My life has been crazy busy and the ole blog has taken a hit as a result, but I am going to make an effort to start posting more regularly. Just an update on my life: I passed my dissertation defense so that was huge and I’ve been on cloud nine since last Friday. I was also offered an amazing job on Monday in D.C. so basically this is my lucky week. The past weekend was outstanding. I slept, ate, shopped, partied, and ran. Could it get any better? I think not. Here’s my race recap from the weekend.
Last Sunday’s Frostbite 15k lived up to its name. It was COLD!!!! I found it funny that although it’s been in the 50s and 60s all winter long, Sunday morning was 30 degrees and lightly snowing. At least I got the winter race experience 🙂
I went into the race knowing that I just wanted to treat it as a training run. I did this for a few reasons. First, I am still feeling lingering effects of the worst illness I’ve had in quite some time. I can’t stress this enough: getting sick really effs up your running. Other than one really awful 9.5 mile run the week before, I had taken 2 weeks off of running. Ouch.
The second reason I wanted to run the 15k as a training run was because I am running smarter this year (remember???). This means not running “all out” at all of my races and only picking a few key events to truly race. This is really difficult for me because as soon as I am surrounded by a ton of other runners and am running in a formal race, my competitor mode clicks on. I just end up running faster! But I know that if I want to effectively train for the races I want to run this year (including 2 marathons) while dealing with my knee injury, I need to pick and choose the races I run all out. That doesn’t mean I can’t run races often, it just means I can’t treat them all as a PR opportunity. An article in The Running Times corroborates this view:
“To many in the sport, this level of nonstop serial racing seems a bit preposterous and almost superhuman: definitely dangerous. The amount of stress the body undergoes in a race — the wear and tear on the nerves, the damage to all those mitochondria from the constant pounding — to do it over and over again without what appears to be a decent amount of rest and recovery seems like the running equivalent of playing with fire, an open invitation to injury and burnout…Are there any benefits to serial racing? Can one get away with bucking the long-established and perhaps overly cautious conventions of taking the proper amount of time to taper before the race and recover afterwards?
The key isn’t necessarily the amount of racing the athlete is doing; It’s the specific goals of the races themselves. “The trouble comes when you have an athlete who runs all-out every time they step on the line,” Rubio says. “That type of athlete should be held back.”
If you’re interested in dabbling in safe serial racing, a good way to hold yourself back in a race is to purposely start the race at a slower pace and increase your effort gradually. Treat the race like a progression run.”
So my goal for the Frostbite 15k was not to run at a fast, racing pace but rather stick to a moderate training pace. It was hard. Almost impossible at times actually. I checked my Garmin more times than I want to admit (remember, I’ve always been anti-Garmin and have only recently begun to run with one. I just like to run based on how I feel). For the most part I stuck to a 9 min/mile pace, which is about 40 seconds/mile faster than I usually train for my long, slow runs. My “fast” running pace as of now (since I haven’t been pushing faster since June 2011…geez) is about a 8:35. I can push faster than that but I definitely start to feel drained anywhere around that pace or faster. So I consider sticking to a 9 min/mile pace a win!
You can see that for the first 10k I stuck to right around 9 minutes, but then sped up in the last 10k with 8:50 for an overall pace of 8:59 (p.s. the Richmond Road Runners email you all your splits and chip time almost immediately after the race, which is awesome)
The beginning of the race was really COLD!!! I was bundled up right up until the very start
Can you spot me?
There I am!
Next up? The Colonial Half Marathon in Williamsburg, VA on February 26th (I just signed up yesterday!
And the Irish Sprint 10k in Quantico on St. Patty’s Day. I signed up for this race today and all finishers get guaranteed entry into the Marine Corps Marathon. So in essence I guaranteed my spot in the Marathon in October. SWEET!
So far, I’m sticking to my early 2012 race plan 🙂