"The Road goes ever on and on,
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone
And I must follow if I can."
--from The Lord of the Rings
It's now been a week since the Colder Boulder. In addition to continuing to bask a little bit in my happiness at the result, I and my family celebrated Dec. 8, a great day because it was our twins' 4th birthday. We also visited with my dad and his wife who drove out for the occasion from Missouri. With all of the eating out and birthday cake, I completely fell off the good food bandwagon, but will climb back on tomorrow, knowing I have a visit with Martha on Thursday morning and a lot of running work ahead that being lighter will make easier.
I have also shifted into half-marathon training mode, my eye on March 27 and the Boulder Spring Half. I ran easy on Tuesday, kept up the two days of aerobic cross training mandated by the FIRST program (I'll do a post on cross-training later) and on Thursday resumed full-on running with a tempo workout (tempo runs include a warm-up mile or so, a series of back-to-back miles at a semi-hard pace, and finally an easy cool-down). And yesterday I ran 10 miles for the first time in three weeks.
My training paces have all increased. The FIRST program, unlike some where you choose a race pace you're shooting for and then base training paces on that, uses your *last* race to determine proper paces to train. My prior training paces were based on October's Boulder Half-Marathon. Now, thanks to the Colder Boulder, I have a whole new set of (faster) speeds to hit in my runs. Here's how it breaks down (all times per-mile):
*1-mile intervals: Formerly 8:22s, now (gulp) 7:37s (I will do intervals of other lengths, but that's sort of the signature one)
*Tempo pace: Formerly 8:55 or 9:10, now 8:09 or 8:24 (my tempo run on Thursday was 3 miles at 8:09, and it felt hard but do-able--yay!!)
*Long run pace: Formerly 9:25, now 9:03 or 9:13 (depending on the distance and how far into the program I am)
The half-marathon race pace my 5K time predicts: 8:43, or a 1:54:16 (given faithful adherence to my training program). I'm excited about this, as it's right in line with my next goal of beating 2 hours in the half by as wide a margin as I can. (As a side note, my 5K also predicts a 3:57:17 marathon--not good enough for Boston, but *much* better than the 4:19 predicted by my last half. So I have definitely gotten closer! Hopefully March's half will bring me closer still.)
I've been formulating a few ideas not spelled out in the plan that should also help. I'm going to try to do as many of the long runs as possible *on* the half-marathon course itself. It's the same course out by the Boulder Reservoir where I ran my disappointing October half, and so I think getting to know every hill and dip of its gravelly length will give me an edge.
I'm also planning to do a race in February (the 10-mile Snowman Stampede) in lieu of another lonely long run, just to keep it interesting. As with the Turkey Trot, this won't be for speed but rather as a pacing exercise (and I'll try not to let it freak me out as I did with the Turkey Trot--repeat after me: "This is not my target race").
Of course a lot of this will depend on staying healthy. My kids both have a cold now, and though Dan and I have so far avoided this one, I know there's one out there with my name on it and that when it hits I *must* deal with it properly so as not to derail my progress. I've noticed my bedtime creeping later again, too, and I need to get back to 9:30 p.m. lights out at the latest.
So with my work cut out for me, let my Road's next stage begin!