Tuesday, 9 August 2011


Last weekend my wife and I went camping with her parents in Pennsylvania near the town of Bedford between Harrisburg and Pittsburgh. Perusal of google maps revealed a state park a few miles from the camp site that looked like a good place for an eighteen mile run on Sunday morning. One thing you learn very quickly about the landscape of central PA is the rolling hills. My run was no different and the first few miles certainly did nothing to disavow that. However, one hill...ahem...mountain was especially cruel. This particular sadist went by the name of Tull's hill.
A couple of miles later and I entered the park to my left. The park is about fifteen miles east of the Flight 93 crash site on 11 September 2001. The morning started cloudy and reasonably cool, about 70F/21C, but both the temperatures and humidity were rising. Following a diversion on a trail that took me back out near the park entrance, via a steep hill that almost forced me to walk, I returned to the park road and followed this largely downhill to the centre of the park and crossed the bridge that traversed lake Shawnee. By now I had ran 10.66 miles and decided I and better turn back or I would be doing considerably more than eighteen miles. I had consumed two GU energy gels at the five and ten mile points and felt pretty fresh. Doubling back proved pretty uneventful and I felt fresh enough to eschew taking my third GU.
The hills did take their toll on the pace and I increased the effort a little on the hills but did not see the point in thrashing myself on an increasingly hot and humid day; likewise I did not attempt to claw back the time on the downslope, deciding it would be better to save the quads for some squats or a tempo session. I covered 18.25 miles in 02:42:13, or 08:53 pace.

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