I’m loving the more relaxed training schedule, the head lamp free early morning runs with my buddies and the weekly tempo runs on the trail. I miss the track but I think it is good to take a break from it – come summer I will be ridiculously excited to get back there.
I have some new personal records to set this Spring, before I head into marathon training mode again. I want to do the work to get faster at shorter distances. I think pushing through the pain and discomfort of a 5k and a 10k will make me tougher when it comes time for the marathon. I prefer long distances over short – the sting in my lungs, the burn in my legs, the heavy breathing of a speedy race are not my favorite running moments to be honest. I do them because they make me stronger. They teach me what I’m made of. I come across that finish line with an empty tank.
Earlier this week I was selected for the nuun Hood to Coast Relay team. I am BEYOND excited about it! I still cannot wipe the smile off my face every time I think about it (which is kinda a lot). One of the pieces of information that Hood to Coast requests from all runners with our team registration is our 10k split time. The last time I ran a 10k was almost a year ago and my running has changed a LOT since then. It was a very hot and humid day on a hilly and sunny course and I felt GREAT about my performance, crossing the finish line in 52:58. It was a 3 minute PR for me at the time and I could not have been happier or more excited!
Since that day almost exactly one year ago, I’ve grown so much stronger. I am a smarter and faster runner than I ever have been in all of my life. I want to know how much faster I can run a 10k. I want to know what I am capable of in that distance. I can look at pace calculators all day, but the only true way to know is to get out there and RACE it. Put it all out on the line.
So the other day I searched for a local race and found a 10k not far from home tomorrow morning – the Fairfax CASA Run for the Children 10k. It does not look like an easy course – everything I’ve read about it says it’s insanely hilly. I decided that doesn’t matter though – I am going to go out there and do my best anyway and push up those hills, whatever it takes. The race is tomorrow morning and supports a really wonderful cause — raising money to support advocacy for children who are neglected and suffer from abuse. As a mother of three, you better believe I will run hard for that cause no matter what the course is like!
Based on my 1:12:02 time in the 10 miler last week, the McMillan pace calculator predicts that I should be able to run a 10k in about 43:00, just under a 7:00/mile pace. That is 10 minutes faster than my current PR. I’ll be honest, the thought of that freaks me out a little bit!! But I’m kind of getting used to that feeling – I need to own that pace, to believe that I can do it. Getting out there and testing myself, pushing my limits, pushing through the self doubt and the questioning – then proving to myself that I am even stronger than I thought — THAT is what this is about. The McMillan calculator isn’t perfect – it is just a resource and a tool I like to use – one that inspires me to go for it. It helps me come up with a pace strategy, too – knowing that I should be able to average around a 7:00 mile will help me reign things in if I’m much faster than that at the start and will help me know I can push if I’m much slower than that too.
Those hills tomorrow are calling my name, loud and clear. I’m not exactly sure how it will all pan out, what the time on the clock will read when I cross the finish line tomorrow morning. But I do know this for certain – I will do my very best and I will CELEBRATE the fact that I am a stronger, fitter and more grateful runner than I have ever been in all my life.
What are your racing plans this weekend? How do you figure out what pace to run different distances? Do you use a pace calculator like McMillan?