I officially registered for the Charlestown FOP 5K in Ninigret this Sunday. I wasn't sure if I would definitely be around or not. This is a PR course, and hopefully I can knock a few more seconds off of mine and sneak under 17 minutes. My mind waivers if I'm in shape to do this or not. I probably should taper for this race, but I'm not going to compromise my training for upcoming goal races - Li'l Rhody Runaround and Christmas 10K. We'll see what happens.
Monday: 10 miles - Ryan Park trails with Dan. I haven't run with Dan in a long time, but he was my main training partner for the first two years I seriously got into running. This run brought the memories right back - he would push the pace faster than what I wanted to go, I would eventually get used to it and maintain it for the duration while he hung back. Every run was done rather fast, and is opposite of the way I train now. It made me think I really lollygag some of my easy trail runs. Anyway, I followed him around the park for the first 4 miles or so, roughly following the Belleville Pond 10K course. He told me to take over the lead after we stopped for some horses. We finished up the run back at our cars (52 minutes), and I decided to run a couple of more miles, completing another loop around the pond. Fun day.
Tuesday: 10 miles - Big River trails alone. I was inspired to do a long trail tempo today after yesterday's run and checking out the competition on Strava. I decided to run the loop of Lego to Dead Shed to Pump House and back. GPS measures it at about 6 miles, but definitely seems like 7. Right away my legs felt tired so I opted for a short warm up that seemed to do the trick (about 1.5 miles). The weather was sunny and warm (70 degrees) and I wondered if I would get hot wearing my required orange shirt. I picked up my pace and began the loop. I was running hard, but at a pace I thought (hoped) I could manage to maintain. I was sporting my new glasses, but moving so fast on the leaf covered trails it was still a bit of an adventure. I made it through the first half of Lego in about 14 minutes an knew that I was doing well. What surprised me was my split at the end of 2nd half of Lego (PR!) and I still felt great. I continued to push myself down Dead Shed. I wasn't tired yet. Unfortunately I didn't look at my watch and GPS didn't match the segment, so I didn't get my split for this trail (but likely a PR too). I finally was experiencing some fatigue on the Pump House trail on the early twisty part, but I knew the end was near. I turned it up some more on the straight Strava segment at the end (another PR) and continued to motor back up the New London Turnpike. I completed the loop in 43:47 - a 5 minute PR and CR. I then did another 1.5 mile cooldown. This was a really good workout and a confidence boost for upcoming trail races.
Wednesday: 8 miles - Rome Point trails alone. Today felt like a late fall/early winter day. It was gray and cold. The trails were covered with dry brown leaves (except for trails that "the raker" had recently visited). The woods were quiet except for the occasional flock of mixed winter birds (chickadees, titmice, juncos, etc.). I was overdressed, and warmed up rather quickly. My legs seemed okay at first, but felt tired for most of the run. There's a new fun little trail on the north side of the park. Good stuff. Okay run.
Thursday: 18 miles on two runs. Today was an epic workout in the pitch dark. The ambitious plan was another MacMillan 10K workout: 1 x 2 mile/5 min rest/4 x 1 mile w/ 3-4 minute rests all run at goal 10K pace. That's 6 miles of speed work and I just ran a hard 7 mile trail tempo two days ago. I wasn't sure if I could complete the workout or nail the target pace (5:40). I had a restless sleep, and finally got out of bed at 4:50AM. We needed to start the workout early so that Mike and myself could leave at 7. I hit the road and arrived just behind Nate. It was chilly (38 degrees) and going to be dark for another hour plus. I dressed appropriately and decided to wear my shoes (Nike 3.0's) that I would be racing the Christmas 10K in (and maybe Li'l Rhody). I wandered over to the track and began running while Nate stretched. A couple of laps in Nate and Chris G joined me. A few more laps and then Mike showed up. We eventually stopped and I realized I ran almost a 3 mile warm up - oops, too long! Without much delay we walked up to the start line and began the 2 mile interval. Chris is racing this weekend and decided to run with/pace me. This is super helpful as he had an old school watch and could check our splits. It was so dark, it seemed like we were the only two on the track. We were 2-3 seconds slow on the 2nd lap and it felt like we couldn't catch up, but I ended up with a 11:19 (11:20 target). We ran two laps for a recovery and then began the 4 x mile repeats. Honestly I thought we would do 3 of them, as none of us have been doing close to 6 miles of speedwork. Chris again was going to run with me, but I was feeling great and stayed in front of him and did the math in my head each lap to ensure I wasn't going too slow. After 3, Chris and Nate were stopping, but Mike was game for one more. Fatigue was setting in, but I still felt pretty smooth on the last one. Huge confidence boost. I don't know if I can run 5:40 pace for a 10K, but I should have no problems PR'ing. Results: 11:19/5:36/5:37/5:33/5:32 Boom!
I was feeling pretty beat when the time for my early afternoon recovery came around, but the weather looked nice (sunny), so I tried to make the best of it. I decided to stay close and just run the west side of Ryan Park. My form felt ragged at first, but things got easier after a while. I was moving slow and it was cold when facing the wind. I mixed up the course as I went which took away some of the monotony. I smashed my foot on a root and fell 4+ miles in. I wished I had my trail shoes on! I tacked on a mile across the road in Feuer Park before weaving my way back to my car. Big day. I need to make sure I replace my depleted chromium levels tonight.
Friday: 9 miles - 3 x Calf Pasture Point loop (beach, trail, and bike path) alone. This run turned out way better than I thought. I had a bad attitude since my legs were tired, it was windy, cloudy, and cold. Nothing seemed appealing to me as far as where to run, so I ventured over to the bike path since it is flat and scenic. When I reached the beach, I was afraid the tide was too high for me to make it by the tidal stream, but it is currently dried up, so that wasn't a problem. The sand wasn't as firm as I'd like and the wind was in my face for the southern half of the shoreline. But I found myself enjoying the run more and more as I went. After two laps, I decided to run one more but in the opposite direction. The wind situation was better at first, but then screaming in my face on the north end. Oh well. My legs felt pretty strong coming off the big workout yesterday.
Saturday: 3 miles - 9 x home trail loops in the mid afternoon. I wasn't feeling an early morning run in the dark and cold so I ran the only chance I had which was at my house during the kids' screen time. I was glad I did get to shake the legs out. Total time: 22:47 (7:32/7:40/7:35).
Sunday: 8 miles - Charlestown FOP 5K - 17:04, 3rd overall, 2 second PR. I needed to start my sprint a little earlier or just run a little tougher. Still a decent effort since I was running alone and it was windy. Separate write up to follow. My splits according to Strava: 5:34/5:38/5:28/.1 in 4:21 pace. Happy with the consistency.
Overall: 3 speed workouts and decent mileage. I hope to keep plugging away like this until Li'l Rhody week.
Weekly Total: 66 miles
Last Week: 72 miles
Year to Date: 2668 miles