Sunday, March 20, 2011

Personal distance record on today's base run

A Personal Distance Record on the Bethpage trail
Today's run (Bethpage State Park): 11.2 miles

For the second weekend in a row I've followed a dissatisfying trail run on Saturday with a great distance run on Sunday. Rather than over-analyze this, I'll just assume it had more to do with the time of day that I did these four runs (good runs: early, bad runs: afternoon). With a half marathon coming up in six weeks I'd been working on building up my base with 8.25 mile runs over the past couple of weekends and a personal distance record of 11.2 miles this morning.

I began today's run at Bethpage State Park at 8:00 AM and I ran well, feeling much better than I did yesterday. The winds were coming from the north and the first half of my out-and-back run was in a southern direction, so I had a little extra help at times. Unfortunately much of the second half included chilly head-on winds that made the tough hills even tougher.  But with all runs you take the good with the bad. I just wish I could take the bad first and experience only the good at the end.

There were many people on the trail today; walkers, cyclists and runners in about even numbers. Lots of friendly hellos too. Of all my running venues, Bethpage definitely has the happiest people. I was only passed by a couple of people along my route. One was a boy no older than 18 who ran past me at a pace that I can only sustain for about 200 meters on a track. After my turnaround in Masspequa Preserve he passed me the other way, his speed undiminished even though he had run at least seven miles by then.  Unbelievably, this young man passed me in the other direction when I was about three miles to my finish, meaning that he was still charging hard after 11 miles. For the record, I also passed some runners today!

I was glad that I brought along my Amphipod hand bottle, that I filled with Gatorade G2. After mile four I began taking sips every half mile. I believe that was the key to getting past some tough periods, especially at mile 10 when the risk of a bonk was very real. But there was no stopping and no slowing down and I finished my distance in 1:46:34, or 9:31 per mile. That's a realistic target for race day, which means I'll need to finish the LI Half under 2:05. I think I'll fold speed work into next week's runs and while I'll target at least one long run, I'm not sure I'll need to run 11 miles again. But I just might.

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