Not every long run goes as expected. After last weekend’s amazing 20 miler, I was excited to attempt 20 again, even though my running coach suggested against it.
Earlier in the week, I reached out to Fleet Feet Savannah to see if I could join their Saturday long run group since a number of locals are training for the Rock and Roll Savannah Marathon, which is the same weekend as my marathon.
I was ecstatic when they said yes and spent last night carb loading with my family before lacing up my shoes at 5:30 this morning. I enjoyed a Thomas Bagel Thin for the first time! It was delicious! I have to see if I can find these in New York City!
I left the house at 5:55 in order to make it to Fleet Feet by 6:15. It was pitch black out, the wind was howling, and it took me ten minutes to figure out where to park.
As soon as I turned the corner towards the store, a friendly face screamed my name.
The tall blonde woman in the above picture, Coach Wilson, was my middle school gym teacher and softball coach. I hadn’t seen her in 14 years yet she still remembered my face and name. How’s that for a small town feeling? It turns out that she organizes the weekly long runs with the Fleet Feet team.
While everyone signed in, she handed each of us small slips of paper with running routes.
This small piece of paper was very intimidating this morning. I immediately realized just how far a “long run” is in Savannah and how far you can travel through town. I saw streets on this sheet of paper that I’d never think of going to on the same day; in totally different parts of town ranging from midtown to the downtown historic section. To anyone reading this post who also runs a training group, I highly recommend using bullets and offering Ziploc bags for sweaty runners to put the paper in so it doesn’t get ruined from the sweat.
After twenty minutes of stretching and waiting for people to show up we finally started, broken into groups by pace. I joined the 10:30 pace group, looking forward to getting to know the men and women running and talk about training.
Unfortunately, I quickly found out that this group is a “run/walk” training group. No one mentioned this to me when I called or showed up this morning. Therefore, I didn’t realize that my running group would stop every 5 to 8 minutes to walk for a minute.
This didn’t go over very well with me as I’ve never trained in this manner. By mile 3, I decided that I’d stay between the 10:00-10:30 pace groups for safety but run solo.
One of the benefits to running with the group was definitely the random water stations scattered throughout our route and always knowing that there were people behind and in front of me.
By mile 8, when I stopped for water and this quick snapshot, I was feeling pretty good but didn’t have the excitement in me to attempt doing 20 miles especially since my coach didn’t feel a need. Knowing that I have 20 miles on the plan next weekend in Tampa with Meghann made shortening today’s run very easy.
Suddenly I was over half way done and therefore left the water stop with a huge smile! I continued from midtown towards downtown, passing our local Junior League along the way!
The final miles of my long run were in our gorgeous Forsyth Park. The park’s path is exactly a mile and flanked by Live Oaks and hanging moss. There were lots of workout classes taking place in the park, surrounded by happy dogs playing in the grass.
I finished fourteen miles at a 10:44 pace, feeling strong and excited for next weekend’s 20 miler.
I was greeted by a very welcome sight when I got home, ice and a huge Jacuzzi bath! This is definitely a benefit to doing long runs at home in Savannah versus New York!
It still amazes me that I ran through so many different neighborhoods this morning. Running through Savannah was so different than even New York as I know the roads and distances so well.
Question: Do you find it harder or easier to run when you know the route well?