Distance: 35 miles
Weather: Cool and sunny
Today's run was the longest run I've ever done...35 miles. Left the house around 5 a.m. to meet up with Steve G. for a long run on Denver's Highline Canal Trail. This mid-December run is an annual tradition with Steve and Kris L. Well, it's a budding tradition since this is the second annual Winter Highline Canal 50-mile Run. My plan was to run 30-35 miles, figuring biting off 50 miles at this stage of my training wouldn't be wise (and, I don't know that I could have made it another 15 miles, without entering the realm of pure agony).
Steve and I dropped my car at the 22-mile mark and headed over to the Highlands Ranch area where we hooked up with Kris, Phil K. and Thad, a friend of Steve's who was joining us for the first 13 miles. We set off together right around 6:30 a.m., with the morning light just beginning to kiss the eastern sky.
Our goal was to keep the pace easy, with a target pace of 9:20. Steve's wife, Kathi, was going to meet us at a couple of spots along the route for reprovisioning. The first 12 miles or so went quick and before I knew it we were at the Goodson Rec Center in Greenwood Village. We picked up some food, dropped some gear with Kathi and headed off. The sun now was up and the air was beginning to warm. It sure felt good to be running in shorts again.
Around the 20-mile mark, the dirt path along the canal turned to pavement. Kathi met us again around mile 23, near the location where I'd parked my car a few hours prior. My plan was to run a few more miles with the crew and turn around and run back to my car. Soon after setting off from rendezvous #2, I decided to aim for an even 35 miles. So, seven more miles on the pavement. When the Garmin clicked 29 miles, I said farewell to Steve, Kris and Phil and returned to my car. Those three were going the whole distance...50 miles. I managed to hold a low-to-mid 9 minute pace back to the car, but the last three miles were pretty damn uncomfortable. I was ready to be done.
Just over five and a half hours after we started, I was back at my car and pining for a burrito and the protein dosage it would provide.
I'm glad to know I can run for 35 miles, since the February Moab 50K is right about that distance (34 miles). The catch, of course, is that the Highline Canal is flat and the Moab course most certainly is not.
Can't wait to hear how the last 21 miles went for Steve, Kris and Phil.