This has been an eventful few days for me, as far as this whole running endeavor goes. On Sunday, I ran the Boston Athletic Association 10k race. It took place in Back Bay, went for a spin around all the gardens and traveled up and down Commonwealth Ave. It was quite novel to run red lights in the middle of the Boston streets, and awe-inspiring to see all the celebrity elite runners gazelle-ing it past us in the opposite direction toward the finish line. Pretty race, not so pretty performance on my part. It was humid, and I’m discovering that after all that winter training I’m not much for running in the humidity right now. It was also at 8 o’clock in the morning, a time of day that I almost never run. Oh, and at mile 3 I did something stupid: I ate 2 Gel Bloks – which I’d never tried before. About a mile later my stomach let me know she wasn’t having any of it.
All graphic details aside, I didn’t finish as fast as I wanted to. I finished about 15 seconds later than my last 10k, and both my running partners finished over a minute before I did (which, in my mind, means that I should have run at least that much faster). So I was somewhat disappointed in my performance, but it’s okay. I got my t-shirt (B.A.A races always have the BEST shirts!), my cool medal to add to the collection, and had a great time with a couple of awesome chicks who love running as much as me (the pumpkin pancakes and beer at the Pour House afterward weren’t so bad either).
Another thing that happened that day is my very close friend Kathy inadvertently reminded me that I have some half marathon training to do! We are both running the Smuttynose Rockfest Hampton Half on October 2nd, and her official first day of training was Sunday. Excellent. Except I’m also running the Rock ‘n Roll Providence Half Marathon way before that…on August 2nd.
Which means I have (drumroll)………………
SIX WEEKS to train for it. Yikes.
That would normally not give me the least bit of worry, my last long run before this weekend was 8 miles so I’m on track. But my performance on Sunday tells me that I need to majorly work on speed and endurance, especially in the humidity (of which there will be an abundance on August 7th). So, Monday morning I pulled up the “Hal Higdon’s Half Marathon Training Program – Intermediate” and figured out where I ought to be. Now, let me say that I don’t actually believe in following these plans to the letter. I like to use them as a sort of guideline, a way of knowing what might be expected of me to do well. Turns out I’m expected to have run a 10k last weekend (check) and 16-19 miles this week, with a 9 mile long run on Saturday. No big deal.
It’s important to point out that I’m sort of training for TWO half marathons. Knowing that this first one in Providence will likely be satanically hot and therefore quite slow, I may just consider it an extra-fun training run for the second race (a flat ocean-side course in nice, COOL October), which I hope will be a PR-maker. So – I’m going to try and run three days midweek instead of my usual two, for interval training. I like intervals, fartleks, hills. They add total suckage to the current workout, but it’s amazing how much they help later on.
So last time my peak mileage per week was 20. This time it’ll be more like 23-25. Still not a crazy amount in relative terms, but I think it’ll do. My biggest worry is recovering mentally from the first race in order to prepare for the second one. It took me over a month to get back into gear after April’s half. It could have had a lot to do with the crushingly busy season at work and the subsequent week-long business trip, but also a bit injured so it was difficult to get back on track. Hopefully I’m stronger now and will have less injuries as I go through training (IT Band, don’t fail me now!)
And then there’s the third thing: Today I signed up for the Spartan Race, which will take place three weeks after the Providence half marathon. The Spartan Race is in the same vein as the Warrior Dash. My friend Kathy has dubbed it “the race for people who don’t run,” which is fitting since most of it actually consists of things like crawling, climbing, swallowing dirt and dodging tires, not even running. It sounds fun, kinda badass. It means I’ll need some upper body strength (of which I currently have none…I mean come on, I’m a runner!), so it will motivate me to take more lunch breaks in the weights section at the gym. So, hopefully I will avoid injury at the Providence half. But more importantly, I hope I don’t injure myself at this thing – because the Hampton Half is kind of critical now so I don’t want to screw it up with this goofball race. I’ll just have to be careful, I guess.
But I can’t pretend like it won’t be fun to smoke my guy friends who are running it with me. That’s right, smoke ’em like salmon.