Last night's storms brought the temperatures into the low 70s, which was manageable, although it was still pretty humid when we got together at the Warrenville library to start our 9-miler.
The nice thing is that the path where we run is pretty well covered, so it wasn't the worst of days. Actually, we are pretty fortunate to have made it over one-third of the way through training without a brutally hot day, my Florida run excluded.
When we set off on our run I ended up running most of the time alone, which made me wish I had brought my iPod along! Usually as the slowest runner in the group I have one of the mentors and coaches running with me, but our group is training for the Chicago Marathon, the Naperville Marathon and the Naperville Half-Marathon, so Tiffany, our coach, went with one of the half-marathon runners who was running four miles and didn't know the path.
The nice thing about running on the path is that it is pretty crowded at that time of the morning, so while I got passed a lot I still didn't feel as alone as I did when I trained by myself. The Chicago Area Runners Association marathon training groups also run along the same path, so I saw a lot of my fellow marathon trainers.
The CARA folks are very well-organized, and there are a lot of them! They all run in pace groups so sometimes there are 25-30 people running in a group, and most of them are very friendly. That's another thing I've liked about training with people for the first time is the said (and unsaid) camaraderie. Even when people don't call out encouragement it's nice to get a smile or a wave.
So anyway, the plan was to run to Roosevelt Road at the edge of Wheaton and come back. Without anyone to talk to an slow my pace down, I went out at a quicker clip than usual and hit the 4 1/2 mile point in 51:57, or an 11:32 pace.
I took a mini-break and had a GU (the Lemon Sublime flavor is a winner!) and headed back. At around 6 miles or so my legs started feeling a little heavy and I was thinking I was going to have to grind it a little the rest of the way in.
But with two miles to go I saw Tiffany on the path so we headed back together. Having someone to run with really picked me up, and without thinking about it too much we ramped up the pace. We ran the last two miles in about 21 minutes, or a 10:30 pace, and made it to the line in 1:42:46.
Which means I averaged 11:25 for the entire run and ran a nice negative split by a little under two minutes. I love negative splitting!
So the run was a really big confidence booster. Not only am I feeling confidence that I can up the pace on the runs, I feel like I can run a faster pace for shorter races, like the 5K I entered on July 31. I would love to break 30 minutes in the 5K by the end of the year, and this gave me the feeling I'm on the right track.
It starts ramping up from here...our Wednesday run jumps to six miles and next weekend we get into double-digits-land with an 11 miler. But with 12 weeks to go, I'm feeling pretty excited!