Had a good 20 km run this morning, my longest so far this summer. It was a beautiful sunny morning for it. I'm always more motivated when the sun is shining! And it was pleasantly cool, at least early on.
When I started I wasn't sure how far I was going to go for my regular Sunday morning run. I wanted to run the 18 km loop around the new bridge but the farthest I'd been this summer was 13 km, and my knee and back have been complaining occasionally. My running hasn't been as consistent this summer since we've been away for a couple of extended trips. I'd just about convinced myself that 18 km was pushing it, and that I'd just do 15 km. I'm all for pushing occasionally, but on the other hand, I don't really want to do any damage. My body doesn't recover from abuse quite as easily as it did once upon a time.
But the older I get, the less I feel I can wait for the "perfect" moment, so when I got to the turnoff and was feeling good I went for the longer loop. It was nice to cover some new ground. We're so lucky to have the trails along the riverbank. About a third of the time I could run on the dirt trails lower on the riverbank, and the rest was along the Meewasin trail, with only a few blocks of running along streets.
I've been doing my longer runs averaging 11 km/hr so since I was aiming for farther today I set a target of 10 km/hr. Without my gps watch I suspect I would have settled into a slightly slower pace, but it turned out just about right and I had no trouble keeping that pace for the whole run.
At one point there was balding grey haired somewhat rounded man running ahead of me. He looked like he was moving very slowly, but it seemed to take forever to pass him. Either he was moving faster than he looked (my preferred interpretation!) or else my own pace was less impressive than I'd like to think.
When I get to the end of the loop I felt good enough, and my pace was still holding up, so I added another extra two kilometers to make a round 20. It wasn't till the last kilometer that my knee started bothering me. It's possible that was just its current limit. But the timing seems suspicious and I wonder if it wasn't just lodging a formal complaint against those extra 2 km. As soon as I stopped it was fine, so no big deal either way.
To a serious runner, 20 km in 2 hours is no big deal. Not even a half marathon, and a pretty slow pace. Of course, to a non runner it's an unimaginable ordeal. Given my current level of training it's about as far as I'd want to go. And yet it was enough within my abilities that I could enjoy it. Technically, I cheated since I made my usual coffee stop, making it a 14 km run, a short break (not counted in the 2 hours), and then a 6 km run. If that makes me a less "serious" runner, that's ok with me :-)