To give you a sense of how things look around here right now, here are two recent photographs from the Concord Monitor, our wonderful local daily newspaper:
The top photo is from an area about an hour north of Concord. The bottom is of the two leaders in a recent cross-country meet. There are worse places to live and run.
Thursday's run was fine and pretty straightforward, though the "out" part was downhill and the "back" was thus mostly uphill. Still, unlike last year, I did not get lost or otherwise waylaid, and ended up getting back in plenty time for cocktails and a multi-course gourmet meal.
Friday morning, it was dark and cold when I left right at 6:00 a.m., shooting out in the opposite direction, with the steeply downhill early part making for a rough return. At around the turnaround, the light mist turned into light sleet, turning the final couple of miles into a slog. I thought of the warm, dry room and huge breakfast which awaited me and that got me through. I saw no wildlife, and the occasional car which passed seemed like it was doing 100 mph.
The weekend saw more lovely running conditions, with a 7-mile trail run in the rain on Saturday and 20-miler with my ultrarunner friend Nate on Sunday, about half of which we did on the trails. It slowed down the pace, but made for a very enjoyable 3-plus hours of running and chatting about running and life.
I ended up with about 65 miles for the week, including a great LT/HMP workout on Wednesday. The week of Reach the Beach, I did a 3-mile tempo run, with the last mile on a downhill stretch in 6:40. Last Wednesday, I did 2x2.5 miles on the flat (and windy!) track with none of the 5 miles slower than 6:40. My HR stayed where it should be for a half-marathon, and I had enough left to run the final 0.5 mile in around a 6:00 pace, with the final 200 meters taking me about 42 seconds. Don't bother with the math; just know that for me, that's fast.
So now it's time to focus on how to go sub-1:30 at the Bay State Half-Marathon on October 18th, while still maintaining the volume necessary to pace a marathon and cover 38 total miles on November 1st.
Here's how this week is shaping up:
- Mon - 5.4M easy (with 4x10 sec. hill sprints), plus light weights, core and stretching
- Tuesday - 10M, with VO2 Max work of 3x1000 and then 2x800 (hips felt tight, so I revised); paces were 6:01/6:01/6:05 for the 1000's and 5:49/5:44 for the 800's (amazing how much better I felt cutting a mere 200 meters)
- Wednesday - 9.6M on the second half of the Manchester Marathon course
- Thursday - 7M easy
- Friday - 8M, with a 10/10/10 workout, meaning 10 mins. at MP (7:15-7:20), 10 mins. at HMP (6:45-6:50) and 10 mins. at 10K pace (6:20-6:25); I have not done this workout, and it's supposedly a lot tougher than it sounds; I don't do so well on fast running first thing in the AM, so I may "cheat" and do the workout on the treadmill (yuck!), so it'll make me hold the right paces
- Saturday - 6-7M on the trails
- Sunday -16-17M easy, with the last 3 miles "hard" (whatever that turns out to be pacewise)
That will be over 60 miles for the week, and then I will front-load and taper steeply over a few days for the half-marathon on the 18th. The current strategy for that race is to go out at 6:45/mile pace and try to hold it through 10 miles on the flat course. At that point, I'll do one of three things: (1) hold on at that pace for a comfortably sub-1:30 finish; (2) feel so good that I'll be able to speed up a bit and have a great PR [though this never really seems to happen], (3) tell myself that I can slow up to 15 seconds per mile and still reach the goal. If it turns out that I'm not in shape for sub-1:30, so be it, but I'm prepared to risk a blow-up in this race.
The pacing gig is starting to feel very real, and a bit daunting. I'll post more on that later.
Finally, a shout-out to my Chicago friends (real and virtual), including Paul, Walter, Jess, Jay, Digby, Snoop, Matt, John, Chad, and a few others. I've done my part by staying away and guaranteeing good weather for you. Now you have to go out and get your BQs/PRs/personal goals. Can't wait to hear about it. I'll miss being there, but it was the right call this year.