Today was my long run. I upped my short run distance to 4.5 miles and today had planned on 7 to 7.5 miles, with a decent warm up and cool down too. So, after the family visited the barber shop for Peter and Bobby to get haircuts (pictures soon- B's too darn cute for his own good!), we went to the farm and picked up provisions then met Peter's dad (aka Grandpa) for lunch at a restaurant near there. The kids crashed in the car on the way home and, after we got them in their beds and squared away, I suited up for my run.
We are really fortunate to have great trails in Montgomery County. I drove out to one of the trailheads of the Perkiomen Trail near our old house and got ready to go. The trail is marked in 1/2 mile increments, which makes it easy to know where you are going and to keep up with your distance. This particular entrance was at mile 7.5, so I walked a half mile warm up and started running at mile 7. My goal was to make at least 7 miles before I passed out and, hopefully, the full 7.5 mile goal.
The trail is beautiful as it winds up and down in gentle slopes and follows the river through the townships of the county. I had decided from the start to keep a slower, 5mph or so pace (which, by the end, I had!) because speed wasn't what I was going for- distance was. As I ran, it struck me that it wasn't hard. I mean, it was definitely not walking, but I wasn't out of breath or even tired. I had fueled my body well with lunch (we ate the breakfast bar) and I had my fuel belt full of water, which I drank from every mile. I passed the first mile of running and the second... and I was fine. Then the third and the fourth... still fine, invigorated even! By the fifth mile, I was thinking "I could run all day!".
Sarah had agreed to meet me at the end, since it was near her house, and drive me back to my car (and then join us for dinner) and, imagine how cool it was, to see her at mile marker 1, with a smile and a cheer! I passed her and took it all the way to the 0 marker, where the trail hits the Schuylkill Trail and turned around. I was still going!!! As I approached the 1/2m marker, I didnt want to stop, but I did... The last thing I want to do is hurt myself by not adequately cooling down. So I stopped and walked... And drank my DELICIOUS Cheribundi (OH MY GOODNESS- if you havent tried this, you must! It REALLY is like drinking cherry pie!) as a recovery drink (it's tart cherry juice... so good!).
I have been on cloud 9 all day. My winter run, although short, is still my favorite run, but honestly, this is a close second. For the outing, I ended up with 8.5 miles, 7.5 miles of which were run at a steady pace!