In the first full week of 2011, I ran more miles than any single week of 2010. It's unrelated to any type of New Year's resolution, but it does reflect what I plan to get done this year.
Onto the numbers...
1/2, Sunday: 6 - 47:48, Brunswick 6. Back from the dead after a couple days off due to a nasty cold. This loop was a new loop I'd never run before, so it was a good way to start fresh. My plan was to keep the pace really easy and was surprised it was as snappy as it was. Good sign. Still some tightness in my left hamstring.
1/3, Monday: 10 - 1:17:36, Woodside Road. This is a classic loop from Bowdoin College, but I ran it from home, doubling the distance. Not only is it classic, but it's also a bit hilly, especially from my house. Goal pace was 7:50 or so, and was pleased with the 7:44 average, especially on a very windy day. I didn't feel 100%, but I certainly didn't feel bad. My guess is that most of that feeling was mental, since I was not liking the road running. Left hamstring still tight.
1/4, Tuesday: 6.5 total, 3k snowshoe race. First week of Nordic Meisters at Great Glen Trails, and I'm happy to be able to take advantage of the snowshoe division again this year, since it's more specific for my training. My goal for the race was a tempo type effort. I ran the course easy as a warmup (12:10/mile), then slightly harder in the race. (19:38, 10:30/mile). The surface was fairly firm, but very uneven, so not as quick as it first appeared. Happy with the effort. I ran the 2.75-mile Aqueduct Loop for a cool down, a cool down with 461 of elevation gain. Good stuff. Mentally, it was very good to get off the roads. Both hamstrings a bit tight.
1/5, Wednesday: Off
1/6, Thursday: 8 - 1:02:19, Meadow Cross Road Loop. Shockingly relaxed and easy for 7:46 per mile. Uneventful run overall. Hamstrings felt much better today, which I'm attributing to two decent nights of sleep in a row.
1/7, Friday: 5 - 43:11, Highland Green Road. Blah. My original plan was for a trail run, but I ran out of time, so I hit the roads from home. Physically, I felt fine, but wasn't mentally there. No big deal as it was a scheduled easy day.
1/8, Saturday: 26.2 - 4:08:10, GAC Fat Ass at Bradley Palmer State Park. Great day on the trails. D and I headed down to my parents' house on Friday evening, so it was just a quick 15-minute drive to Bradley Palmer in the morning. We met up with Jamie and Kate right away, and off we went. My goal for the day was at least 3 laps, but I hoped to get 4, depending on the conditions. The trail surface for this event varies wildly from year to year, and on Saturday it was pretty firm with not much loose snow. However, it was very uneven with myriad "ankle breakers" along the course. So, not perfect, but they could have been a lot tougher. Screw shoes worked perfectly. D, Jamie and I ran the first two 6.2-mile laps together, and the miles came very easily. When the first two laps came and went so quickly, I was confident I'd get all four. A huge reason for the ease of the first two laps was the conversation with those two, and it felt great to be running with people. Plus, the atmosphere creating by the GAC crew for the entire event is awesome. After the second lap, D decided to back off the pace a bit, and Jamie and I headed off without her. Snow started to fall at some point in this lap and would continue to intensify for the rest of the run. It was in the third lap that I decided that I might as well tack on the extra mile and half and make it a marathon. I was feeling terrific, so I saw no reason not to go for it. (Admittedly, this was my "best case scenario" going into the day.) Jamie ran a bit of my fourth lap with me, so he could get an even 20, leaving me solo for my final miles. Once alone, I must have picked up the pace a bit, since my fourth lap was the fastest of the day. I didn't pay much attention to my watch or my splits, but we were just under and hour for each of the first three, and I pulled in the aid station at 3:54:xx on my final full lap. I asked the race officials what I needed to run to make it a full marathon and then headed off into the snow. I finished the marathon in 4:08:10, and, in all honesty, it felt very comfortable. My hamstrings were a bit tight by the end but not painful or limiting in any way. Thanks to the GAC for hosting such a great event. I ate a super roast beef, an order of chicken fingers, an order of onion rings and a Dr. Pepper post-race. Gotta refuel!
A great week. Not much else to say. I guess this is what real training feels like. My hamstrings are a bit troublesome, but they should work themselves out with some good stretching and foam rolling.
The only glitch in my training plan is that because of my snowshoeing, upcoming snowshoe races and general distaste for road racing, I don't have any real measuring stick for my training. I'm not going to ever really know where I am. Am I slower than I think? Am I faster than I think? With no plans to run any kind of certified road race, I won't really know. It's a bit disconcerting, but I'm coming to terms with it. Yes, I'm following a plan, but I running what I want to run. (See: 1/8, Trail Marathon. That's certainly not in the plan.) Mentally, though, I'm certain this is the way to go, since the main component of the plan is to have fun with it.