The weekend got off to a debilitating start with a powerful four-pack during a Cavs win on Friday, which left me reeling the next morning, canceling my planned five-miler. Sunday quickly slipped away with Mother's Day festivities, but I was determined to complete my long run.
I planned a 10-miler, but I didn't plan my route very well. I eyeballed the Akron Marathon route and decided I'd run down my new favorite hill to the Towpath and follow the race course back home. "Yeah, that looks to be about 10 miles," I thought, as I threw on some appropriate clothing for the chilly night. I expected to be gone for an hour and 40 minutes.
By the time I got into Sand Run, I knew I had misjudged the distance. I had already been running for 50 minutes, and I knew I had at least six miles to go. Turned out to be more like seven. However, I felt surprisingly fresh and spry.
My quads felt a bit wrecked after I tried to wreck them by starting my run on the massive downhill, but I managed to keep my turnover fast by focusing on my form (bent knees, short strides). A couple of the later miles I timed were in the 9-9:30 range, and my overall average pace was 9:55 per mile.
Although the route turned out to be a hair over 12 miles, it was a great run and a solid marathon simulator. The Memorial Parkway hill is longer and about as steep as the Howard Street hill, and the route back home contains some of the toughest parts of the race, climbing out of the valley.