Just before the trip, I went on a 15-mile run that really sucked. I was sore and exhausted almost from the moment I started. I had to take a mile-long walking break in the middle in addition to my usual short walking breaks that happen every three miles, and I still only barely got through it. I'm still trying to figure out what exactly went wrong. I know that I ate enough food and got enough sleep, so I think it was probably just that I hadn't been stretching enough in the previous couple of days. I have this bad habit of not stretching as much as I should, and it really messes me up.
So anyway. I only did two short runs the week of the trip, and then took a few days off running after getting home. I was overdue for a 16-mile run, and was really scared to do it, because I was afraid it would be a World of Pain even worse than the 15-miler. But I finally went ahead and did it on Thursday evening, and it was great. At every three-mile break, I could feel the soreness soak a little further into my calves, but in a good way, in the best way that working out can make me feel. I just felt strong, healthy, and full of joy and energy. This is why I run. And I thought it would take three hours, but I managed to finish in 2 hours and 40 minutes, or an average of 10 minutes per mile. If I can keep that up for the entire race, then finishing in 4:30:00 is actually possible. I'm trying not to obsess about it too much, though, because I don't want to be thinking about time at all during the race -- I just want to chill and have fun. All the same, it would be really cool if I could beat my previous time of 4:53:17.