running on a prayer

this morning i ran my longest run ever - 9 miles today. i had such anxiety about it, that i tossed and turned all night. i mean, could i really do this?

veronica (who's also running the big sur half) and i headed out to sawyers camp equipped with our drinks (grape-flavored propel for me) and 100-calorie snacks. we planned to sip drinks every 2 miles and eat the snack at the half way point - sustenance.

we walked for the first half mile to warm-up and then did some mild stretching, before starting the run. it was early and cold, but i knew it would warm up quickly.

sawyers camp is a 12-mile trail (6 miles in, 6 miles out). although i'd run there a ton of times before, i'd only gone as far as the 3-mile marker (6-mile runs). this was going to be new territory for me. sawyers camp is a great place to run because:

1. its asphalt - which dr naylor tells me is more forgiving than concrete
2. its covered so always cool
3. the scenery is beautiful - in fact its common to see deer along the trail
4. there's always other people there and it feels safe
5. its flat

we had a great start and by the time we got to the 3-mile marker, i was looking forward to see what was beyond. i quickly found out that it was all HILLS. yes, HILLS i tell you.

i was dying. it was so not what i expected. in my head, i cursed every person who told me to go past 3 miles because none of them told me about the hills. by the time we got to the steepest hill, my heart rate was so high, my legs were burning badly and i thought i was going to start to cry. luckily, we were at the 5-mile marker which was our turnaround point.

as we made the turn, we took out our snacks. i never realized how hard it would be to eat/chew. i felt sick but forced myself to eat the zone bar because i knew i needed the carbs. and its a good thing i did because the second half of the run was where fatigue started to set in. we had a good recovery running down the steep hill but the rolling hills afterward were challenging. all i could think of was:

1. michi telling me, "whatever you do, don't stop!"
2. dave telling me not to be a wimp

at the uphill stretch toward the 7-mile marker the carbs set in and i got a burst of energy and surged ahead. next 1.5 mile seemed to fly by. but the last half mile was really tough. really tough. my feet was burning and my sholders were aching from carrying my water bottle. i was about to start walking when "living on a prayer" (by bon jovi) came on:

"Weve got to hold on ready or not
You live for the fight when its all that you've got!"

this song got me through to the end. and it felt so good. i mean really good. that post-run feeling is exhilirating. a total high. the aches and pains are worth it.

the results?

total distance: 9 miles
total time: 1:35:20.14
average pace: 10:36/mi
avg speed: 5.7 mph
max speed: 7.3 mph

much better than what we expected and i know the food, drinks and music made all the difference! next up - 10 miles next weekend.