Peak Long Run

Two days after my last whiny post about not having confidence in myself I ended up having a great final long run before the marathon. It was the best long run that I can remember in my five years of marathoning.

John and I started from the Keva Sports Center in Middleton, where the Haunted Hustle 26.2 starts. Before arriving at our starting point we stashed a jug of water in a ditch where I knew we would pass by three times on our route. This way I wouldn’t have to wear my Fuel Belt and could just carry my hand held water bottle. The Fuel Belt just feels heavy with 2-4 bottles of water hanging on my waist.

The route we took was the meat and potatoes of the Haunted Hustle marathon course. There’s a short stem from Keva Sports Center and goes out to a five-ish mile loop. The loop is beautiful! Part of it is through Pheasant Branch Conservancy with compact trail terrain. Once you leave the conservancy the route has what feels like three miles of long, slow uphill, and the uphill ends with a bigger, steep hill.

Pictures never do it justice, but this is the big one!

On our first loop I couldn’t believe how great my legs felt. I was a little worried the second loop might be tough, but my legs carried me through! My slowest split was 10:30 when we hit the big, steep hill for the second time. We ended up running 18.46 miles in 3 hours, with an average of 9:47. I was shooting for a 9:45 pace, I’m really happy with this!

in the Pheasant Branch Conservancy part of the course

Things that helped make this run a success:

  • Positive self talk
  • Paying attention to my form
  • Starting and shooting for a reasonable pace

Maybe there’s actually something to that whole positive self talk thing! Just telling myself things like “You don’t get better by walking hills” and even a simple “Believe” kept me moving. I didn’t even come close to going anywhere dark in my head. All in all, I’m happy with everything about this!

I’ve never trained for a marathon with a course as challenging at the Haunted Hustle’s and I’ve never felt more ready!

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