This week begins the countdown for Top of Utah Half. It's on Aug 28, and I really want to blow last years time away. Don't get me wrong here, I am really, really super proud of my time of 1:59:23. I had two goals last year, finish, did that, and break 2 hours, did that. Why I wanted to break two hours, I have no idea. Somewhere I got the seed planted in my brain that it was a good first showing, so there you go. Not that I'm competitive or anything...
But really it was a great showing for me. According to all my other race results, I should have been closer to 10 minute miles. My 10k pace from 5 weeks before was 9:25, so to get a 9:07 avg pace was a huge shock, awesome, but huge shock to me. I placed 58 out of 183 in my age group, which is top 32%. (another way I grade my success)
So this year, I graduate an age bracket. This is huge, as you age, times typically slow down. But I'm young in running so I still have a lot of improvement left in me. I have yet to peak! Last years time would put me 28 out of 88 in the 40-44, which happens to again be top 32%. So I still have to improve in order to get better ranking.
So I decided that I really needed to be able to do 8 min miles. Which is hilarious to think about. I did a 5k 5 weeks ago and got 8:36 pace. However I was still worn out from the century, so it was hard to base it on that. And I'm not able to race as much this year, so I don't have anything other than training to decide how well I can do.
Anyway, I decided on the 8 min mile pace because, last year if I had that time (1:44:48) I would have placed 13/183, top 7%. And in the 40-44, it would have placed 5/88, or top 6% and got me an award. (they awarded top 5 in each age group)
OK, that's the real reason there. I want an award. In my mind if I get 1:44:48 I will win an age group award. Don't bother telling me that the competition is different every year, and this year might attract faster people, that others moved up too and they might be faster than me. I don't care. If I hit 1:44:48, I win an award. Even if I have to go buy it for myself!
So Monday I went out for day one. I actually had forgot to print out the training plan and was flying blind for what I should do, so I just ran to the soccer field and back, 4.5 miles, and then up the big hill and back, about 1.9 miles (locals know what that is) to simulate the end of the TOU half route, which is mostly downhill and then has one mile near the end with a slight incline and then down again to the finish. I died on that mile. I don't want to again. And I also wanted to run real slow and easy. I've been nursing two injuries in a row for the last 2 weeks and wanted to be cautious. But I came back feeling great and didn't have any problems yesterday, which was a rest day, but I did spin.
So finally we are to day 3, today. The plan called for 2 pace intervals (PI). Meaning I did two runs, separated by a recovery jog, each was 2 miles long and were to be run at race pace. Hmmm, since I've never run any distance longer than a mile at my race pace goal, this was going to be interesting.
I have a loop around my neighborhood that is almost exactly a 1/2 mile. So for accuracy, despite total boredom, I decided to use that for my PI. First PI (two miles) rocked! 15:51, so less then a 8 min mile pace. YES! But I was dying, did I mention I'm also trying to acclimatize to running in the heat? Rather than run in the morning when it's cool, I started at 11:30 am. So in the house, drink and potty break. Then back out for the recovery lap. Then PI #2, not quite as good, 16:42, but still not bad. This was followed by some strides, to work on running fast at the end of the race.
Definitely a good session and I'm feeling like I just might reach my goal. It's pretty aggressive, but doable.
And I want an award!