Last weekend the training class ran 12 miles. Our usual group formed at the back of the pack with Rick, Erin, Chris, Maria, Erik and myself. Kristy wanted to get some extra rest and did not join us, however Lamont was with us for the first part of the run and Eric joined us the entire way. As we got going Erik and I had a chance to talk about what his plans were beyond the marathon. He had mentioned possibly working up to an ultra. I suggested trying the 25k at Afton this year and possibly looking for a fall marathon like twin cities. Rick has joked in the past that he doesn't like to see people he knows sign up for marathons because he knows how hard and unpleasant the training and the event can be. While this is said in a joking tone, I can see there's more then just a bit of truth to it. I know Erik can finish the 25k at Afton and after enough time has passed after the event he'll probably convince himself that it was fun like I've done, but while he's running those 15.5 miles up and down the hills in the heat he'll probably be cursing my name. Afton was a great learning experience and running the 25k last year helped me get through trail mix this year.
After around 4 miles we arrived at the Y and most of the group hit up the bathroom there. Heading out from the Y we kept up our pace which so far had been a bit faster then our normal long run pace. We did yet another 4 mile loop of 8th and 9th streets before getting back to the Y for another rest stop. I'm definitely looking forward to after the marathon when I won't have to run in that area again for another 6 months. The last 4 miles I worked to keep our pace constant with what we'd done already, I wanted to average 11:30 over all 12 miles, about the same pace as our last mile the previous week. With about a mile to go Erin and Eric started to pick up the pace but a held back a little. With half a mile left our group had gotten a little spread out and I decided to make my move on Erin. I picked up the pace to what felt like about a 5k effort and closed the gap on Eric and Erin quickly. Feeling good I kept this effort up until I reached the dome and finished the last mile. After the Garmin beeped with the completed lap I look and saw that my last mile was around 9:30. I feel good being able to do that at the end of a 12 mile run. The rest of the group finished shortly after I did. I felt proud of the effort everyone put in and the pace we were able to keep throughout the run. Only 1 more Saturday run left until the big day.