This morning I ran for 60 minutes, bringing my second and last week of easy recovery runs after the Top of Utah Marathon to a close. I had to get up early as Dan was traveling to a south Denver suburb for a go tournament (never heard of go? it's an ancient Eastern game involving black and white stones and trying to conquer territory on a gridded board; it makes my mind bend like a pretzel, but Dan loves it).
I owe Dan big time. He gave me an entire weekend for Top of Utah and has taken the kids solo pretty much every Saturday morning for a year so I could get in my long runs. He's going to continue doing that, and has also given me the OK to run a half-marathon this fall that will require travel, as well as several days in Houston in January for the marathon, its build-up and its (hopefully happy) aftermath. He can play as much go as he wants, and I hope some other fun things come up for him this fall so I can give back to him again and again.
The run this morning was beautiful. The weather was chilly, clear and cloudless. I was doing a rolling course, and at the top of one small hill I could see Pikes Peak, 135 miles to the south, hulked there like a massive iceberg. Much closer to the west loomed the massive pair that dominates the northern Front Range: Longs Peak and Meeker Mountain. I enjoyed the easy pace, the fact that there was no need to push myself. I like easy runs, but I know that it's the hard ones that make the easy ones so nice.
So I'm excited that next week I'm finally allowed to put some fast stuff back into the mix. It's not much--up to 10 20-second surges embedded in Tuesday's run and 10 "steady state" minutes in Thursday's--but it's enough of a contrast with the post-marathon slow-down to get me going. And next Saturday I get to do 90 minutes, which at my slow and steady long-run pace should be nine miles. Yay! Nine miles!
I'm going to do my best to stick to the McMillan Running Calculator paces predicted by my Top of Utah time. I admit that I didn't always do this in the last training cycle. The paces felt quite slow in the mid-week fast efforts, and I usually ran faster at the track (in particular) than the calculator dictated. When the time came for goal-pace runs and fast-finish long runs, I fell short too often. I'm going to see if slowing down in the fast efforts will pay me back in greater ease in these key longer ones later in the week.
My new plan also calls for a 10K on November 12 and a half-marathon on December 3. So after finishing this post I will be signing up for:
The Longmont Turkey Trot--this 10K is right here at home! No travel, and the kids can run/walk the 2-mile event if they come with us (maybe Dan will want to do this, too, in which case we'll get a sitter!).
The Rock Canyon Half Marathon--this one's in Pueblo and it's the only semi-nearby half on that date, so it will mean one night in a hotel. The course looks on the hard side, but hey, they can't and shouldn't all be downhill races and I've done worse.
I'm hoping for a PR in both of those races. If I achieve that, it will mean the only pre-pregnancy PR still standing will be my 5K mark (and I'd love to take care of that one after Houston, though at 22:34 it might be the hardest to beat).
As you can see, it's going to be an awesome fall. Good luck to everyone racing this weekend!