what my Garmin said. I had to go pee almost immediately, but I figured I could hold it until the turn-around point at mile 5.3 ish. It was hot running with the sun beating down on me, but I was really glad that it was the beginning of my run instead of later at the end, when I was tired.
I stopped at the bathrooms at mile 5.3 for a minute, then kept running. At mile 6.5, I stopped at a water fountain to refill my water bottle. Then I didn't stop again until I was back at my car. I didn't have to take a single walk break! It's been a long time since I've been able to do that--either the heat or my knee made me walk a little here and there, but today I did fine with the whole 11 miles. And I was very happy with my consistent splits.
Today is Noah's 8th birthday! Jerry is off today, and Noah requested to go to Chuck E Cheese's--so the four of us went there before lunchtime. There were only about three kids total in the place, so it was nice and quiet! :) After the kids spent their tokens, we went to a bakery called "Just Baked" for cupcakes. I'd never been there before, so I was excited to go.
However, when I saw the cupcakes were $3 each, I changed my mind about getting one for myself (so did Jerry). It actually wasn't very hard to turn them down, because with the exception of the bumpy cupcake, they didn't have a lot of frosting--and you know that the frosting is my favorite part! Each of the boys picked one out and Noah asked if we could have lunch at Red Robin. I was a little worried about leaving the cupcakes in the car, but Jerry said, "Oh, they'll be fine--they might get a little soft, but we'll stick them in the fridge when we get home."
I was really excited to see that Red Robin will substitute a veggie burger on any of their burgers for no extra charge--so I chose to get a cheeseburger (Gardenburger) with the works. It was delicious!
Despite the cupcake issues, it was a fun family day and I think Noah was pleased with his birthday :) Tomorrow is his birthday party--and I'm a nervous wreck that nobody will show up. We sent out the invitations and almost everyone said they couldn't make it. I got two "yesses", so I am praying that those two boys actually show up. I didn't hear back from 2-3 more people, so who knows!