Thursday, October 25, 2012

It's Been a While!

Yes, it's been a while since I've posted, but that's not the only way the subject line above applies here. Way more importantly, it's been a while since I've been in the kind of shape I'm in right now, and it feels great to be ready to race again!

It was exactly one year ago that I ran the Cape Cod 100 in what was the smoothest and easiest 100 mile run I've ever completed. At the time I knew that race was the end of my running for a looong time with the pending birth of our baby boy, so when I finally got back on the training horse this past May, it was safe to say the miles came about as smooth and easy as chewing a mouthful of rocks. My usual ugly running posture was reduced to such new and ugly levels that my scuffing and shuffling probably looked less like running and more like I was trying to stomp out a series of small brush fires. The good news is, when you grunt your way back from 5 months of couch-rust during the hot/humid summer like I did, things really start feeling good once your fitness and the weather both start hitting their sweet spot come Fall. Happily, that's where I stand today.

During my first weeks back in the Spring I mentioned I was going to focus on meeting short n' fast time goals in my return to fitness. My 5k goal was 16:30...and even though it hurt like heck, and I probably relied on the treadmill a little too much to get there, I ended up running a 16:25 back in July to meet that goal. I'll politely smile now as you avoid reading this article about a high school girl who just ran an insane 16:00. Yes, baby Sammy, daddy loses to girls all the time. Sometimes by a lot.

Since I hadn't read the story about that girl yet, and thus still had the false impression that I was somewhat skilled in the world of running, I tried my hand at a 10k race a couple weeks ago. To make it more fun than a solo time-trial, I joined up with my old Triathlon teammates Rob (the swimmer) and Chris (the cyclist) to enter a team relay Tri once again. As it turned out, the running course was definitely not a PR kind of setting with a couple miles of grass/fell running and a couple long hill repeats on loose gravel, but comparatively speaking my legs kicked and screamed in stellar form to a 39:21 finish that beat the next closest relay runner by 3:10. 
So much breathing, yet so little oxygen getting to my legs! 10Ks are horrible!!
The week after the race I took to the track to clock a flat and fast-footed 10k and see where I really stood in terms of fitness. Quite happily I kicked out a 35:01, good enough for 5:37/mile pace, and definitely good enough for me to meet my 10k time goal of 35:15. Now I move on to a 10 mile time trial. With the goal being a 57:30, let me be the first to go on record as saying, "...guhhhh."

Before I get to that 10 mile nonsense, I'll happily sneak back into my comfort zone and enter a race in which I actually have the chance to beat some high schoolers! Three weeks from today I fly down to Texas to run my first 24 Hour race in over two years! Sure, I entered the Desert Solstice 24 last December, but I had no delusions of running more than 50 miles or so given that I hadn't run a step in the 9 weeks prior. This time around at UltraCentric next month I'm coming in with fit legs and high hopes. The goal will be 150 miles (or at least 148 to sneak into the last position for a spot on the U.S. Team for next Spring), and I couldn't be more excited to march through hour after hour of self-inflicted mental torture! I'll be sure to follow up with a more informative post about this race in a couple weeks before I head down. Sure, it's still 3 weeks off, but it's my first race in a year, so it's safe to say I'm already psyched for it!