There’s something about 16-milers

Yesterday was only my second ever 16-miler, and I’m still trying to make up my mind whether or not I like them :).

Last season’s 16-miler was a groundbreaker for me–it was the longest run I had ever done up to that point (remember, I had done only half-marathons at that point, and training runs never exceeded 12 miles for those, although I once attempted a 14-miler in a prior season, to see whether I wanted to train for a full–needless to say, I did not continue on with a full that season ;)). I was full of anticipation, fear, and doubt, and the fact that it was on the Lake Merced course didn’t help.

Lake Merced, for those who don’t know, is an energy-sucking place of doom. Or at least, that’s how I and my running buddies view it ;). Every run we’ve ever had on that course has been tough, and last season was no exception. By the time the 16-miler was done, I felt relief and pride over having reached that distance, but I have to admit, the during part was complete torture.

Having had one of these under my belt, I figured things could only look up for this season’s 16-miler. And, well, for the most part, it WAS better. How much better, though, is up for debate ;).

First off, we returned to Coyote Creek, which also was a tough run the first time. But I remembered hanging on quite admirably on that course last season, so I figured I had the odds on my side. But as soon as I took my first few strides, I knew it wasn’t going to be a fantastic run (nothing like last week’s 14-miler, let’s just say). I felt tired, sluggish, and just generally, blah. Fortunately, Janine suggested a 3:1 interval instead of our usual 4:1 (unfortunately, she suggested this because she was injured :(), so that helped, but after our first out-and-back of 3 miles, I already knew I’d need to write this off as one of those so-so runs that I’d endure and then file away as a fluke.

Not that there weren’t highlights on this run. Mentor Amy, who was manning a water stop, brought yummy chocolate chip cookies for us to feast on; so did Mentor Victoria, whose homemade peanut butter chocolate chip cookies were the stuff of legends and inspired me to make a batch today. And of course, there was the post-run lunch with the girls (and this time, Captain Mike Z joined us!) which is always tons of fun.

But all in all, not my greatest run of the season, and I am looking forward to the 18-miler at beautiful Natural Bridges to vindicate myself. I’m also looking forward to Janine recovering fully from her shin injury since I know Natural Bridges is one of her favorites as well.

Onward and upward!

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