I've run a lot of doubles. In fact, I typically run at least two, sometimes three, doubles per week when I'm in the thick of training for a race. These typically consists of an easy 6-8 miles on roads in the morning before work and then 4-5 miles on hilly trails, usually Lookout Mtn, at lunchtime. Nothing spectacular, just an easy way to get in double-digit miles for the day while sneaking in some trail runs.
This past Saturday, I ran a very different double. With the Red Hot 55K only four weeks away, I wanted to for sure get in a long run. Shannon and the kids were planning on running the Snowman Shuffle 5K/1K in Spearfish on Saturday morning, followed by a basketball game for Caiden (whose team I coach) in the afternoon. I knew that if I was going to get a long run in on Saturday, it would be best to get it over with before all of that stuff started, so I woke up well before the crack of dawn on Saturday and set out for my run. The plan was to run from Belle Fourche to Spearfish along the backroads, which would end up being about 18 miles and allow me to meet the family at the city park for their race.
Initially, my run didn't feel all that great. My legs felt fine, but I was moving much slower than it felt like I should be moving. For a long run, that's not really that big of a deal and it's a typical occurrence when I run really early in the morning, but it was still annoying me. Besides that, it felt much colder than the temperature WeatherBug had led me to believe it would be...cold enough that the tube on my hydration pack kept freezing up, which was further annoying me. Finally, though, I moved into a pocket of warmer air (another typical occurrence on early morning winter runs) and fell into a solid groove (yet another typical long run occurrence) and started feeling pretty good as the sun came up. I cruised into the park 18 miles later with about 15 minutes left before the race was to start. My legs still felt pretty fresh so I decided that since I was there and there was a race, I might as well run the damn thing.
After watching the kids 1K, where Caiden and Chloe placed 1st and 3rd, respectively, we lined up for the 5K. Full-on honesty, there were only 25 or so people there, so this wasn't a stacked field by any means. But there was one guy I knew, Carlos, who I struggle to keep up with on fresh legs, much less on 18 mile legs. The gun sounded and Carlos was nice enough to let me hang with him and chat a bit until we hit the water station at about halfway and then he was gone. I kept cruising and my legs actually felt pretty good, I just didn't have a ton of speed. Ended up with a 20:50 (my Garmin measured the course a bit short) and 2nd place. And the best part? Since the race was a fundraiser for the local Girl Scout troop, they had free samples of Girl Scout cookies at the finish. Not a bad end to a 21 mile day!