A lot has happened in the last 2 weeks. I’ll start with my 4 mile run last Tuesday. I was in Pittsburgh for work and decided to bring my running clothes and try to sneak in a run before work. I did research of the area (Google street view works great) around the hotel and decided that I’d take to the local neighborhood roads off the main drag for my morning run. I convinced my boss to run with me, letting him know that I found some neighborhoods that we could run through. We took off from the hotel, turned the corner and immediately hit a huge half-mile hill. I lived in Pittsburgh for 6 months in 2006 and ran a lot when I was there. I know the topography of Pittsburgh is hilly but wasn’t quite prepared for the first hill, or the second, or the third, or the fourth…you know where this is going. It’s been awhile since I’ve done hills, but it felt good, and my paces improved each mile (9:59, 9:51, 9:12, 9:04).
Fast forward to this past weekend and the 14 mile long run. This was the longest run that I’ve ever done and is something that I’m pretty proud of. It’s not 26.2, but I’m getting there. What felt good about this run was that I was able to keep a steady sub-9:00 mile/pace for the majority of the run, only slowing down to 9:45/mile after I hit 13.1. In a previous blog post, I mentioned the mental and physical barriers I’ve encountered during all three of my half-marathons (see this post). This run confirmed that I can keep a steady pace for an entire half-marathon and that I’m on the right path toward my marathon goals. Another observation from the run: I took my water bottle belt (reviewed here) filled with water initially and brought a Nuun tablet for electrolyte replenishment that I was planning to use halfway through the run. At our turnaround point, there was a water fountain, so I decided to refill my water bottle and test out the Nuun tablet. I liked the flavor, but an unintended side effect was the reaction of the tablet with water that resulted in gas release (similar to an antacid) and subsequent bubbling out of the top of my water bobble, which then dripped down my leg. That lasted a mile, before I chugged some, and dumped the rest. Not sure what I’ll do differently next time.
This weekend’s run is 15 miles, before dropping back to 13 next weekend (which aligns well with the Rock and Roll Philly half). I haven’t decided what my goal is for this half. I’m thinking that I’ll try running reverse splits (that would be new to me in a race), but will really depend on how I’m feeling on race day. I could also target somewhere in the 8:30-9:30/mile range and stick with it (as Tony Horton would say) for the whole race. Either way, I’m looking forward to bringing it (another shout out to Tony, who is in DC this weekend for a 5k; Kathleen, Matt, and I all ran this race last year, and we all beat Tony by a substantial amount).