I rejoined the Galloway group this morning for the 18 mile long run/walk mileage. I wanted to see everyone in the group and wish 1st time racers in next weekend's Virginia Beach Rock and Roll Half Marathon well, and George also wanted to try running with a faster pace group for part of the morning. (George and I had done our own long run thing the past two Saturdays.)
So, George and I got to today's meeting place and started off with some other early morning starters at 5 AM, but the two of us kept a slower pace going and managed 3.9 miles before returning for the whole Galloway group check-in and send-off. From there, I started out with "my" pace group, but assured them that they didn't need to wait with me, as I was stocked with my Garmin Forerunner, a map, money, my cell phone, water and energy food, and my iPod.
Lo and behold, Jackie, one of the pace group leaders, and I started talking, and she ended up staying with me all the way until my mile 11.2! I kept trying to encourage her to go ahead with the rest of the group, but we had a fun time chatting all the way back to the Panera near our starting point (and a popular Galloway hangout after our long runs). George arrived at Panera shortly after we did, and after making a pit stop and refilling my water while George got something light to eat, we headed back out for the rest of my mileage. We ended up back at Panera with my mileage at about 16.7 miles, so I headed back out on my own while George headed into Panera to wait. I finished on my own, which felt both strange and refreshing. After expecting a lot of alone time and not getting any, I enjoyed both the unexpected company and the time at the end to dig deep by myself and gut it out.
So, I ended up finishing 18 miles using (mostly) a 1/1 run/walk ratio today, in 5:40:02, an average pace of 18:53. Yes, it's still quite slow, but the beauty of this number is that on my last personal distance record of 14 miles two weeks ago, I had an average pace of 19:06! Today, I averaged 13 seconds per mile faster, eventhough I was out on the course for an additional two miles. I'm pleased that the changes I'm making in my workouts overall are finally showing! I still have some hard work between now and the Outer Banks Marathon, but I am feeling encouraged.
Here are my mile splits:
Afterward, I finally had a bite to eat at Panera, and came home to a shower, then an ice bath! Ahhhh! Now I see a nap in my future! :)