Out and Back on the Marathon Course

I met my friend, Andrea while the sky was still black this morning. We parked next to the pond where my upcoming marathon will start and finish. I was eager to run one more time on the course before the race in two weeks. We headed out backwards on the path, enjoying the sounds of morning birds and the “hellos” of the other early runners and bikers. I enjoyed spending time with my friend, chatting about things and engaging in the usual girl talk. 

We ran until the gas station at about the 19th mile of the marathon course (about 6.7 for us.) I’d had it in my mind to run the course backwards, nice and easy and then to pick it up on the way back. I ended up making it kind of a progression run back to the “finish” line and really enjoyed that.

Here are my splits:
1. 11:39 (I warm up REALLY slow!) 
2. 10:49
3. 10:42
4. 10:59
5. 11:06
6. 10:40
7. 10:41
8. 10:32
9. 10:17
10. 9:15
11. 9:25
12. 9:04
13. 8:32
.44 final – 7:55

Those last 4 + miles were really important to me. Last year at the marathon (my first ever), I really struggled during those miles and walked a lot. I wanted to mentally push a bit harder, gently accelerate on the gas over those miles and overcome the mental difficulties I faced last year during that stretch. Today was a rehearsal for my mind even more than for my legs. I felt like I got out of today’s run exactly what I was looking for — a boost in my confidence that I can run well on tired legs in that final stretch.

When I hit the “finish line” I couldn’t help but grin.  The weather was PERFECT today – about 50 degrees at the start (I even wore a jacket on the drive there) and 65 at the finish – fairly ideal running weather, nice gentle breeze, beautiful lush, fall scenery (I especially love running by the Boise Train Station and seeing the city from up high on the ridge as I ran for a few miles overlooking the parks, the foothills in the distance, the cloudless blue sky.)

After the run, I walked over to the pond and stepped onto one of the floating docks. I watched the ducks paddling in the water, closed my eyes and enjoyed the songs of the birds. I laid down on the dock and relaxed into some of my favorite stretches and yoga poses, just savoring the sounds of nature all around me. It was a pretty perfect run today. 

On the way home, I treated myself to a meal fit for a queen — I dined at the fanciest McDonald’s drive-through food around (don’t be jealous, now!) I had a sausage biscuit, a hashbrown and a delicious orange juice! I savored every morsel! Mmmm!!!

Stats: 13.44 miles. 10:12 ave pace. 2:17 total time. Feel: Great!

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