Filtering by Tag: 8k

Oddly sad

Today was a big running day in Richmond - an 8k, a half marathon and a marathon. The same and only marathon that I ran two years ago. I was going to run the 8k, but as soon as I got my job offer I knew that I didn't want to squeeze it in with the moving that had to be done. Instead of running a race this weekend, I spent last night getting a workout in by climbing up and down a ladder and carrying boxes out of my attic in about an hour's time. Today I'm feeling it -- my feet and hips are sore from that up and down mess on the ladder, my elbows are bruised from hitting the sides of the attic entry and my knee hurts because I missed a step coming down one time, resulting in me banging my knee against the ladder.

But that wasn't a PR in an 8k or a 4-hour marathon. It was life's work. While I'm excited about my move and completely happy with my new job, it was sad not participating in a big race today with thousands of other people. But the great thing about running is there's always next year. It's so cliché, yet completely true. I'm actually tempted to sign up for next year's marathon this weekend while there's a discount rate.

I'll give it a day, though, just to make sure I'm not going with my emotions right now. My body and I need to talk about this ...

A roundabout way to "what's next"

Often after a race I find myself in the strangest of moods. A runner's high is great. It's unexplainable to anyone who doesn't run. Coming down off that high, though, is tough. Yesterday wasn't so bad. I came back home energized, ready to sign up for another race, ready to make plans for next year, ready to just keep going. Since I didn't run too hard, I wanted the "what's next" part of running to be right now. It can sort of happen like that, but like a year ago at this time, I'm finding that I don't really want "what's next" to be a half marathon. At least this year I want to run; last year at this time I was tired of running. So today I've really come crashing down off my weekend experience. While a few weeks ago I was ready to not do the Rock 'n' Roll Half again I realize that this is very much a "vacation race." I had a lot of fun just getting away, hanging out with my 10-month-old son on the beach, eating dinner each night with my mom and stepdad -- but it felt like it was a day too short. I wish I would've taken a longer stroll on the beach with my wife the last night there; I wanted my son to play in the sand for another half hour on Sunday. I didn't want to work today and rainy weather didn't help. I wanted to stay home and plan ... I wanted to plan my now-annual Shamrock Half Marathon trip; I wanted to plan next Labor Day weekend at the beach again. I wanted "what's next" to be right now.

But I can't rush these things. I have a real world to get back to and I have some work to do with my running besides just wanting to race. I don't want to run for the sake of running, which has sort of happened this summer. So as far as what's next, a big focus for me has to do with not worrying about racing. Yet at the same time for me to improve my running in these "big" events, I have to race in something. Nothing beats the experience of running with large groups of people.

So for right now, my running is going back to basics. I want to get faster -- I want to get back to my sub 8-minute mile race paces from 2007. In order to do that I need to do speed work. So starting next week at least once a week, one day of running will be devoted to speed - intervals, fartleks, tempo runs. Something other than my current one-speed pace. I am not going to do a "big" fall race, meaning the Richmond Half Marathon is out. However, that weekend (Nov. 14) also has an 8k that I plan on doing. I'd like my "long" runs to be in the 5-6 mile range this fall, so a mid-November almost 5-miler would be ideal. That gives me two months to work on my speed issues and to attempt a PR at that distance. A turkey trot in Ohio is likely later that month and maybe, just maybe, I'll return to my roots in Bedford for the Christmas Classic that I've done a few times.

That pretty much leads me into next year. I mentioned the new Blue Ridge Marathon several weeks ago, but that event is out. It's too costly for me to commit to right now. Plus that course is the toughest course I've ever seen. And, quite honestly, the marathon itch still isn't there for me. My main goal is to set a PR in the half marathon and, to me, there's no better course to do it on than one I've already done three times -- the Shamrock Half Marathon in March.

A lot of runners like to travel to different cities for events. I often get that desire from time to time, but at this point in my life I'm starting to enjoy this tradition. The trip to Virginia Beach in March these past few years have been a lot of fun. While it's cold, it's an awesome time to go when not many tourists are around. Everything is still open, just minus the people. And after two years in a row of being at the beach on Labor Day, I'm pretty sure that next year I'd like to do it a third time. And since race entries do nothing but go up throughout the year, there's no better time than now to plan out 2010.

If I'm going to have a tradition with running then two half marathons a year in two completely different times of the year in one great place only two hours from home is a nice tradition to have.

