I knew this was going to be tough. I missed last week's 15-miler since I was out cavorting in the snow. The week before was right after Christmas and we ended up not having a formal group run, so I just did 10 miles on my own. I haven't run 17 miles in roughly two years. So, yeah, I knew I had my work cut out for me. All I could hope for is that the weather was decent and that my weekday runs would serve me well.
So, I was right. It was tough, and my weekday runs did serve me well. I faltered a little at the end, but only slowed down when the wind was just so brutally directly in our faces and I just couldn't keep the 11:30 pace we'd been dictated. And I didn't run the hill at the end. By that time, I was just ready to be done, and Jan had said there was no shame in walking the hill. So, not being one to argue, I didn't disagree and walked the hill. I probably could have run it, but by then, I was just ready to be done.
So, overall, I think I did fine. I survived, and I actually felt pretty good about it. I didn't negative-split it, that's for sure, but I was upright and smiling at the end, so that has to count for something.
Nutritionally, I did OK. I carried my own water bottle and sipped a bit at each mile (per the Garmin), so my hydration wasn't dictated by the coach laying out the water stops. I had cut some of the new PowerBar smoothie bars into chunks to use during the run. I like to use Clif Bloks because I just can't handle the texture of gels, but I can never find them when I need to (as in, at 6:15 on the way to the group run...), so I thought I'd try these. Hub and the Elder Child have had success with these after hockey, so I figured if I hated them, they could have them. But, they worked out pretty well, except for melting into a big blob in my beltpack and then hardening into a hard-to-bite lump with the cold. But the flavor was good and it was easy to digest. I may still experiment, but we'll see.
Here's the particulars:
Total Time: 3:19:44
Total Dist: 17.16
Avg Pace: 11:38
Best Pace: 8:01
So, what does that work out for the full? Let's see, a little quick math, and we end up with a 5:17. Crap. That's a full 5 minutes slower than my PR. I've got some work to do in the next few weeks. Of course, i could always hope that we don't have these wicked winds, but still, you can never account for what the weather in North Texas will do in February. Argh.