Yes, that title deserved to be in all caps.
In the 18 months that I've been running, today was by far my best run in so many ways.
1. Weather was perfect. High 60's/Low 70's, a tad bit overcast but still sunny, slight breeze
2. The clothes I wore to run in turned out to be perfect- its silly how things like that can make or break a run, but trust me it can. I wore a running skirt with a dry fit racerbank tank. I usually hate to run in shorts because they ride up and I end up chafing. The skirt has built in shorts underneath (compression style, but not super tight) and they didn't ride up AT ALL and I didn't chafe a bit. I didn't even have to adjust as I ran (TMI but true!). I decided I'm going to do all my long training runs in this exact outfit, and it will also be what I wear on the day of my half.
3. I felt ready from the start. I wasn't dreading the upcoming 8 miles, I was actually looking forward to it. I didn't have anywhere to be afterwards so I wasn't feeling rushed and I was just excited to conquer the 8 miles.
4. For some reason, I ran faster than normal. Usually all my long runs have a 13:XX pace, occasionally a 12:XX pace but today- my overall pace was 11:30! (11:50 if you count my 5 min warm up and 5 min cooldown). I was on fire! I know some will laugh because 11:30 seems like a snails pace to them...but for me its really good. If I continue all my long runs over the next month at or around that same pace, I'll be able to PR by at least 20 minutes on my half next month. My original goal was just to BEAT my last time (3:00, 13:48 pace) even if just by 15 seconds, but I think I'll be able to kill it!
5. I was not tired AT ALL. Like I probably could have comfortably run another 2 miles. I was hot and sweaty, but my breathing was under control and my legs were still feeling strong. I didn't keep going only because I had just passed by the house and saw Wayman & the boys in the front yard playing. I knew he was waiting on me to help him clean the garage so I just ended at 8.03, which I had originally planned anyway.
6. I didn't have to stop to walk AT ALL! I usually take my GU around mile 4 (training to take them at 4, 8 & 12 for the half) but today I got all the way up to 6.5 miles before I felt like I needed the pick-me-up. I could have easily gone the entire 8 miles without it, but who wants to pass up a little packet of yummy chocolate goodness? Certainly not me ;) I stopped only long enough to rip it open, eat it and throw the wrapper in the trash- maybe 30 seconds total, but thats being generous. I think it was probably more like 15-20. I really think I'll be able to run all 13.1 miles without stopping this time. In November (my very first half marathon) I probably walked at least 3-4 miles combined during different parts of the race. I had lost about 55 pounds at that point and had fully completed Hal Higdon's half marathon training program. I felt completely prepared, but by mile 11 I was WIPED out. I wanted to cry, give up and call for someone to pick me up. Obviously I didn't, and I kept going and lived to tell about it :) It was not easy for me at all, but I feel like this time is going to be different. I'm another 20 pounds lighter (75 pounds lost total since the beginning) and I feel like I'm in much better shape. I'm cross training this time (elliptical & more strength) and I just feel like I'm more confident and ready for some reason. A lot probably has to do with the fact that its not my first time and I'll know what to expect.
I felt so good afterwards that I took a quick shower and threw a pair of shorts and a t-shirt on and went and cleaned out the garage for 2 hours with Wayman. We did a major overhaul and went through tons of boxes and tubs to get rid of stuff at the yardsale we're having next weekend. I re-organized all the shelves, swept every square inch of space and made a nice workout area in one corner with my elliptical, yoga mat, handweights, jumpropes, medicine ball, etc. We have a punching bag that was given to us, I just need to find a stand (craigslist maybe?) because Wayman doesn't want to hang it from the rafters. I'd also love to get a kettlebell weight sometime also. We flipped the elliptical around so instead of facing the open garage, it faces the wall with the shelves. I'm going to start taking the laptop out there and setting it on the shelf in front of me so that I can watch shows on Hulu I while I workout. I'm sure it will make the time fly by ;) Even though I've burned 1000+ calories today and should technically take it easy the rest of the day- I'm dying to try out the new setup so after the boys go to bed tonight, workout #2 of the day will happen!