After the last post, I need to move to “trivial and fun.” So, here’s last weekend’s long run, and my current favorite for the deadliest run I know in Arlington. The hills around mile 4 mean business. If you take the hard trail from miles 4 – 6 or so (resist the temptation to bail back out to the W&OD…) you won’t even notice the climb on mile 9.5 – 10. Click here if no map appears below. Course completed in 95 minutes and change.

Since the half marathon I signed up for is in March, I’m forced to change my working definition of “the season”. My normal view is that, if it’s too cold to run in shorts, it’s too cold to run, and that temperature for me falls somewhere in the upper 30s depending on the wind. I haven’t been a slug or anything, but I haven’t had an honest long run since just after Thanksgiving. Though short runs have been enough to keep me on track so far, I need to start with some of the longer work or I won’t be ready to go 13.1 in 69 days.

So today, to really get into the groove, I visited the hill that makes me reconsider the wisdom of running every time I climb it. Temperature was 36 or 37, windchill was damn cold. Here’s today’s course:

It looks innocent enough, but hit the full screen button, turn on “show elevation” and look around mile 4. That hill pretty much always begins at approximately (end of long run – 3 miles) for me. If I’ve been working as hard as I ought to, that means I’m cooked by the time I hit (end of long run – 2 miles). I suspect that visiting this hill regularly over the next 9 weeks will serve as good preparation for how I expect to feel around mile 11 of the race.

Today’s run: 7.22 miles in 1:00:43. (8:24/mile). I seem to have improved 30 – 45s per mile for this distance versus what I was doing before I backed off the long runs. The evil mile took 8:43 even with a fierce head wind, and the two following that were 8:43 and 8:52. I’m extremely happy with this run. It’s just slightly off my 10k race pace from October.