I had some reservations about today's long run, since I didn't feel as well-prepared as I did last time (nutrition not quite as good lately, pizza for dinner last night, not much sleep last night, not to mention worried about my seemingly-healed quad), but it went really well! My goal was to run for about the same amount of time as last time (3:30), but cover about a half mile more to get over 21 miles.
I got up very early this morning to watch a live webcast of the London Marathon (great motivation!) and then set off for the trail. I needed to go early anyway since the high today was 80 degrees and not a cloud in the sky. I was glad I did! In fact, it was so cool this morning that I wore a thin pullover for the first 4.5 miles. It warmed up nearly 20 degrees during the course of the run, but it didn't seem to be bothering me too much. It was really a glorious day for running though--the weather in the morning could not have been more perfect. I hope the weather on race day is like this. I am SO GLAD that I got a pair of sunglasses for running though. That really helped. They're just a cheapie pair from Target, but they stay on fine and are not uncomfortable.
I tried to run comfortable and relaxed while picking up the pace slightly, and it seemed to work. Once I got into a groove, it felt fine running about a 9:53 pace. Quads started to ache a little around halfway through--but the "good" kind of ache, not the injured kind. It wasn't too bad, just kept going. Can't really say if it was better than last time, but considering the faster pace, I think it must have been. I never felt like I needed to stop, and I felt like I could have kept going at the end.
Here's the really miraculous part of the day. I made a huge mistake--I forgot to put on Vaseline! For a 21-miler! I actually didn't realize until about mile 20...because there was no chafing. Normally I am extremely prone to chafing. Depending on the shorts, it can start within just a few miles on a humid day. The reason I like the Nike Tempo Track Shorts is that I don't have so many chafing issues with them. But even with them, it can happen in as little as ten miles. So to have no chafing from shorts, sports bra, or shirt was almost unreal. I think I've found my lucky racing outfit. ;)
Two more weeks of hard training, one more long run...then the taper. Wow, time flies. This is definitely shaping up to be the best cycle of training I've ever had, by far. All I have to do is stay healthy.