I'm starting to get a serious grasp at the difficulty of the races I have planned for this summer. I looked at the finishing times for last year's Kendall Mountain run, and the winning time was 1:53 last year! Only two runners finished in under 2 hours, for a half-marathon. Only about half of the runners finished under 3 hours, which isn't much faster than a walking pace. You could walk all the way up and run down at a 9-minute pace and still finish in 3 hours. Which makes me think that even walking at 13,000 feet is going to be a challenge!
So I'm doing the only thing I can think of to prepare: Run as many hills as possible. Three of my last five workouts have been hill workouts. On Tuesday for the DART run I ended up running with Adam, who typically runs at close to a 7:00 pace. We decided to head out Grey road and take on the hills.
The first couple of miles aren't too bad -- downhill or rolling hills, but then at Mile 3 we hit the first major uphill. Adam hadn't been this way before and when he saw what we were running up he said "are you kidding me?" And then proceeded up the hill at a 7:30 pace. We turned around, headed back down, and then back up the steepest hill on Grey road. We picked up the pace near the top, and ended up with a 7:17 pace for the mile.
The next two miles we managed a 7:20 pace, for an overall 7:31 on an extremely hilly route. Whew!
Today I showed up for the DART run and saw no one was there, so I decided to do the same route again, solo. I didn't hit quite the same pace, but I continued up the hill to the very top of Abersham, giving myself an extra 50 feet of climbing. Overall today I did 9 miles at an 8:30 pace, which is fine for what should be an "easy" pace run.
Details of the last two workouts are below.