As difficult as it is for me to believe, another week of the summer has passed, and with it another week of training. However, this past week was my first week of very serious training in many, many years. Oh yes, I’ve committed to serious miles in the past, but I haven’t added speed work and hill workouts consistently.
Today has been a day of rest, and my body and mind have definitely needed it. Coach Mark sent my training plan for next week via email and it looks even more ambitious than last week’s.
The following reflects my training for the week of August 6 – August 12, 2007.
August 6 – Semi-long Run – 8.1 miles in 1:07:26, 8:19 per mile.
August 7 – Speed Workout – 6.0 miles. 8 x 400m repeats with 200m easy jog after each repeat.
August 8 – Easy run – 7.1 miles in 1:00:45, 8:33 per mile.
August 9 – Hill Repeats – 8.0 miles. 4 x 1/2 mile uphill at hard effort, easy jog down hill.
August 10 – Rest
August 11 - 16.6 miles total. Warm-up – 4 miles, 5k race – 24:01, additional miles – 9.5 at 8:48 pace.
August 12 – Rest
Total Miles for week – 45.8
Total Miles for year – 1114.50
Several years ago, a man in the Rochester running community, for whom I have great respect, asked me why I didn’t participate in more races. My reply went something like this, “Why, Roger, you know I’m training for a marathon. So, I have to run much further than 3.1 or 6.2 miles!”
Roger proceeded to explain how one could marry a long run with a race. It’s quite a simple formula, really: long warm up, race, finish mileage. Today I did just that, and, let me tell you, this is easier said than done.
I haven’t run a 5k in about a month mostly due to illness. But, if I’m painfully honest, I’ve also avoided racing because I ran the last one so poorly. If you recall, my previous 5k time was 25:02 – terrible for me. So, I silently vowed that this weekend, despite my need to run rather long (16 – 17 miles), I’d run a 5k.
At 6:00 am I began my day of running with a 4 mile “warm-up”. Well, I ran 3 miles on my treadmill at a very easy 8:30 pace before showering and heading to the race. When I arrived at the race, I ran another 1 mile at an easy pace to continue warming up. While I ran, I scoped out the competition and immediately saw one woman in my age group (well, my age group for today, 40 – 49) who consistently beats me at 5ks. Then, I recognized another fast woman (same age as the first) and I realized that there would be some strong competitors today!
I won’t bore you with all of the details, but at the end I was secretly excited because I came in just after lady 2; so, I figured I took 3rd with a watch time of 23:48 and a gun time of 24:01. Even though I still had another 9 or 10 miles to run, I hung around waiting for the results. When I looked at the board, I couldn’t believe it – I placed 4th in my age group. What! How could this be? I must have stared at the board for 5 minutes in disbelief!
Well, I left the race feeling somewhat disappointed (okay, I was bummed), but then I realized how much I’d improved my time from the last race. Immediately, I began to cheer up. (Remember, I’m working on improving my mental attitude.) “Good for you, SC!” is what I told myself instead of my usual, “Well, see, you’re just not a good runner.”
Now, remember I still owed myself a fair number of miles, and my coach instructed me to run the last 3 at my marathon goal pace of 8:50. So, I stopped at the beautiful canal path and ran another 9.5 in 1:23:23, an 8:48 per mile pace. The canal was packed with runners, cyclists, walkers, and young children admiring the ducks and fishing. I guess I was smiling while running as an elderly man asked me how I could smile and run at the same time. I said, “Sir, I’m smiling because I can run. I’m so grateful that I am a runner.”
So, today this runner ran 16.6 miles, with a race tucked in the middle. As I sit here nursing my Mich Ultra Light, I offer up a prayer of gratitude for a strong heart, strong legs, and a strong mind.