With this in mind, my time in Gulf Shores will fall in a long mileage week. Without the hills to navigate, I should be able to work on keeping a pretty steady pace. I think a pace of 9:30-9:45/mile for the marathon should be do-able as my overall pace is about 9:45/mile right now. However like Nashville is hilly, so too does my pace fluctuate. I wouldn't mind so much if my pace started out slowly and got progressively faster (otherwise known as negative splits in runner-speak). Unfortunately, my pace now starts slow and then rises and falls each mile with no discernable pattern. Knowing the routes that I run, I can attribute many of the dips in speed to where I am on a hill.
Today's run was a fair example of this. I did a 7 mile route, out and back, along HWY 100 from my house to just past my brother's house, pictured here. This route is loaded with hills and I had to speed up a lot on the backend to make it under 10:00/mile. This was brutal, and I could really feel the burn as I hit mile 12 and 13. Still, I did alright, but man, am I tired now!
Hopefully a flatter route will give me a better idea of conditioning and how much I can push myself before the marathon. All right, the kids are bugging each other, so I guess it's time for me to intervene to keep them from killing each other. Later kids.