Another week of hard training in the can - 28 miles and still going. We made it through the Anthem 5k yesterday, which was an interesting experience. It was a nice course, but you couldn't see the pace markers from inside the start chute, so I ended up way too far back. I still PR'd, which is nice since I had just set one three weeks ago at the Frostbite 5k, with a (chip) time of 21:29.
I must say, though, that I think I'm happier with the smaller races, where national talent hasn't been recruited. I don't get excited running in races where only one top five finisher from either gender was from Louisville; these just aren't for me. Perhaps they will be when I can post a sub-19, but I'm definitely not there yet.
Today I ran 10.5 miles, my longest run to date, at 8:10/mile. It was hard, but I feel more confident as I look down the barrel of these upcoming longer races. I have only raced 5ks and a couple of 4 milers, so even though I know I can cover the distance, I am feeling pretty antsy about the rest of the Triple Crown (we won't even talk about the mini until March is over). I am trying to formulate race strategies, like breaking the 10k into two slower miles to wade through the pack, then three miles right under pace, then whatever is left for the last 1.2 miles. Runner's World recently covered 10 milers (and named Papa John's as one of the top three), and suggested breaking that distance into thirds. I'm also relying on times from the McMillan running calculator to help me determine pace.
I am definitely ready for the warm weather to come back, though. Yesterday morning was colder than I had hoped, but not as bad as it was this morning when we went out (22!). But, looks like we may be over the hump, as the coolest day in the 10-day forecast is low-50s. Running feels less like work when the weather is nice!
That also reminds me: I've given a lot of thought over the past few weeks to running and my committment to it. I started off last May wanting to get in shape, and a few weeks later I found the couch-to-5k plan on CoolRunning.com
. It worked perfectly with the Gaslight 5k, just blocks from my house, so I decided to give it a shot.
I was definitely hooked. I found there was an amazing number of the races floating around town, most of them supporting charitable causes. I suckered my mom into the Bark in the Park, where she did the 1 mile walk, but then decided to go back to running herself. So I ran two in October, the Northeast Y Turkey Trot in November, then the Fleet Feet series and the Run to the Sun. Seems like it's been more, but I guess just nine to date -- not bad considering I have five age group awards (two firsts, a second and two thirds). Which is probably part of why I've been so hooked, because I keep getting faster ...
So I spent a lot of my recent miles contemplating this devotion: Was it a devotion to winning and to competing, or to running? And I suppose, in light of how much time I spent thinking about this while running, it must be both. I am a competitive person; a serious Type A who thinks entering any competition is exciting and is constantly setting goals meant to be achieved. But, I also see running as me-time: I am a consultant and freelancer, so my work hours vary wildly and there's no regularity in my job life; I take care of my two step-kids on what definitely seems like a full-time basis; I'm also a full-time student. Running is a guilt-free way to take some time to just relax and think through any problems I'm encountering, and gives me time to reflect on what's going on in my life.
Plus, I have some fine looking legs to put on display this pool season! My initial intent was to improve my cardiovasular fitness, and I was feeling like a lazy bum after soccer and track during high school. I didn't have time during college to keep up exercising, and I wish I had put more of an emphasis on it. I blame it all on the good fortune that blessed me with a good metabolism -- I didn't feel like I needed to exercise.
Now I am feeling fit, looking good, fulfilling my competitive streak (both against myself and others) and keeping my stress level down. I have a hat
that sums it up: Running is cheaper than therapy.
With all that in mind, I hope you all had a great race on Saturday and continue to fulfill your own goals, whatever they may be.