Monday, August 15, 2011

I Am Still Going!

I haven't posted a blog in a while but I feel like I owe it to my loyal followers.

Since my last post I have completed my personal training goal of running round trip to the eight cities and towns that surround my City of Westfield, MA. There was no real reason to do this but I thought it would make training for my first marathon that much more interesting by giving me new routes to run.

It turns out that the most difficult run was not the longest run but the run I saved for last. It didn't help that it was really hot out on the day I ran to Montgomery. Montgomery is a very small town on the edge of the Berkshires that happens to be located at the top of a very large incline.

 I don't know what the actual elevation was but probably in the range of 700-900 feet. This run felt like a bit of a disaster but at least I finished. It turned out to be a good practice run for the hills I decided to punish myself with this last weekend.

Since I am training for my first marathon and I do not know what the course will be like, I decided to work in a lot of hills in my training. This past weekend I went out for an 18 mile run with about 1000 feet of elevation. To do this I ran to Granville Center from my home. The first run on my Round Trip routes was Granville, but this time I was not stopping at the town line but punishing myself with additional mileage.

I left my house around 6:00am. I followed one road which was an old country road that winds up a mountain between several reservoirs and conservation land. I have personally seen black bears crossing this road and I ran past Wildcat Road on a stretch of road that had no houses for a while. It was nice and cool this morning and I could hear creatures moving in the woods. It may have been because of the cooler weather or the fear of large wild animals but I cruised all the way up the mountain road to Granville Center without taking a walking break. In fact I made it most of the way (14.4 miles) back before I took a quick 30 second walking break. I had a hard time getting going again tking two more short walking breaks in the next mile and a half but then I was finally going and finished the last few miles strong. 3 hours 20 minutes for 18.2 miles which happened to be almost the exact time I ran a relatively flat 17 miles just a week before!

I usually carry one water bottle that has a hand strap on it. I was worried I would run out of water for this really long run so on the suggestion of a friend of mine I carried a second bottle and hid it in the woods along the route. I filled this water bottle with ice and topped it off with water. I found a nice shady spot just under 4 miles in and tucked my extra bottle next to a tree stump. This worked out great. I was able to ration my first water bottle through about 13 miles and picked up the second bottle on the way back and it was still somewhat cold. I had just enough water to finish the run. This was a great idea and the only drawbacks were that the water bottle was so cold that my hand became numb for a while and it was awkward carrying two water bottles. I think I will use this technique on all my really long runs from now on!

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