So I decided to go to church before heading out on this lovely little 18mile adventure. I figured I'd eat my Cookies'n'Cream PowerBar, go to church, and then go run as to simulate the amount of time I'll be eating my PowerBar before a real race. Boy, did that work perfectly.
I wasn't expecting to set any records on this run, but I'm pretty sure I finished in my fastest long-run speed ever (besides in a tempo or a race) just based on feel. The first 5 miles just FLEW by and I left thinking, "I'm almost 1/3 of the way done with this thing!" I decided to take a gel at mile 10 or 11 because that's where I knew I'd be able to find a garbage can to dispose of the wrapper. This also happened to be right before my "lake loop" (a 4.4 mile loop around Main Beach/Crystal Lake...my dad's Hillstriders running club does this loop every Tuesday night in the summer, so I grew up LOVING it).
The next four miles got faster and faster. Every time I'd look at my watch, I did a reality check as I truly did not think I had just split that time. The gel was making me run so fast that I felt like how people do when they describe being on drugs. That was the only relatable thing I could come up with then and even now.
My last seven mile splits (after taking the gel) were 7:07, 7:01, 7:01, 6:58, 6:55, 6:48, 6:45.
I'm just going to throw it out there...PowerBar Gels work. If you need further proof, look below at my splits.
7:34, 7:19, 7:25, 7:22, 7:12, 7:14, 7:24, 7:14, 7:13, 7:09, 7:06, 7:07, 7:01, 7:01, 6:58, 6:55, 6:48, 6:45.
On another note, as I was finishing my "lake loop," I passed by a runner doing the CL 1/2... HUGE shout out to Megan Hode, who ROCKED her 25th birthday by PRing by 6 freaking minutes. What a STUD!:)