Monthly Archives: February 2013

The elusive sub-60 minute 10K? I did that!

I told you I was going to do it soon, didn’t I?

I ran a long slow 11.2 miles on Sunday and figured that surely, this time, I’d need several days to recover before I’d feel like running again. I did get a little tired toward the end of that run and the soles of my feet were a bit sore. This was, after all, the longest distance I’ve run since Victoria last October.

But this morning I was ready to go! It still amazes me, but I am finding lately that the more I push myself, the more I am capable of doing… provided that I’m always careful to listen to my body and back off or rest when I really, truly need to cut myself some slack.

Today I didn’t need any more rest! I went out to the flat waterfront stretch of trail where I have probably logged the greatest number of miles over the past few years. I know this section extremely well; I can simply relax and enjoy the run.

I planned to run west about three miles and back — no specific goals, just a nice run. But I ticked off the first three miles at a surprising 9:30 pace. So I thought — why not give it a go? I turned around at 3.1 miles and a time of approximately 29:30. I maintained the same pace for the next two miles but allowed myself to back off a bit in mile 6, which is slightly uphill. I finished the 6.2 miles comfortably in 59:30 — and I am one not-so-slow and very happy runner!

So, having finally achieved the last of those three big hairy audacious running goals — what’s next?

I want to get to the point where I can regularly go out and run steadily for two hours or more, and then feel like running again two days later. I want to settle into a comfortable cruising pace and maintain it for longer and longer periods of time. Right now my cruising pace, based on my last three long runs, is about 10:15 — which means that I could run a half marathon right now and with just a bit of pushing I could be in PR territory again.

I obviously don’t expect to extend that pace all the way up to 25+ miles. I expect to slow down a bit as I increase my distance — but I do hope to gradually and steadily increase my distance.

Right now I think I have two new running goals:

  1. Run a sub-2:10 half marathon (I’ll need a sub-10 minute pace to do that)
  2. Complete a full marathon (preferably in under 5 hours! I think that’s quite doable)

Yes, it seems I am going to register for a marathon! It was probably inevitable that I was going to do it. I’m not ready to actually pay the money just yet — but I’m spending an inordinate amount of time thinking about it, dreaming about it, fretting about it, and getting excited about it. The race I’m considering is still over six months away, so I’ll have plenty of time to feel my way toward those longer and longer runs.

I’ll keep you posted. Meanwhile I’m going to put my feet up and let myself feel proud of finally vanquishing the last of those original seemingly impossible running goals.

Who knows what may become possible, one step at a time?

Feeding the streak

Well-chosen, realistic but challenging goals, once established, have a funny way of sticking — of taking root in your heart. I didn’t really know what I was signing up for when I set my somewhat modest running mileage goals for 2013. What I didn’t realize at the time was that I was really signing up for a joint commitment with CFL to be active every single day for… who knows how long we’ll last?

I think I figured out I was hooked on the streak before the end of the first week. It’s now 35 days into 2013 and I have accumulated the following mileage:

  • 89 running miles
  • 61 walking miles
  • 4 hiking miles

That’s a total of 154 miles!

At this rate I’m going to blow my modest goals (730 running miles, 1200 total miles) out of the water.

I’ve run/walked/hiked those miles in Washington, California, and Oregon. I’ve run on pavement, gravel, rocks, mud, sand, surf, and grass. I’ve walked inside an airport terminal and I’ve done laps around shopping mall parking lots — just to keep the streak intact.

Along the way, I’m discovering that as I get stronger and more accustomed to this increased level of activity, my self-imposed challenges get bigger and my response to them gets better.

Just over a year ago I set myself some big hairy audacious running goals:

  1. Sub-30 minute 5k
  2. Sub-60 minute 10k
  3. Sub-2:30 half marathon

#1 turned out to be rather easy, and I’ve now done it several times, although never officially in a race. I’ve also surprised myself by hitting #3 handily in my last three races. My current half marathon goal is 2:10, which would be a sub-10 minute pace.

Goal #2 still eludes me. I haven’t really set out to do it, but I’ve glanced at my watch several times at the 6.2 mile mark during longer runs. The best I’ve been able to do is just under 1:02. Well, the other day I started out to run 7 miles on a hilly trail (paved) and noticed that I was hitting my first few miles at a comfortable 9:50 pace. With just a bit of a push I had a shot at the elusive sub-60 minute 10k! I didn’t quite make it, but I clocked that distance at 1:00:45. The sub-60 minute 10k will be mine, the next time I give it a real attempt on a flat section of trail!

Even more impressive (to me) is the fact that I’m regularly running longer and recovering faster. Over the past five days, I’ve run that brisk 7 miles on pavement, 6.5 miles on a steep rocky trail, and 8.25 miles on pavement. On today’s 8.25 mile run, I backed off the pace to a comfortable 10:15 (which I used to consider a blistering pace) and finished not even feeling winded. It wasn’t so long ago that I would have needed four days or more to recover from any of those three runs. Now I run them, chafe on my “off” day when I might only walk 4 miles, and can’t wait to run them again.

Part of the “problem” (or the thing that keeps luring me on to try longer and more frequent runs) is the fact that CFL has been coming along with me to ride his bike. And you guessed it, he wants to ride longer and longer distances (we are learning that team streaking is a highly addictive activity).

We typically do out-and-back runs and agree to turn around at a given time, which theoretically gets both of us back at the car at the same time. He’s not really satisfied with anything less than a 90-minute ride. So I find myself agreeing to run longer distances… and I find myself loving the distance and feeling great afterwards.

I warned him today where this is likely to lead. When an “easy mid-week run” has me going 8+ miles, how much longer will it be until the mileage creeps upward into double digits? How long until I tackle a 15 mile long slow run? And once I’m doing “fun runs” that exceed the half marathon distance, can a decision to attempt a marathon be far behind?

I confess that I am playing with the idea of running a marathon.

Dad, don’t faint. I’ll be intelligent about it, I promise.

It’s still just an idea at this point.

But I know when and where I’ll try it, if I decide to try it.

Feeding the streak… what shall I do tomorrow? It’s the stuff of sweet dreams…

One step at a time!