Well, another long pause of several months between posts here at Steamtown Runner. Seems to be the norm anymore. That said, I actually had a really good summer. I was the most dedicated and consistent I’ve been in years. I was able to get my mileage up to 55 miles a week, which honestly feels great. I still don’t have the same speed I had when I was younger, but the endurance has definitely come back to me at this point.
I ran the D&H Half Marathon in Forest City two weeks ago. The week before the half marathon, I did a 13.1 mile long run to gauge my conditioning and give myself an idea of what I should shoot for. That long run was about 1:33, which was faster than the half marathon I did in the spring. So that showed me I was in way better shape than I was back in April. I set a conservative goal of going for 1:27:30 and, if things aligned and I felt good, I would considering trying for 1:26 (right about 6:30 pace).
It was perfect running weather that morning up in Forest City. Barely 60 degrees, overcast, a little sprinkle of rain now and then. Well, perfect for me anyway. After some brutal September days in the 90s, running in temperatures so much cooler was glorious. Anyway, I went out fairly conservatively, afraid of burning out and not having energy for the end. I came through the half way mark at about 44:15, which put me on pace for around 1:28:30.
Negative splits were my plan all along. Almost all of my moderate and long runs end up as negative splits. Plus, the D&H course really lends itself to negative splits since the entire first half is steadily uphill and the return journey is steadily downhill. So with a 44:15 first half, I fully expected to go quite a bit faster on the way back. I figure even a 1:26 was still possible. Well, as it turned out, 1:26 was very conservative.
Once I hit the turnaround point, I really took off and thought I was nervous that I’d dropped the pace too much too quickly, I decided to just, ahem, run with it. As the miles went by, my overall pace just kept going lower and lower until eventually I realized I was going to break 1:25, let alone 1:26. When I got to the last 5K, I was already wearing down and my breathing was getting ragged but I pushed through.
My last 5K came out to about 18 flat with a 5:35 mile to finish things off. I came through the finish line in fifth place with a 1:23:05. To say I was ecstatic with that time would be a huge understatement. It was several minutes faster than I ever expected to go and over ten minutes faster than the last half marathon I did. Admittedly, it’s still pretty far off from PR but after nearly two whole years of inconsistent training and injuries, finally doing this race again and running a good time left me with such a runner’s high.
Since the race, I’ve kept my mileage at around 55 miles, which I’ll probably just keep for this autumn. I may bump it slightly to 60, but no higher than that. I don’t want to get injured and lose all this momentum I’ve gained. I have an 8K on the agenda next, so we’ll see how that goes and if my lack of speed will be a problem. Hopefully I can get back to more regular posting here. Here’s the results from D&H if you’re interested. Until we meet again.