62 degrees! That was the temperature when we woke up at 7 am on Saturday. We hadn’t seen that number in awhile. Matt and Mike headed out on their 15 mile run around 8 am. I left around 8:30 am. It was nice not having to rush out to beat the heat. I really like having my hair tightly back, although I often don’t have time to french braid it. Saturday I took my time leaving – had a cup of coffee, french-braided my hair.
I started off too fast and really had to focus on going slow. I wanted to keep my pace between 9:30 and 10:00 minute miles. Since I’m bumping up my miles aggressively each week, I want to be very careful with not injuring myself by overdoing it and going too fast. I love running on the National Mall all the time but especially this time of year with all the runners training for marathons. At some points, it really felt like I was in a (slow) race. Even though I was running by myself technically, it was nice to be surrounded by other runners. I also love the Mall because of the loose gravel rather than pavement to run on, the frequent water fountains, the restrooms, the people watching and the gorgeous scenery.
I decided against wearing my Nathan 4 bottle water belt because my stomach was feeling a little off in the morning and I didn’t want anything tight around my stomach for 9ish miles. I actually really don’t like wearing it. I’ve only worn it once so I can’t give a valid review. I just don’t like things strapped around my waist. So I carried my Nathan large bottle, filled with water and 1/2 of a Nuun lemonade tablet. I continued on past the Lincoln Memorial to Arlington National Cemetery. I was a little nervous – I hadn’t run this far in a long time, but I tried not to think about that as I ran. I couldn’t help put some pressure on this run. If I couldn’t do it, then the half marathon would be out of the question. I really can’t afford any more setbacks if I want to be able to do the marathon. I had an Accel vanilla energy gel at mile 4.5 at Arlington Cemetery entrance. Matt described the flavor well – “It tastes like vanilla frosting on a cupcake that has been sitting in the sun too long.” This time I was able to squeeze the whole pack down in one try. This is really the first gel I’ve ever had so I don’t have much to compare it to, but it’s pretty good. I notice a big energy jump after I have one.
Looping back to the Mall, I refilled my water bottle at the WWII Memorial (one of the better fountains with a large arc – easy to fill) and threw in a half of a Nuun tablet. I wasn’t feeling as great as I felt last Saturday. My legs felt tired, my knees were sore, and I was ready to be done. At about mile 7.5, I popped a Powerbar Energy Blast. I sampled these an expo and loved them. I kept popping the gummies sporadically over the next few miles. At mile 9, back near our condo, I felt okay to do another slow mile. I ran along the river and through the park – such a nice, relaxing way to end the run! I feel great for running 10.11 miles! I did have stomach issues later on, I think due to the overly sweet Powerbar chews. It felt like they hardened in my stomach. I’ll stick with Accel from now on.
Here are my splits: 9:13, 9:46, 9:32, 9:41, 9:57, 10:07 (water stop at a broken fountain and forgot to stop watch), 10:18 (water stop and forgot to stop my watch), 9:36, 9:44, 10:44 (knees pretty sore and tired here) I do really miss being fast. It’ll just take time. It’s only been 2 weeks since I’ve gotten back into running since my injuries.
Mike and I went to the Biergarten Haus later in the day for some more pretzels and delicious German beer. I’m looking forward to delicious pretzels in Philly. When we ran Broad Street a couple years ago, the volunteers handed runners soft pretzels as soon as they crossed the finish line! It was amazing.