This weekend is my A-goal 5K race. It is also week 13 of my half-marathon training plan so I am supposed to do 8-10 miles. I have discovered that if I care about how I do at a race I am NOT one of those people who can run a few miles before and a few miles after. So I was going to do 8 yesterday to make up for missing it this weekend. I figured I'd do 5 miles of intervals on the treadmill and then get another 3 when I dropped the Princess off for Girl Scouts. But the 2yo wasn't interested in hanging out while I ran and we wound up cuddling on the couch reading books and then walking around outside and swinging. He didn't go down for his nap until too late and my treadmill hopes were dashed. But it was ok. I still had my evening run planned.
As we know, Tuesday is speedwork day. I always want to do tempo runs but I fail miserably at them on the treadmill. So I thought I'd attempt one on the road. I figured I'd run at a 9:30 pace, that seemed pretty challenging to me, but not all out interval-pace. I was lucky enough to have a speedy friend who met me at the school to keep me on target. We started out (I forgot to do an official warm-up, but just before I had been running with the Princess on the playground, so I'll say that counted as a warm-up). I did the first mile in 9:30 and I felt pretty good. I wasn't dying and I was able to actually maintain a conversation, albeit not quite as easily. So I sped up a little bit. My friend and I parted ways and I continued and sped up more. I felt GOOD. I felt like I was running fast and strong, but like I had more to give. It was awesome. I finished up the 3 miles and walked a bit. I thought about continuing but I had to pee really bad so I wound up stopping at 3.21. I should have just stopped the damn watch at 3, but every bit counts. I knew my average pace (for the 3 miles) was 9:17 so I was pretty happy I had come under my goal but didn't feel like I had just raced. If it hadn't been for my bladder doing it's own running, I could have continued. When I checked my splits though I was SUPER STOKED. I am always aiming for negative splits but I can usually only manage to get the last mile or two faster (depending on the distance). Last night's run was PERFECT. 9:30, 9:12, 9:09. I felt strong. Even better, when I peed it was nice and clear. Because I didn't run until 6 pm, I had all day to hydrate, so I had hit my target water goal (80 oz) before I even left.
I've been having such successful runs lately that I am feeling pretty confident about my races. Like I said back in January, before that Runner's World article started circulating, I'm really trying to base my success on my effort and not on exact times. I might not break any PRs this weekend, but I feel really good about my training. I am starting to think that my body can run faster than my mind thinks it can. When I thought about doing 9:30 last night I pictured a lot of huffing and puffing. But there wasn't. I was in control and was even able to talk a little. I think I can do more.
But I'm not setting myself up for failure again. Race goals:
A. 27:35 or better
B. Better than Course PR of 28:06
Whatever I do, I want negative splits and I want to finish strong. I don't want to start too fast & slow down. I want to race smart and I want to run happy.