And just like that it's September. Almost 3 months since my last entry. It feels a bit like a confession at church. Well - at least how I'd imagine it would feel like - with me being neither catholic, nor a church goer... but other than that. Exactly like it...
I don't have a lot of creative juices as I sit down to update my blog. The main purpose is to jot down a quick recap of the summer - mostly for my own benefit. To remind myself of what went well, and what didn't, so I can learn from it for next year.
If you want to read this - go right ahead - but don't tell you that I didn't warn you. If you're having trouble sleeping at night - maybe print this out and keep it by the side of your bed. You can thank me the next morning.
Ok - late June - the Slacker Half Marathon. I set a big PR here - 1.23.45. I love the symmetry of those numbers. However - it definitely wasn't smooth sailing. I went out way too fast - 10K was in 38.50, and at 6.55 miles - the half way point - doubling the time got 1.21.xx. Around 10 miles I started to struggle, and the last mile was pure hell - 7:30ish min pace, which given the overall average was 6:20 - it shows how bad the wheels had come off. So despite the PR - next year - go out a little slower. That last mile is tough, you can gain at least a minute on that alone if you're smarter.
Still - 2nd in AG - nothing to be unhappy with and a big old medal. Here's a group of us at the finish - me in the back middle. All AG medalists - except they didn't have the silver medals at the time and had to mail them to us. Grrr... if only Jay was a bit more secure with his body... :)
Then back to the grind. I wanted to follow a friend's plan from earlier in the year, where he ramped up the mileage 3 or so months out - and then did achieve the sub-3 that I'm also striving for. July I had my 6 day weekly PR mileage record 91 - and also mileage month PR (341). And it was bloody hot all sodding month !
Straight from that into early August I ran the Evergreen 5K. Another fast course. My goal was to go sub 18 minutes so I could officially 'retire' the distance. I hate 5Ks with a passion. The race went exactly to plan. 5:45 min/mile splits pretty much the whole way, to a 17:50 time. 3rd in AG so another medal. BlueEarth was there too - just a few yards behind - and a sub 18 PR for him as well and 1st in AG. Amazing. Very happy with how that went. It was also the first time I learned of the amazing Scholl family. Tyler - at 10 years old - ran 16:21, while his 14 year old sister Tabor, ran 17:26 - the only woman to beat me that day. Unbelievable family. I'm sure they'll be very well known in a few years. Next year I'll run the 10K. Lesson from this one - there is no chip timing at the start - so get up closer to the front. I probably lost 5 seconds or so from my PR because of the time it took to cross the start line.
The positive - both the Slacker and Evergreen Races qualified me for the A wave at next year's Bolder Boulder. Looking back to my beginning of year goals - 'sub 1.25 in the half, sub 18 in the 5K' - check, and check.
The following weekend was Georgetown to Idaho Springs. I knew that it was very unlikely I'd beat my new half PR, so I trained through the race. 73 miles that week and expectations were low. Driving up with a couple of friends, I cautioned them against running too fast the first few miles, and then went about proving what a hypocrite I can be. All plans of a slow start went out the window. Way too fast the first few miles - I was gassed at 7, and struggled home again. 1:26.31 - still only 5 seconds slower than last year despite the huge positive split which told me that I was in a lot better shape. Next year - GO OUT SLOWER ! You can easily make up that time at the bottom. First 7 miles I averaged 6:25 pace, last 6 it was 6:45+ pace. Still - I was happy that I kept it going, despite a strong urge to quit and walk it in. I hadn't tapered for this race. but that's about the only positive I can glean from that one.
The only other unusual happening was later that week. I was grinding up dried ghost peppers (bhut jolokias) and some of the powder got into the air and into my lungs. I went into a coughing spasm - and pulled my groin.... as a result I lost 3 full days of scheduled running - my first missed runs of the year. Even now, 3 weeks later, I can feel that it's not completely healed. As a result, August was just 272 miles.
August was also sodding hot. In fact - it was the hottest August on record in Denver. So all in all, a reasonable mileage effort.
As I write now, it's less than 4 weeks to go until St George. The Georgetown to Idaho Springs half, and the 'pepper groin' incident have taken a little of the luster off my form and confidence. Still - that's probably a good thing. A friend I met at a club run fell apart after 16 miles at St George from going too fast on the downhills. Given my experience in Boston - I can definitely envision that scenario. I need to respect the hills of St George. Go out too fast - and my quads will become jelly. Better to go in with some trepidation, take things easy, and see if I can turn it on at the end.