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the countdown starts

No Sunday is complete without a photo of my post-run meal. Today's feast was a housemade veggie burger and fries from Station House Cafe.

That's right -- we ran trails in Point Reyes this morning -- the Earthquake Trail (a paved loop run in the darkness of early morning, and my hands were so cold I had to tuck them inside my sleeves), Rift Zone Trail (imagine meadow after meadow of grazing cows and their calves, followed by a winding path through ferns and over wooden bridges) and Bear Valley Trail (which took us out to Arch Rock and a view of fog rising over the ocean).

I did a total of 18 miles. While this wasn't the 20 or 22 the rest of the group did (and which I had originally planned on before the injury), I'm very happy. I had thought I'd only be able to reach 16 prior to race day, so 18 is an accomplishment. For the most part, it was a strong run (slow and steady), though my left knee did start acting up a little bit toward the end (probably traces of the Runner's Knee debacle I dealt with earlier in the training cycle). But the right leg was fine -- no pain!

Other positives: I don't feel beat up the way I did after other 18-milers. And I think I may have finally figured out a nutrition plan that works for me: Honey Stingers in Gold flavor (tastes just like straight honey -- so much better than the fake-sweet GU gels and doesn't make my stomach cramp or make me want to gag) every four miles and Endurolyte electrolyte capsules every six, with a bite of a granola bar thrown in there to keep the hunger down. I actually felt energetic throughout the whole run, didn't have hunger pangs halfway through, didn't feel like I was going to crap my pants or barf and didn't experience any leg cramping. Yes!

After the run, our group celebrated with mimosas, cupcakes and cookies (yes, all of this while stretching and wiping the trail dust off of our legs). This was our last long run before tapering starts. I've really grown to love this group, and I know I'll be thinking about them when I'm in Portland.

Can't believe it's only two weeks away!

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