It’s been a pretty good fall so far. Training has gone well, no injuries thus far (don’t worry – I just knocked on the nearest piece of wood I could find!) and some solid training overall. I opened up my training with a time trial, running the Washington’s Crossing (PA) 15k back in August, about two weeks into my plan from Coach Marc, just to see where I was at. It was a evening race in August and though it wasn’t unbearable, it was about 80 at the start and about 40% humidity…just bad enough to be uncomfortable. Had hoped to run about 57:30, get a cheap PR at a weird distance and cruise it in. Struggled a little the last 5k with virtually no kick, but had a baseline.
A few races followed – hopped in the Garfield YMCA 5k for fun and helped the GHS XC kids win the “team” division (& got the overall “W” in 18:18 on another brutal day, with 84% humidity at the start!) then ran a little XC for Garmin at the USATFNJ 5K Championships and pulled a LIFETIME (including high school) XC PR out of nowhere, running 17:41! Totally bombed my attempt at tempoing the Liberty Half Marathon, crashing and burning the last 5k (again – see August’s 15k) and worried that a trend was happening. Jumped in ONE MORE race to close out September, because it was local & I wanted redemption, and won the Oktoberfest 5k (in September lol) in 18:11…so in a month, I improved 7 seconds. Definitely a rough month.
Battled through October, training hard but with some ups and downs – including a miserable two-week stretch in which I had about three bad workouts over a 12 day span, including a somewhat inadvertent near-Marathon in Chicago where I put in over 24 miles being a fan & over 45 miles in a three-day span before I finally rebounded and crushed a workout on 10/22 – my first good one since 10/7 – and all seemed back on track, just in time for my only race of the month, the Swamp Devil 15K, which was really just a tuneup for my half (and my last Cat. III race of the year) but ended up being one of my best races ever, a huge PR and a 3rd place finish. Back in the groove, baby!
On to November. Destroyed a tempo last week, averaging sub-6 pace, which I believe is a new record for me, and then hopped in the Giralda Farms 10k to claim some Cat. II points and get in a little competitive test for my goal race. The race was pretty tough – challenging course with several rolling segments and a downhill start that instantly threw pacing out the window. But I was feeling it, man and save for one tough hill in the middle and a relatively complacent finish, this was a shockingly good race. I ripped the first three miles (averaged 5:40 pace and actually PRd for 5k en route before a long climb until just after 4 three me way off my game. Rebounded to average 5:50 pace for the last 2.25 and a finishing time of 36:30 – a modest PR of 17 seconds but a good indication of where I’m at. I had a range of 5:45-5:55 I expected to be in and hold, and I was right at 5:50 pace for the overall effort. Happy with that.
This weekend is the big test. The race I’ve had circled on my calendar for a year. The runBucks.com Delaware Canal Half Marathon, back at Washington’s Crossing Park. A beautiful, relatively flat, scenic out and back course on the D&R Canal towpath, I’ve been looking forward to this race for a while. So many goals, so many ways I can be happy with this so here’s the skinny:
My PR? 1:22:54, from way back in 2009 at the RnR Las Vegas Half Marathon. That is the baseline, must-do goal. With 15 halves under my belt and only one sub-1:23 I know there are no guarantees. My 2nd best? 1:23:32, Unite 1/2 2010, and my 3rd best is last year’s effort on this course, 1:24:05. So I gotta be in that range…
NYC 2015? Auto qualifier for my AG is a 1:23 half. I’m a planner, and only plan on ever running another marathon IF and only IF I know about it well in advance AND feel I can run fast. Not waiting for a lottery or hoping it clicks on race day. But a guaranteed entry COULD sway my decision.
My “realistic” goal? Training indicates anywhere from 1:20:30-1:21:45. I’d be happy to be in that range, get a new PR, auto-qualify, etc.
My “dream” goal? Sub 1:20. I feel as though that’s a relatively legitimate time, but probably not realistic at this point. That’s 6:05 pace for the 13.1. I’ve never done that, but I did average 6:00 pace for 15k…if I go out the right way, not like a dumbass…maybe I’ll negative split and not f-f-f-f-fade away
Then, you can find me on 11/23 running a 5-miler in CT; 11/27 Turkey Trotting SOMEWHERE; 11/30 trying to win some dinero in Little Falls, 12/6 trying to PR at the Big Chill (join #theRidgewoodProject – let me know if you want in on our team!), and MAYBE – just maybe, if I’m feeling up to it and my teammates are down, USATF Club XC Nationals at Lehigh on 12/13/14.