Super Sweet 17

 

Today I ran my 17 miles in North Park which has a 5-mile paved running/biking loop around a beautiful lake about 30 minutes north of Pittsburgh. The course has rolling hills which I really like because where I live in Pittsburgh the hills are moderate to steep and completely unavoidable, even on short runs.

 

I was up at 5:45 and was at North Park by around 7:15 in the morning. It was a brisk 51 degrees. Recently I’ve been struggling with my paces… not struggling in that I haven’t been able to keep them, but struggling in that I’m not sure how fast I can go. I’ve had a fairly successful string of long runs this training season, but I was still hesitant to push my pace. Based on planned marathon pace (9:40) I should be running my long runs at 10:30 pace slower, but I ran my 15 miles in 9:55 pace two weeks ago.

The first few miles I went out conservatively because with long runs, who knows what the day might hold (miles 1-5, average pace: 10:13). Then, I just started feeling strong and the pace kind of picked up on its own (miles 6-11, average pace: 9:31, including mile 11 which came in at 8:59 and included this absurd fist pumping wiggle dance while running after I saw that split). Now, with 6 miles left I had to make a decision about whether I should try to keep my fast pace or slow down. I thought that I would try to hold on to my fast pace as long as I could; even if I had to slow down substantially, it was still going to be a great run. Miles 12-17 average pace: 8:47!!!! Holy sh!t, I can’t run that fast! But I did run that fast!! My last mile was 8:39 and my last three miles were 30 seconds faster than my hilly trail 5K last weekend! Overall pace for the run was 9:28; 30 seconds/mile faster than the last long run I did (15 miles at 9:55) and a full minute faster than my long runs should be based on PMP. I ran 17 miles in 2:40?!

It was a great way to end a landmark month: highest long run (17 miles), highest mileage week (42 miles),  and highest mileage month (160 miles!) this training season.

Maybe that sub-4 is within reach after all?

 

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