Last long run before half-marathon!

My final preparatory long run almost started out disastrously.  I got distracted working on some figure revisions for a paper and ended up totally forgetting that I needed to leave an hour before the time I’d set to meet Fish so that I could get in an extra 6 miles before meeting up with her at 7pm.

This resulted in me absentmindedly eating a bowl of macaroni at 5:30, thinking I had an hour and a half til I’d be running.  At 6:00 I suddenly realized I needed to be running in about 10 minutes and dashed out the door in a panic.  The end result was a fast-paced 6 miles with a stomach full of cheesy tuna & macaroni noodles.  Not something I’d recommend 😛  However, my stomach settled down after about 4 miles and the side-aches went away just as I finished my first 6 miles and met up with Fish.  We chatted for a minute and then took off on the uphill side of our loop.

Fish and I had decided to try out a new loop that I’d spotted on the local running club’s facebook page – it looked like a pretty mild loop in terms of hills and hit two parks along the way.  The first half was pretty steadily uphill, but was nice and gradual.  We hit the top of the hill and turned left, finally getting some nice flat sidewalk for a change.  We passed a cool mini-park (it had a bronze statue of a roller-skating covey of quail, and we are totally hitting up the cute little swing set next time!)  and then hit the second, larger park a couple blocks later.

I’d seen on the map that we would run through this second park on a path, but was totally surprised by how awesome the path turned out to be.  I was picturing a little paved or gravel path through a typical green-grass-and-small-trees park.  Instead, we actually had to climb down a little set of stone stairs into a small ravine with a dirt path cutting through it.  The packed dirt path wound through a shady, closed-in grove of trees, past an ancient looking stone amphitheater.  It was gorgeous and a little wild feeling – I was definitely glad to have a friend along since the night was closing in!

After emerging from the park it was a straight shot back down the hill the our starting point and we hit the end of our run surprisingly quickly.  My legs were a bit sore, but I actually felt really good the whole run.  We were blessed with some nice cool weather, got to hit a drinking fountain halfway through, and my macaroni did turn out to be good for something – didn’t ever feel the need for the Gu I’d packed along 😉

It’s been really helpful the last couple runs to do the run in two parts – half on my own and then half with Fish.  The company definitely makes those last few miles much more enjoyable!  After this strong 12 miler I’m actually looking forward to my half marathon next weekend 🙂

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