|The newly opened Kellar branch trail|
Leg 1 complete.... 7.42 miles in 1:18 (10:30 pace)
I stopped back at my car to refuel, hydrate, grab my ipod, and a headband change. The next 2.5 miles were fairly quiet, as this portion of the Rock Island trail is far under-utilized. I wouldn't call it hilly, but it certainly is rolling. One of daughter's favorite parts of this trail is the tunnel. It goes under the Interstate and is very dark and cool! Sometimes even spooky! Thankfully, this morning I had a biker behind me with a headlight.
Once I got near the Rock Island trailhead, I suddenly had lots of company. It was a perfect summer morning with temps in the low 70's. There were groups of cross country kids, women walking, families on bikes and a hefty share of other runners. I haven't run this portion of the Rock Island trail in at least a month, and I was immediately happy that I included in the day's long run. The miles ticked off quickly. As I hit the 11 mile mark of my run, I was happy with how good my body felt... and thankful for proper fueling the night before. Last week's GI issues were harsh on the run!!
I hit my turnaround in Dunlap and decided instead to do a loop around the town, which made my 20 into a 21 miler. That's the thing about an out and back... you always feel good at the "out" point, it's the "back" that kills you!
Leg 2 complete... 6.77 miles in 1:14 (10:55 pace)
The way back went pretty smoothly, despite the gradual incline of this direction. I focused on making it back to the trailhead, where I could refill my handheld bottle at the water fountain. Again, all the activity on the trail took my mind off the distance I was running. As I neared the trailhead, there was a mass of Boy and Girl Scouts on the trail doing some sort of race. It was so cute... I had little 6-8 year olds cheering me on, telling me that I "looked good" and to "keep going". Yeah, you have no idea!
The final miles back to my car, the TOUGH began to set in. The trees opened up and I lost the shade that was keeping me cool. The sun had warmed up by now (hit 81˚ by time I was done). I started to really sweat in the open stretches of the trail, and those rolling hills that I mentioned earlier made my quads scream. But I pushed on. When I saw the final stretch and my car awaiting up ahead, I sprinted it out. Who knew? I still had gas!
Leg 3 complete... 6.77 miles in 1:17 (11:22 pace)
I literally jumped for joy! This run felt really really good, both physically and mentally. I can totally do this marathon thing. As EMZ would say, I so freakin' got this!!
I mixed up my Gotein drink, swallowed a banana whole, stretched out my legs and headed home for an ice bath. The next morning, my legs felt so darn good that I ventured out for a 4 mile recovery run. It's good. It's all good. :)