Since my triathlon season officially ended with my Olympic-distance race last month, October was really focused on running. And although I’ve been improving on the run all year, I really feel like October was a breakout month for me, for reasons that I’ve covered in recent posts. A quick recap – in October, I:
– ran my first official 5k race, destroying my goal time of sub-20 (19:12) and taking first in my age group. Making it more meaningful was the fact that the race was large enough (1,000+ participants) to award medals and cash prizes to the top finishers – the first time I’ve ever been paid for running a race.
– ran my first miles at a sub-6 pace. I ran the opening half of the 5k at a 5:59 pace, and then a couple weeks later I ran a 2-mile segment of a tempo run in my hilly neighborhood at the same speed. I haven’t run a timed mile since elementary school, and I never imagined I would be below 6 minutes. Now that I can run two consecutive miles below 6, I wonder what my single-mile time would be?
– ran my longest run in almost four years. Fifteen miles was the longest long run of this training cycle, and I hadn’t run farther than about 14 miles since my last marathon in 2007. This 15-miler, completed at an overall 7:08 pace, was also the fastest of any long run this season up to that point.
– ran my first double-digit run at a sub-7 pace. The week after the 15-miler, I finished my 10-mile long run at a 6:56 pace, which happens to be the pace for my standing 10k PR, set in April. Looks like I need to run another 10k sometime soon (this is foreshadowing…).
All of these milestones have really boosted my confidence, and I can’t wait to see what I can produce on the day of my half-marathon in two weeks. On one hand, I feel like that day will be the payoff for all of this training – an official record of my current ability. But on the other hand, these past couple months of training have been so solid that I can still feel good about my running fitness if, for some reason, things don’t go as I would like on race day. Running a strong race would be good for my official resume, but I still know what I am capable of no matter what happens on Nov. 12. This is probably the best I’ve ever been prepared for a race, and I know what I can do in the right conditions.
An important part of my half-marathon training has been cross-training, and I’ve been logging those workouts as religiously as I have been running. I swim at least once a week, and actually logged more time in the pool in October than I did during the last month of my triathlon season. And while my actual biking mileage seems anemic, I’ve actually spent many hours on the spin cycle at the gym, accounting for approximately 80 miles’ worth of saddle time. With the recent acquisition of a bike trainer at home, I’ll be logging more miles on my actual bike than the spin cycle at the gym.
November is going to be all about the race. I’m going to be following my training plan through the taper (although I’ve been sick the past three days – I might skip one of the scheduled runs this week) and up to race day. After race day I am going to take two weeks to evaluate things – to process how the race turned out and how my body feels in the aftermath. What happens in those two weeks will carry some heavy weight as I consider what comes next. I’ve signed up for a local 10k Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving that takes place on an extremely hilly course – the hardest I’ve ever run on. It’s not considered a PR course because of its difficulty, but I plan to do my best to make it one if I’m feeling up to it after the half. There’s a lot to be excited about in the coming month!
Here are this distances I covered in October:
Swim: 4,080m (2.5 miles)
Bike: 37.3 miles (+ about 80 miles on the spin cycle)
Run: 111.8 miles