UpdateFitness: Ran 9 miles
Sun, Moon, and Stars: 0 words, 362 seven-day average, 283 average, 50293 total, 207 to go for the week
I have a date with 13.1 miles.
I’ve been eying the City to the Sea Half Marathon for several months now. Today, after an excellent training run, I took the plunge and registered. It is — as they say — on.
My last two runs are a big reason why I decided to make the commitment. My running was a little disjointed at the beginning of the month, but I’ve gotten back into the routine in the last few weeks. On Thursday evening, I almost skipped my workout. It was warm out, and I didn’t feel great — a side effect of the whirlwind of things happening at work. I didn’t let that stop me, though, so I waited for it cool off a bit and then headed out. I felt so much better when I got back than when I started. Then today, I expected to slog through the hour or so I’d be out. I spent some extra time stretching in the driveway because I thought my back and shoulders were going to bug me — partly to prevent that and partly to stall. When I finally did start running, I suddenly found myself the end of mile two, at the top of the hill, with a smooth, sustainable cadence.
Today’s run was a little more than half the distance I’ll be doing on October 9th. It’ll be almost seven years to the day since I ran my last half-marathon. But today, on a seven mile run, I felt The Rhythm, and if my times from this year are any indication, I could make my fourth half-marathon my fastest one yet.
Apparently the secret to running a good 5K is to train for a 15K.
Gwen was interested in running Nite Moves at some point this summer. I did it almost every week last year, but I hadn’t been out at all in 2011. I start my half-marathon training program next week, so I suggested that this Wednesday would be a good time to do it together.
The Nite Moves course is fairly fast: the first half is uphill and the second half is downhill, which is much speedier than the reverse. I was strong enough to do the uphill part harder than I could last year because it felt so much shorter than the runs I’ve been doing. There were certainly spots in the last three-quarters of a mile that I wanted to slow down, but overall I was able to keep my effort level high. Net result: a personal record at 24:08.That felt really good. I’ve been not feeling great about my weight loss progress recently, so it’s nice to know that I am making progress in other areas. I still only placed twelfth out of seventeen in my age group (I’m shooting for the top half), but it was a pleasant surprise to go out, turn it on, and have the clock tell me nice things.
Two and a half months ago I started training for the longest race I’ve run in almost seven years. Today, I ran it.
The short version of my Semana Nautica 15K run is that the first 5K was good and fast, the second 5K was hard, and the third 5K was looooooong. My lower back and glutes tightened up around mile six, which made raising my legs more difficult than I would have liked. Around the 12K mark, I thought, “If this wasn’t a race, I would stop now.” Of course, it was, so I didn’t.
I finished in 1:21:30, which means I ran 8:45 miles. That’s about what I expected; I tend to run in the 9:30-9:45 range in training, and I usually race about forty-five seconds per mile faster than my training pace. It also meant I finished thirteenth out of twenty in my age group, which is pretty respectable.Now I’ll take a few days to recover and start training for the next thing. That might just turn out to be a half-marathon in October.
15K. 9.3 miles. July 4th.
Yesterday I signed up for the Semana Nautica 15K. I’ve had my eye on it since late March, and I’ve been training with it in mind, but yesterday I made the commitment.
A big factor in making that decision was the training run I did on Sunday, down in LA. I went for a five mile jog along the beach, just south of Marina Del Ray, right in the takeoff path from LAX. It was a beautiful if windy day, so I parked my car, ran two-and-a-half miles down the bike path, turned around, and came back. Around mile three and a half, I found the Rhythm.
The Rhythm is the name I give to the steady, sustainable-pace portion of a long run. It’s when the run stops being interesting, physiologically speaking, and becomes a matter of time and distance. Up to the Rhythm phase, my body is still stretching out, finding its stride, figuring out what’s happening and how to deal with it. In the Rhythm, it’s just going, and it can just keep going until something substantial changes.
The Rhythm, for me, is the key to distance running. Once I get into it, I can sustain it for miles. It’s also something I haven’t experience for a while. Most of my training runs last year were under five miles. It usually takes at least three miles to find the Rhythm, and during the last mile or so of a long run I usually come back out of it, as the excitement of the finish takes over and I pick up the speed. I recall once last year, on a 10K run, when I got into that groove, but beyond that it’s been a few years since I really felt it.
The Rhythm is what tells me I can do 15K on July 4th.