Ryan and I are 22 days away from the Mill Race Half Marathon in Columbus, Indiana. At least that’s what the countdown on the refrigerator says. It seems like yesterday when we placed the countdown on the appliance with 90 days on it. Despite everything, we have had happened this summer we have kept to our training almost on schedule. We have missed maybe a handful of runs at the most.
When the calendar flipped to August we finally began hitting double-digit miles with our long runs on Saturday mornings. Our first one was 10 miles and then we went two weeks at 11 miles and then 12. After our 12-mile run Aug. 22 I went to work and thought about the upcoming week’s runs. We would be almost a month away from the race. I remembered training for my half two years ago and that was about the time I ran the entire 13.1. I followed that up six days later with a 15-mile run before I began the taper part of my training.
As I worked and thought more about our training schedule, I didn’t think we needed to put in a 15-mile run, but I thought it would help Ryan if our next long run the following Saturday was the entire 13.1. After I got home from work I told Wendy of the idea. Her reply is typical of anyone I discuss the training plan.
“Well, what’s the training plan say?” Wendy asked.
“It says 13.1 because that’s what I ran two years ago,” I replied.
“Then run it.”
We had a solid week of training. The weather was atypical for the end of August as each morning the temperature seemed to be in the low to mid-50s as we started. I hoped for more fo the same on that Saturday. Prior to the run, I also contacted our friends whose houses we would pass along the route. I asked them if I could drive by the night before and leave a bottle of water at each of their mailboxes. All three said I could. One even said they would leave it on their porch in a cooler. I have a bottle Ryan and I share on our runs, but the last two Saturday runs we had run out of water around mile nine.
After going to the high school football game on Friday night my friend, who drove us to the game, drove me to the other two locations where I placed the water bottles in the newspaper chutes. My friend dropped me off and I waited for Ryan and Luke to return from their youth group meeting. Once they had returned I told Ryan to go upstairs and get ready for bed. If we were going to run 13.1 miles in the morning and give me enough cushion to shower, eat breakfast and use my Therawheel before work we would have to start out around 6:30 a.m. Andrew and Luke also had to be up early for their Bible Bowl Boot Camp session, which would begin at 8 a.m.
I was up at 6 a.m. and got Ryan up at 6:15. Yes, I am still waiting for the morning to come when Ryan is the one already dressed and waking me up to go run.
It was still dark outside when we ventured out to begin the run, which was a first for us during this training. At the beginning of the run, I reminded Ryan we wanted to make this like we were running the race but really not at a “race pace.” “Our goal today is to know we can run the distance. That’s all.” Ryan nodded his head and we started.
We ran over the bridge that separates our section of the subdivision to the older part. We ran around a circle and two sheriff’s cars were parked right at the entrance of the street. After we had made the lap the two officers were still there talking and we said hello to them as we left the road and went on the path. We reached the first mile and “Jane” began to tell me the distance, time, pace and split.
When I trained for the Indianapolis Half Marathon two years ago I wore my iPhone with the MapMyRun app without fail for every run. This was only the fourth time in our training I had worn it. The first time back in May when I wanted to see how fast we could run a 5k prior to the Race Away Domestic Violence race. Then I wore it for the Race Away Domestic Violence and again when we ran a new route and I wanted to get the distance down for a path we ran which isn’t displayed on the map.
“Jane” informed me we had run the first mile at 10:00 and were on a pace of 9:59 per mile. EXACTLY where I wanted us to be at the beginning of the run.
We finished the path and ran down one road which led to the street we would run out of the subdivision and head to another subdivision where our one friends would have the water in the cooler for us. We were about two-and-half miles into the run when we got to their house. We stopped and got the water and I talked to Ryan. I told him where were at for the first two miles. We had cut 41 seconds off our second mile and I told him I liked where we were for the start. After a couple of more drinks of water, we continued on.
We ran out of our friends subdivision and back into ours. It was about this time the sun was coming up as we ran out of our subdivision again and through the connecting one to cross a main street to get to two other subdivisions before heading into the subdivision where I grew up we were still three miles away from hitting the toughest part of the route.
Like the Race Away Domestic Violence, we were having negative splits. We ran by the house I grew up in. The same one I have rented out to one of our friends who I asked if I cold leave a water bottle. Side note – ever since we got everything out of the house and even though the current occupant has made changes inside I can’t go inside it. I went inside July 4th to move a stove from our other house to that one. I did all I could to keep myself together.
Again we stopped and talked as we took a drink out of the water bottle and then put the some more of it into our bottle to top it off until our next water break. Ever since I read an article about people over 40 and the importance to drinking at every mile marker I have made it a habit.
We were at the midway point of the run. I asked Ryan how he was feeling. He said well. I told him we were coming up on the hills part of the route. He smiled. Ryan loves the hills more than I do. We left Jackson Place and got up and down the first two big hills. We left Pebble Hills and entered another subdivision which is connected called The Villas. I added it because it was the best way to make a route for 13.1 miles. I used it last time as part of my last double-digit -mile run. We made a wrong turn, but corrected ourselves and got back on course
We went back into Pebble Hills briefly and then into Silver Springs where we encountered a majority of the inclines. After another loop through Silver Springs, we were back into Pebble Hills. We were going up and down these hills and “Jane” kept saying we were going faster. We made it up our last hill before crossing Morgantown Road and into Pebble Run.
This is where we had our last full water stop. I again asked Ryan how he felt. I told him we had the last 1.1 to go. He said he felt good. As for me – my quadriceps were beginning to burn. The last time I ran this long was the Indianapolis Half Marathon. I knew after work I would need more than a regular ice down. Ice bath and Therawheel would be in my future around 6 p.m.
“One mile and a tenth,” I said. “That’s what we have left. We have to finish these two streets before crossing the main road and then the home stretch. I want to pick up the pace here and then when we get to the arrow by the animal hospital I really want you to turn it on.”
“OK,” Ryan replied.
We did make it out of Pebble Run and ran by our church. I was beginning to feel my quads as we approached the arrow. Just over three-tenths of a mile at that point and Ryan was giving all he had. I told him to vision this being race day now. I wanted to him to think of making the turn from 17th St. to Washington Street in Columbus and passing people as he did at the Race Away Domestic Violence race back in June. Now heading down the final street and there were people out. Lately, Ryan has been making this “kiai” sound when he wants to get faster. The more he yelled the more others outside cheered him. As we approached our “finish line” one gentleman shouted “Hustle! All you got!”
We crossed both winded as we began to walk around the circle. Our neighbor, who I texted at our last water stop, came out and took our picture. Wendy was with Andrew and Luke at the boot camp.
We actually ran two-tenths more than 13.1. The trial run ended up being 13.32 in a time of 1:52:08.
I’d say TeamRueff is race ready.
How do you celebrate 13.32 miles – with a doughnut, of course,