Today I took a break from the Boulder Reservoir and did my off-week long run of 10 miles by participating in the Snowman Stampede in Littleton, CO, a Denver suburb that's about 45 minutes from Boulder. The day dawned sparkling and still, and I had slept wonderfully at my friend Kathy's house the night before. Though the race start was later than I like (10:15 a.m.), I felt relaxed and ready to run by the time Kathy and I arrived at the course.
My program dictated 9:03 miles for this run. I had a feeling I could do better than that even though the program's authors discourage running faster than the specified paces. I figure at this point, as long as all three of my weekly runs are coming in at or below the specified paces, I can stretch a little on the long ones without harm. And after last week's difficult run, I wanted some fun.
The course, which stretched north from Hudson Gardens along the paved Platte River Trail, was basically flat--slightly downward on the way out, slightly upward on the way back--but much more even than I've been doing. It was a good exercise, as it's hard to do a truly flat course in Boulder if you're aiming for any sort of distance.
I knew I would need to pace myself going out, and when I looked at my Garmin results later (see below), I was pleased to see I largely accomplished this. The first mile was my slowest and the last mile was my fastest, as it should be. The middle was a bit more uneven than I'd like (the slight cool breeze that had helped me the first half was gone for the second, and the sun was hot), but not so much as to truly alarm me.
In the end, the Garmin pegged my pace at 8:39 for 10:08 miles. My official result put me at an 8:43 pace for the 10 miles, good for 12th out of 59 people in the 35-39 year-old female age group, 71st out of 276 women and 212th out of the whole field of 484.
I'm also very happy that my gut was quiet and happy throughout the whole race and afterward, which let me eat, drink and enjoy the sunshine with Kathy (who also met her goal for the race).
I have five more weeks of training, with next weekend's long run of 15 miles the longest of the program. Hopefully this race indicates what I think it indicates, which is that I'm right where I should be.