An OK race, but a good run

This may be the least that I have to say about an actual race, but for the time I was running there's really not much to say. I finished today's Sweetheart 8k in 40:01, just a tad more than 8 minutes a mile. Like last year, the initial half-mile uphill was the make-or-break point for this race. I handled it OK, getting the first mile in at 8:17. The next mile was mostly downhill and I was rolling along at just over 7 minutes. The rest of the race was up and down, as were my times. In the end though, I felt good about what I had done despite not breaking last year's time. For me, this was a test of my race shape. I'll give myself a B-minus. I feel good about what I can do in the next five weeks to have a good half marathon. A PR may be out of reach at this point, but it may set me up for a good rest of the year. On the flip side of things, I'm not trying to use this an excuse for running slower than I wanted, but the temperature at race start was about 30 degrees. It felt flippin' cold after near-record highs earlier this week. It was nearly a 30-degree swing in temperatures from running outside last week. Another issue that I couldn't control was the start of the race -- it started 10 minutes late. WTF?? I have NEVER started a race that late ... two, maybe three minutes, but 10 minutes? After warming up, I was ready to go ... not stand around and wait for the thing to start.

I hate to talk bad about the local running club's races, but this isn't the first somewhat unorganized event I've attended. On top of the late start, there were only two portapotties for more than 300 finishers - fortunately I didn't have to pee, but ... and there was a long line for water and the usual after-race treats -- something I had not seen before at a community race. Usually water is pretty accessible, but not today for some reason.

All in all, though, today was a very good day. I got in some speedwork, but I wasn't as fast as I'd like. I ended up getting in 6.3 miles total today and after another run tomorrow, I'll have more than 20 miles for the week. After taking off time from thinking about racing for a while and resting up my body, I think I kind of expected today's results. I hit the reset button on my own with running, and it's up to me to stay focused and get back to where I was a couple of years ago. It will be done ...

(Funny thing... after writing all this I just went back and read last year's post about this race. Eerily similar, including my use of bold and italics, minus the race complaints. Click here to check it out.)

8.4 on the bike, plus other things

While it seems much of my focus has turned back to running, I can't let go cross training days go without being recognized. Tonight, after 2 miles on the elliptical, I got in a nice, slow, steady 8.4 miles on the bike. It was kind of odd -- I was putting in a pretty good effort, yet it felt effortless. There's nothing better than a workout like that.

* * *

After my 7 creepishly bad miles on Saturday, I got in a good 3.6-mile run yesterday and felt a ton better. I think some of my problem Saturday was actually just being outside. I've gotten used to running indoors and the nice weather outside was probably a bit of a shock to my system.

* * *

Lastly, this weekend I'm still planning to run the Sweetheart 8k. I'm not looking forward to that first hill, but I am looking forward to racing again. It's been almost four months since my last race, so I'm getting that itch to see how I'll be. Last year this was a very satisfying race; this year I'm looking for the same.

Easing into fall

There's part of me that feels like this was a disappointing week, yet there's another part of me that feels completely satisfied. In the end, I think it's what I realized this week with getting in better overall shape that has me happy.

It's been an interesting week with my mileage. All told I have 32 miles -- 10.6 running, 10.5 biking, 8.6 walking and 2.3 on the elliptical machine. I missed a run this week to get into the teens, but I did do a little more biking -- all this weekend. Adding it all up, it's more than last week and that's really all I was seeking. My desire to run still isn't very strong, but as I've mentioned this week my desire to stay in shape and get in better shape is growing.

I don't have any specific injuries, but I've had a lot of dull, aching pains this week in my feet and my knees. It's nothing major and it's nothing I haven't trained through before. Perhaps its the changing of the seasons and the cooler weather, or perhaps it's because I need the break from pavement. I'm not going to push it right now, but I'm not going to completely stop either. Getting in 10 miles or so a week right now is sufficient for me, as long as I'm doing other stuff.

This coming week, my goal is to increase my overall mileage from this week -- it's nice to be able to take a different approach to fitness with the ability to ease off the running. You may have noticed that I took my 8k counter down. It's not that I don't plan on doing it, but for personal reasons I can't commit to it until that week. I don't need it sitting there if I end up not running it. There's also a 5k next weekend that I'm considering, but I probably won't make that decision until the night before. It sure is nice to be able to do that.

Lastly, I wanted to give a shout out to my friend Vicki, who also ran the Rock 'n' Roll Half in August. Yesterday she completely the Baltimore Marathon in just under 5 hours -- congrats to her and all the other finishers out there!