This morning I ran the Leesburg 20k with (OK, far far behind) my good friend and highly unpaid coach Bex.
My goal for this race was to run it at marathon pace. According to Mr. McMillan, if I can run a 10k at 1:07, I should be able to run a marathon in 5:14, which is a 12:01 pace. But we all know he's insane. So instead, last night, I ran all the numbers backwards, and found that for a 5:30 marathon (my goal), my pace should be 12:36 min miles. (It's fun playing with numbers! Try it!)
It was a gorgeous fall-like day out. I got to the site at 6 a.m., a wee bit early for a 7:30 start. But no lines at the portapotty.
The course was an out-and-back thru downtown Leesburg, Virginia, (a lovely historic D.C. bedroom community surrounded by farmland which is quickly being taken over by big bad and ugly developments) and then onto the W&OD trail, which was beautiful, and shady. It was 64 degrees F, and 64 percent humidity. It doesn't get much better than that, people.
Here's what the W&OD trail looks like:
It's positively bucolic. We ran past horse farms, and a few cows.
So, here I was, planning on running 12:10 min. miles for the first half and then maybe speeding up to 11:50 min. miles the second half. Hope springs eternal!
I started out running with a girl who was going my pace—slow—but who was huffing and puffing by mile two. I knew that today I wanted to run my own race, so I said goodbye, and ran off to see what I could do.
And here's what I did:
6: 10:49 (whoa)
9: 10:11 (more whoa)
10: 10:34 (all right!)
11: 10:11 (ditto)
12: 10:09 (excellente!)
.4: 4:28 (um, .4?? Who knew?)
Total: 2:19:41 (11:14/mile)
(By the way, does everyone but me know that a 20k is 12.4 miles, not 12.2?? Wacky metric system.)
Maybe it was the fallish weather? Or the fact that the course was slightly uphill out and slightly downhill back (except for one big mother hill at mile 7)? (Or that I'm an exceptionally talented and fast runner?) I dunno. I just know at one point I noticed a 10:11 min. mile and said to myself, Self? You are running your 5k pace after running for eight miles. At the end, I knew I could have gone farther.
I made my grande finale to find Number One Daughter and her BF and Bex and a friend, P., all waiting. (Bex had an awesome run, but I'll let her tell you about it. Let's just say she had to hang around for a good long while to see me.)
In the interest of full disclosure, I came in 20/22 in my age group.
I don't care.
This race was a much-needed confidence booster. Now I know I can do this for 12.4 miles, but do I know how to do it for 26.2?
*Sure, you know. You just put your lips together and ... blow.