I was anxious all week for Saturday - the 18 mile run - what was (and is) the longest distance I have ever run. The weather could not have been better - at 7:30 am, when I woke up, it was 42 degrees! Very similar to the temperatures I will be experiencing in London in April. I made the short drive to Flatwoods and started the run. I felt shaky for mile 1 - this always happens, just my body getting into a rhythm. The next few miles felt great - I ran the first half of the loop and sidetracked out to the Bruce B. Downs lot, then turned around to finish the first loop. At mile 11 (the end of the first loop), I still felt good. I had been drinking water every mile and had my first energy gel at mile 9 (when they give you the same thing in all the half marathons I've done). It wasn't until mile 14 that I started to have to push myself mentally. I had another energy gel at mile 13, but it was not filling me with anything extra. I had enough in my tank to finish - it was just a mental challenge. I kept telling myself not to look at my Garmin because I would look at it in disbelief that I was not farther along...i.e. I seemed to run 0.2 miles in like 12 minutes.
Regardless of my troubles, I finished. I ran 18 miles in 3 hours, 9 minutes and 47 seconds (average of 10:33 per mile pace). I also ran the half marathon in 2 hours, 15 minutes - a personal record! Extrapolating from my time for 18 miles, my marathon time would be 4 hours, 35 minutes and 6 seconds. However, my pace slowed the entire run (with the exception of a "surge" of speed at mile 11 and 12). I'm aiming for under 5 hours as a tertiary goal. Primarily, I want to finish. Secondarily, have a blast.
Slightly less involved workouts next week. :)