I woke up a little before 4AM Saturday. Ate some Oatmeal, drank some water, got my stuff ready and off the East Troy I went for my long run. The plan was to run the super hilly loop 4 times. I have done 3 loops before but never 4 loops before. 4 loops would equal 26.3 miles over nothing but hills. This should give you an idea of the elevation changes in the loop I did.
Like I said, I did 4 loops but every time I finished a loop, I reversed directions for the next loop.
I started running at just before 5:00AM and it was still quite dark. The moon was sometimes peeking out from the clouds, but otherwise, this is the country so no street lights or the such. It was windy and cool (Mid to upper 40's) so I made sure I put on my orange reflective vest, at least for the first 2 loops I did.
Right before mile 4, a deer jumped out of a corn field about 100 feet ahead of me. It startled me and I hoped there were not any more, at least I didn't see anymore. Every loop I took 2 breaks for water and 30 seconds of walking. these grew longer on the last loop but otherwise short. I finished the first loop in 1:05:36, slow but just as planned. Still dark. Finally at about mile 11, the sun peeked out and was it bright. I was running with the sun to my back for 2 miles now and had to make sure I went way into the gravel shoulder as cars approached because I could tell they couldn't see me at all. Loop 2 was 1:05:31, a full 5 seconds faster.
Loops 3started well but the legs were a bit tired already. I got the the long, steady downhill portion of Hwy 120 when I could hear a car behind me slowing down. Nothing unusual as I get asked for directions often when running. End up it was Mike saying "hi". He was going to a local 5K, knew I was out here, so drove to say Hi and see how I was doing. After he took off, i had 1 1/2 loops to go. I finish loop 3 in 1:06:23, a bit slower but OK.
I dreaded loop 4 as I knew what I was in for. The legs were already tired and I had over 6 1/2 miles of hills to contend with. The worst of the hills were in the first 2 miles. One so steep you couldn't run down it, you had to mostly walk/run otherwise you would lose control. Then the way back up where at some points, the only way to keep running is to be up on your toes pushing. Mentally I stayed strong and muscled up the big hill and didn't even stop for a rest until 1 mile later at the 'regular' rest area. I also had to go up the long, steady hill on Hwy 120 (between miles 2 & 3 on the chart) but surprisingly, that went good. I knew I was slower this loop and the finally 2 miles had quite a bit into the wind. I was still slow but looked at the time with a little to go. If i picked it up, I could possibly still do this loop in under 1:10. I picked it up and pushed but ended up at exactly 1:10:00 for loop 4.
My total time for 26.3 miles was 4:27:31. It is slow compared to what I can run that distance in, but the goal today was a slow steady run. Check. Another goal was to get another long run in with lots of hills to get ready for the Monkey. Check. Get in my final long run before tapering for Grand Rapids in 3 week. Check. It was very hilly so I can't complain. I have just over 50 miles in for the week so now I can enjoy decreasing those miles as I prepare for the fall marathons.
I know some of you race this weekend. I hope it went good.