Steamtown Marathon Diary: One Month to Go

D&H Distance Run

Since my decision way back in April to run the Steamtown Marathon, the months have flown by and the miles have piled up. It’s hard to believe only four short weeks separate me from my first marathon. Speaking of firsts, I ran my first half marathon this morning, but we’ll get that a bit later.

After three weeks above 70 miles, I took a much-needed cutback week and really enjoyed taking a full day off for the first time in quite a while. My workouts have consisted of almost nothing but tempos, so I mixed things up on Wednesday with the good old standby of mile repeats. I ended up with six miles, going roughly negative splits the whole way and the average came out to about 5:35. It felt good to get some real solid speed in, especially since I haven’t had a lot of miles below six minute pace.

I decided to do the D&H Distance Run Half Marathon in Forest City as a tune up of sorts for Steamtown. The race was very well organized, with lots of volunteers and people out cheering. It follows a well-maintained trail of crushed stone out 6.5 miles and then turns back. It’s slightly uphill on the way out, but obviously that means it’s all downhill on the way back.

Because I’ve never done a half-marathon, I had no idea of what I was capable, so I was just shooting for going under 1:20. I went out conservatively, hovering around 6:05 pace for the first half, but once I hit the turn around and got the steady downhill, I dramatically lowered my pace, averaging about 5:40 for the whole way back. The downhill made it easy to cruise along, though at the same time, one can get carried away easily. I felt fine up until about mile 11, but then the fatigue really started to hit and my legs felt heavy on the last mile, but I still came in with a 1:16:43, with which I was very happy, so it was a solid three minutes under my goal.

The common running rule of thumb for half marathon to marathon conversion is to double the time and add ten minutes. Using that formula would give me about a 2:44 marathon. I’d be overjoyed if I hit that kind of time, but I’ll try to stay humble and remind myself continually that the full marathon is a much more challenging affair. Just four weeks left. I’ve never felt more ready.

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