Our morning started with a moderately early soccer game--9:15. I had a ten mile run scheduled, and last time I tried to fit in a run before soccer, I ended up missing the little bit of the game we had time for. The weather has been cooler, so I had hopes that I could just run a bit later and be OK. The game was as cute as first grade soccer was, and I finally got to see J. play in the goal. There were a couple of good saves on his turn, but both were by a goal post. He did play aggressively during the rest of the game, though, and we had plenty to cheer about.
As soon as the game was over, N. and I headed to St. Louis for N's club volleyball tryouts. Leaving at 10 for 11:30 tryouts, we should have had plenty of time. Except there was construction on the interstate leading into St. Louis. Thank goodness we'd left as early as we had, because instead of 25 minutes early, we were there about 5 minutes before the start.
I dropped him off and headed to Grant's Trail for my run. I was a little worried about how I'd do because I hadn't really eaten much. I'd had two slices of banana bread in the morning. Luckily I'd picked up a banana with my morning soda, so I ate that as well as the Luna bar I'd brought along just in case. I had actually considered grabbing a big pretzel and nacho cheese at the site of the tryouts, but remembering the taco-fueled misery on Wednesday, I decided against that plan!
The temperature was in the low 70's by then...a bit warmer than I'd hoped, but still nice in the shady spots and OK in the sunny ones. Certainly it was MUCH better than the 90's I had to run in this summer! This was supposed to be an easy run, and I was consciously trying to take it easy. I don't have a heart rate monitor, but any time I felt like I was really exerting myself, I dialed it back a little. I really wanted to have a successful run to build my confidence leading into the half marathon after last Saturday's disappointment and Wednesday night's struggles.
The first half was pretty good. Ten was on the schedule, but I kind of had eleven in the back of my head in case things were going well. Right at the 5 mile mark, I made it to Grant's Farm.
The Grant's Farm area includes the Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site, the entrance of which is above, and Grant's Farm, the Anheuser-Busch former family home and current animal attraction. I've been there many times over the course of my life, but I've never RUN there, so that was kind of cool. I knew that Grant's Trail passed Grant's Farm, but I didn't really realize it was so close. Admission to the park is free, but parking isn't. If we could transport all of our bikes with all of us in the car, riding the trail to the Farm would definitely be the way to go!
Since the 5 mile mark was at the historic site and the farm property was a bit further, that convinced me to go the extra distance. Naturally, the last half mile out was uphill, but after I tagged the 5.5 mile marker, I stopped to take a picture of the famous Budweiser Clydesdales in one of the pastures (well, their children, anyway).
Yeah, I know...iPhone zoom isn't too impressive. But somehow my trail pictures didn't take, so I don't have much to break up my blah blah blah. Maybe next run I'll STOP to take the pictures. (Probably not)
I felt pretty good on the way back, too. Each 1/2 mile marker cheered me as I got closer to the end. My knee was doing OK--a couple of twinges here or there, but nothing that really concerned me. The last few miles the toes on my right foot were bothering me. It always kicks in about 8 miles in or so. I felt OK running...not out of breath or legs hurting or anything. Mostly, by mile 9 or so, I was just plain tired of running.
When I got to the last half mile, I did a few strides. Well, maybe sort of. I'd read something about strides either online or in a magazine, and what I remembered from what I'd read was slight downhill (no such luck), fast foot turnover, 30 steps of your lead food. I know there was more to it, but I don't really remember what that was, so my "strides" consisted of three intervals where I focused on fast foot turnover for 30 steps followed by an easy jog until I felt like I could do it again.
My end time was 1:48:22, a 9:51 pace. Like I said before, I really tried to focus on taking it easy, but it still makes me a little stressed to see that time because it's definitely too slow to manage a sub-2:00 half marathon, which is my pie in the sky goal (as opposed to my actual goal of just finishing the thing). I'm not sure if the difference was the lack of company or the trail (asphalt rather than...whatever that trail was) or the temperature (at least 10 degrees warmer here), but this run wasn't anywhere near as fun and easy feeling as my first ten mile run. It would be hard to measure up with that one...it stands out as my best run ever. :) Even so, I'm happy to have eleven miles under my belt, and I'm really pleased that I'm not limping this evening or really, even sore.
Oh, and my son's tryouts? He made the top team in his age group (17 and under)! :) So we celebrated with Dairy Queen blizzards.
And I earned every bite.