In the beginning of my training, I moved the week around so that when following the schedule I have my long runs on Thursday instead of Saturday. This has worked out well for me because I have had class on Thursday nights, which has meant that I have not had to work on a Thursday this whole semester. Since my work days are not your normal 9-5, and I am usually on my feet running around like a maniac for hours on end at work, I either count work days as a rest day or a cross training day. Sometimes I have been able to squeeze a run in before or after an event day, but I typically only need to once or maybe twice in a work weekend.
This past Thursday I didn't have class, so my mom and I went to my Grandpa's farm. I have gone running there numerous times in the past. However, on my past runs there, I was usually training for a half marathon rather than a full marathon. This meant that those runs were shorter, even though at the time, they may have been the longest I'd ever run. I remember they seemed long at the time.
So this week's long run of 12 miles was done at the farm on dirt and gravel roads that wind between fields and woods. It is a beautiful area. The run felt super long, which I blame on being in a different place than usual and never having run so long in this area, even though compared to my 20 miles last week, it was only a medium run. I also tend to think of the area as fairly flat, but it isn't. There are some pretty massive dips and climbs, put there by the old strip mines for coal. There were four places where all I could see was a wall of road looming up above me, which was preceded by a steep downhill. On one downhill, my shoes were sliding on the gravel and I was sure I was going to slip and fall on my rear end. Is this where "bite the dust" comes from? The uphills weren't as awful as they looked, but I was definitely aware that I have not had hills in my training runs thus far. I live in flat Chicagoland. Aside from the trash dumps, which I cannot and would not run on, I know of only one rise substantial enough to be called a hill within a 10 mile radius. If I ran there, I would be running in circles barely bigger than my basement circle. Ok, a little bigger than that, but still. The hills near the farm, though, have shown me that maybe a loop around and around this hill would be worth it so I at least know how to run hills.
The big question in my mind now is: Are there hills on my marathon loop? There shouldn't be too many and they shouldn't be too huge if they do exist, but I am a little nervous to find out!