As I've been going through my training for Surf City, I've been able to mostly focus on the next week's long-distance run. So now that we have the Thanksgiving weekend behind us and my series of 10-milers out of the way, I can focus on my next run.
It just so happens that my next run is a race, the Loper's Holiday Classic. It's a 15K race, which is a bit of an odd distance. It's 9.3 miles, or the equivalent of three 5Ks... or a 10K and then a 5K... you get the point.
I'm not sure about what a good time in a 15K constitutes. I used this pace calculator from Runner's World to figure out what a good pace would be for a 15K and it turns out that finishing in 1 hour, 20 minutes would be around an 8:30-per-minute pace. I think that's attainable. Maybe. That seems like a good pace. I ran the Mission Inn 10K in an 8:06-per-minute pace and while stretching that particular pace for another three miles might be tough, I should be able to keep my pace in the 8-minute range.
At least, I thought that was attainable until Wednesday. I hit the gym because I wanted to do a tempo run. I had wanted to run a total of about 45 minutes or so, the first 20 at my goal pace of 8:30 and then minutes 20-40 faster than that. I figured it would be a test of my race strategy, which was to run the first few miles at goal pace and then speed it up in the middle portion while trying to finish strong.
That strategy is out the window. I ran a little more than two miles by the 20-minute mark when I jacked the treadmill from a 7.0 to an 8.0. I wore my heart-rate monitor strap as I'm trying to fix my replacement Polar (battery is dead). About five minutes into my 8.0 pace, I started to really feel it. My heart rate shot up to the high 180s. Keep in mind, my max HR is 186 (220 minus 34, my age, yikes!, is 186) and it was scraping the 190s. I figured it would be best to slow it down to a 7.6, which lowered my pace from a 7:30 to about a 7:55 or so. I was okay. I wanted to lower it some more but made myself stay on. At the 40-minute mark, I slowed it down considerably and wound up running about 5.5 miles in a little more than 45 minutes.
But I was spent. Physically spent. As I stretched, sweat poured off my forehead and dripped down my face and onto my shorts. It was an extraordinary amount of sweat, and a sign that I may have pushed myself too hard. I got Kennedy from the kid's club, went to the nearby grocery store and had a pear to help me recover. For lunch, I had a veggie grinder - I sauteed a bunch of veggies and toasted it on a sourdough sandwich roll in the oven for six minutes - and some plain yogurt over strawberries, so that helped me recover even more.
My strategy now is to finish in under 1 hour 23 minutes. Why 1 hour, 23 minutes? It's under a 9:00 pace and, projected over 13.1 miles, it's about 1 hour 57 minutes. That pace then would help me reach one of my Pie in the Sky goals of finishing a half in under two hours. I still don't really think it's possible for me to run a sub-2 hour half (hence the Pie in the Sky reference) but I'd like to give myself some sort of reason to dream.
While I've spent most of this post rambling about time, I'm going to try and *not* obsess over time, although that is easier said than done. Once I get out there on Sunday, I'm just going to try and run my race, stay true to my training and not do anything stupid. If I finish in 1 hour 23 minutes or better, great. If not, that's fine too.
This is my last race until the big one, Surf City in February. It's not really a dress rehearsal to that one since there is almost two months between the two races. But it's a chance to get my adrenaline flowing in a race setting and tackle a longer distance than the 10K in a race. Since reading so many race reports on the Seattle Half Marathon, I've been wanting to run a race of similar distance soon, so this one will sort of fit the bill. No, it's not the 13.1 beast the half-marathon is, but it's not a 10K either.
It's going to be interesting, that's certain. And then after this, the next biggie will be in two weeks' time: 20 miles on Dec. 20.