Katie, Rob and I completed our 20 miler tonight, and it went well--much better than the 18 miler, and it even went better than the 12 miler last week. We were shooting for a marathon pace during last week's run but missed it and finished with a pace over 9 minutes. Our pace for the 20 miler? 9:04. We ran faster for 20 miles than we did last week for 12.
While I usually run during the evening hours, it's rare for me to do a long run in the afternoon, let alone 20 miles. Due to Rob's holiday travels, though, Monday afternoon was the only time all three of us could run. We figured starting out later in the afternoon might be slightly cooler. Yeah, right. The run's beginning was slightly disheartening. While it wasn't excessively hot, it was still warm and kind of humid. I was sweating profusely in just the first three miles--wearing black was a bad idea. I finished my sports bottle full of Gatorade in the first three miles--a bottle I was planning to last me 10 miles. Quite an inauspicious start to a very long run. What shade there was, though, made a huge difference.
We ran 2 laps around the Rose Bowl to start and then headed north in our usual route. The heat was still troublesome, and while I thought I was maintaining a fast pace, I kept falling behind Rob and Katie. Realizing now that we were actually running fast, I understand why my "fast" pace just wasn't fast enough. We were planning to run as far up the forest trail as we could, but on the way up we encountered a sign saying the trail ahead was closed. That didn't stop us, though, and we kept running. We reached the wood bridge I excitedly proclaimed that we were halfway done. Then it happened. I once again rolled my ankle. I rolled my ankle twice during the 18 miler. This time I not only rolled my ankle but tripped and fell. I didn't roll my ankle badly nor was I hurt by my fall apart from a small scrape on a knee. While on the ground, though, I felt like I couldn't get up. Katie and Rob helped me up and brushed off the dirt on my back. As they were doing so, a forest ranger pulled up and told us the trail was closed in as nice a way as possible. Rather than risk a ticket, we turned around and headed south.
Thankfully, it started to cool down by this time, or at least the shaded regions got larger. While I felt better, I still kept lagging behind Katie and Rob. I think it was partly me holding back so I had something for the tough, late miles, but I also slowed down to avoid rolling my ankle again in the rocky terrain along the arroyo. I was as much as a minute behind the two of them. Eventually I caught up as we turned around near South Pasadena. I ran ahead thinking that they will catch up, and they did. In the end, though, I guess I saved up more energy or I just got a second wind, but I finished ahead of Rob and Katie ad the end. All in all it was a great run and it helped that it got cooler towards the end. Now we taper. Only 12 miles next week.
The 20 miler was a great way to cap a terrific and busy holiday weekend. A recap:
-Ran 8 miles to break in my new shoes prior to running with them for the 20 miler.
-Helped Chaps move into his new apartment.
-Went on a bike ride on the Whittier Greenway Trail, a 4.6 mile bike/pedestrian trail converted from an abandoned railroad right-of-way.
-Met up with Liza and Alice for dinner at Wurstkuche, which was then followed by drinks at Royal Clayton's, which was then followed by bread pudding AND chipotle fries at Pete's.
-Hamburgers with family in West Covina. While there I watched a "Deadliest Catch" marathon. Geez, gripping stuff that show.
-Slept until 11 am. It was great!
-Watched Toy Story 3. Yup, I choked up at the end. Terrific movie.
-Ran 20 miles (see above).
-Cooked steak and mashed sweet potatoes for dinner.
Thanks to the long weekend, though, I feel well-rested and mostly ready to face the next four days.