This morning I woke up, ate a bowl of oatmeal, and did something historic: I completed my first double digit run. For the most part, I have been training for this half marathon on the treadmill. It's not the best idea for a lot of reasons, but the main one among them is that the treadmill is flat and the half marathon course has lots of hills. Additionally, there is the problem of the air conditioning. When I signed up for this half marathon, I was hoping that the summer heat of Tennessee would give way to fall long before the race rolled around. Having grown up in the South I should have known this was as unrealistic a fantasy as me successfully seducing Alexander Skarsgard, but hey, a girl can dream. The heat makes running outside far more difficult than running in air conditioning and it was enough cause for concern.
Anyway, I wanted to accomplish two things with today's run. First, I wanted to prove to myself that I was still fit enough to run outside. Second, I wanted to know if I could maintain the 15 minute per mile pace I aimed for on the treadmill when I was running outside in spite of the heat and the hills.
Since I managed to finish this eleven mile run, I seem to have maintained enough fitness to handle running outside even though I've trained almost exclusively on the treadmill. I didn't pay attention to my pace on my watch as I was running today, but I was okay with my splits when I uploaded the data. My first few splits were faster than my goal pace and my last few splits were significantly slower. I would prefer to have more even splits, but I'm okay with this because when I started running this morning, the temperature was around 66 degrees and my route was mostly downhill. I slowed down after mile three because my route started to go uphill and it also started to get hotter. Around mile eight, my route took me past my apartment so I took a short break to refill my water bottle and run to the bathroom. When I headed back out to finish the eleven miles, I found myself running in direct sunlight for progressively longer stretches as the sun got higher in the sky. I've never been very good at running when it's hot outside so it doesn't surprise or concern me that I slowed down more and more as the temperature rose. Overall, I think this run went better than expected.