Last week, I registered for my first ever marathon. I’ll be running the Rock n’ Roll USA Marathon in Washington, DC on March 16,2013. Essentially, the plan is to enjoy my birthday with sightseeing in our nation’s capitol on Friday (15Mar2013), and then slowly kill myself over the course of 26.2 miles on Saturday (16Mar2013). Then, as soon as I start getting some life back into me, I’ll destroy myself again on Sunday (17Mar2013) with some St. Patty’s Day festivities. That story is reserved for another post about four months from now, though.
This week, I booked my hotel for race weekend and I started getting myself in gear to begin my training. My first run of the week was last Sunday. I hadn’t run at all in the three weeks prior (since my half-marathon) so I figured a tune-up run was in order before I start my actual training plan. I ran 6 miles on the Perkiomen Valley Trail going south from my house. It felt great! I ran a lot better than I had expected to. My average pace for the Baltimore Half was 8:05 per mile. I had expected, after three weeks off, that I’d end up running these first miles at a slower pace despite any effort I put in.
Boy, was I in for a surprise. At the 1 mile mark, the Nike+ app on my phone sounded off “1 mile completed. Time = 6:34. Average Pace = 6:34 per mile.” My first reaction was “No way. That can’t be right. The GPS must have a bad signal or something.” One mile later, my electronic companion informed me that my average pace had slowed to 6:38 per mile. Are you serious? I started believing more that the reported time actually was true. Needless to say, I was very happy with my effort so far. I couldn’t hold that pace for the entire six miles, of course. Every time she sounded off at the end of a mile, my pace was slower, and slower. I finished the first three miles at sub-7 minute paces and finished the 6th mile with an overall average pace of 7:25 per mile. Not bad for shaking off some dust.
My next run was Wednesday night under the lights on the track at Ursinus College. It was pretty cold outside, so I was a little apprehensive about going out for a run. Then there was the forecasted “noreaster” coming to the area. I finally convinced myself to just man up and do it, because it’s only going to get colder anyway. Shortly after I started my workout, I was joined by a cross country runner who (I believe) is a UC student. I don’t know his name, or if I’ll ever see him again. Neither one of us was about to stop running long enough to get to know each other. We were both running for warmth as well as our personal goals. I ran four miles that night through a slight drizzle which eventually turned to flurries about 2.5 miles into my run. That was the full extent of the dreaded noreaster in Collegeville, by the way. The run, overall, felt pretty good. I definitely didn’t run as fast as I did on Sunday. I think the cold air was a big factor. I didn’t start to feel warm at all until about the 3.25 mile mark, and by that time I was almost done so it didn’t make a difference. The lights on the track turned off at 7:30 pm (I didn’t expect that) so my companion and I had to finish our workouts in the dark.
That about wraps up my first week of “pre-training” workouts. I’m going to have to figure something out as far as lighting. Now that winter is coming it’s getting a lot darker outside a lot earlier than it used to. I’m a little wary about running in the dark, to be honest. With my long history of ankle injuries I’m not too fond of the idea of willingly and repeatedly stepping on ground that I can’t see. I’m going to look and see if there’s some sort of flashlight I can buy to attach to my hat or something.