I woke up a little after 7am and headed out the door. I munch on half a Clif Bar on my way to Flatwoods Park while drinking water. I had been to Flatwoods once before and really enjoyed it. It's a flat course with shade and no traffic. There is a $2 fee to park since it's a Regional Park.
I was under the impression that the full loop was 7 miles long so I took off in the direction that everyone else was headed in. As I said, this trail is paved and partially shaded, which is great for hot Florida mornings. While it's the first day of winter, it was about 75 degrees outside at 8:30am with about 50% humidity. The good thing about this is that it may be that hot on race day so it's good to get acclimated to those possible conditions.
The first few miles were easy. I soon was at the first water spot that is around mile 2. At mile 5.5, I made my third stop at a water stop was studied the map that was there of the trail. It seem there was still a long way to go to make the full loop back to my car. It was at this point that I realized that the full loop was actually 11 miles long and I still had 5.5 more miles before I would see my car again. I have to admit this got to my head a little bit. It was hot, I was starting to get tired and I was only half way done. I made a decision right there to just continue with my walk/run intervals until mile 8 (my original training distance) and just walk the rest.
As I trucked along the trails, I imagined myself on Walt Disney World property enjoying the sights and sounds of the Princess Half. These visions and the music playing in my ears got me through the next couple of miles. Before I knew it, I had reached mile 8. I checked my RunKeeper app and was glad to see that I had maintained a high 15 minute mile even with the water stops and the extended stop at mile 5.5. This made me feel great and gave me confidence that I could stay in front of the balloon ladies and complete my first half marathon in February.
The remainder 3 miles were long. It was hot. I was done yet my car seemed so far away. I walked and walked until I finally saw familiar surroundings that indicated I was getting closer to my car.
Finally I made it to the final turn that was the last mile back to the parking area. The entire 11 miles took me 3 hours 3 minutes and 40 seconds with a 16:41 average mile pace. I was pleased with this because it was further confirmation that I could finish the race in February. I was tired but felt good.
So next weekend is 9 miles on the schedule. I'll return to Flatwoods but will get up earlier to avoid the heat even though it is suppose to be a little cooler next weekend.
There are just 2 months left until race day...............
Who else is as excited as I am???????????