I ran a marathon today. Only it was a training run, not an actual race. I'm preparing for my first 50 miler next month at Mohican! Today was scheduled for a 22 mile run, but I turned it into a 26.2 mile run instead since my week was crazy with work and I missed a 4 miler earlier in the week.
Actually, there was a big (loosly) organized set of training runs at Mohican this weekend for all the runners, and I had planned on going up yesterday morning. I'd looked forward to it all week, but the way that my week unfolded, there was no way I was going to make it up to Mohican early Saturday morning. Instead, I just ran a nice 4 miler yesterday and then did my epic run today.
When I woke at 11:30 am, this morning, I knew that it would have been very selfish to take off out the door and miss the day with my girls, so I planeed to hang out with them til about 5pm then do my run into the night. As it turned out, I didn't get to spend much time with them anyway, because I went to a friends house to help her with a computer problem. I tried to take the girls with me, but Jennifer insisted that they were fine here at the house with her.
I took off out the door at exactly 5pm. With me, I had my Camelbak loaded with 2 liters of icy cold water, I had both of my water bottles full of Gatorade, and a whole bunch of calories in my pockets and in the backpack. From my house I went to Marie Hickey Trail (2 miles), and did a single loop around it including Oak Knobb Trail (2.5 miles), then headed back down the road (1.5 miles) to Canal Lock Trail (0.4 miles). After Canal Lock Trail, I ran to the Blackhand Gorge bike path (0.4 miles) and ran the entire 4.25 miles to the end. Along the way, I ran Quarry Rim Trail (0.6 miles) and Chestnut Trails (2.0 miles). By the time that I had gotten to the end of the bike path, my watch was showing 12 miles.
At this point, I was feeling fine. Both of my gatorades were empty, so I was just carrying empty water bottles, and my Camelbak was still about 1/2 full. The sun was on it's way down, so I stopped for a minute and pulled out my reflective gear and my head lamp since I was going to be going through some wooded trails on my way back through. I had lost my bandanna somewhere around mile 7 and I was going to back track a bit to see if I could find it laying on the ground. The headlamp got turned on about mile 15 as I was entering Quarry Rim trail again. I was very happy that I had remembered to pack my headlamp because it got D.A.R.K. once I got into the woods again.
From the bike path, I ran back to my house. My bandanna is lost, but I'm going to take a quick 2 miler back down to Canal Lock trail tomorrow to see if I can't find it. Anyway! Whatever!! So when I walked in the back door, my watch was reading 18.78 miles, which meant I still had 7.42 miles to go before I was done. I came in the back door and Jennifer warmed me up a quick cheeseburger that she had cooked on the grill, and filled up my water bottles for me. I love her! I was in the house for about 2 minutes total and started up the hill with 1/4 of a cheeseburger hanging out of my mouth. I grabbed my iPod while she was warming up my burger so at least I had some tunes to help the last few miles go by faster.
The remaining miles were all done around the loop that I keep nicely cut on the back of my property, and is strictly for running purposes. :) It's about a 0.18 mile loop, so I have to run around it about 6 times for a mile... Which, by my calculations, means that I ran in circles a lot. :) When I was done, I was (still am as of right now) pretty well spent. The entire run took me about 6.5 hours and I did a lot of (fast) walking towards the end. I know that today's run, including the fast walking, will prove to be very valuable on June 21st.
To sum this post up, today was the longest training run I've ever done. I feel kind of cheated that I don't have a shirt, a plaque, or a medallion to show for it, but that's part of the package I guess. :) Next weekend, I plan to go up to Mohican and run my first ULTRA training run. I'm looking to do 30 miles and then begin my 2 week taper for the race. I'm actually excited about running these long distances. You wouldn't beleive how much code I figure out in my head on these runs. :)