An Old Year, a New One, and New Runners

This past week was a busy one. I’m trying to run 30 miles in a week for the next month or so, and this was my first week trying to do it. I’ve found that I like it better to stay around a certain mileage until I adjust, and then jump up another 5 miles and stay there a while. So, this week was my first at the 30 mile level, and I hit it.

It’s a good time to do it. I’m back in the rhythm after the holidays and I know my first half will be here sooner than I think.

Finishing up 2011
In December, I mostly put up 25 mile weeks, aside from a week on vacation. I raced twice, both on my trip. I also ran a mock half on December 26.

My first race was in Denver. The whole lack-of-oxygen thing is for real. I had no expectation going into my 5K, and it was a good thing. I ran a 28:35, where my PR is 25:51. It was impressive how hard it was to run, but it explains why you’d want to train at altitude if you could. My second race was in Palo Alto, CA. It was at sea level and totally flat. I ran the 4.8 miles at an 8:30 pace, which was one of the fastest races I’ve run at any distance.

I didn’t run all the miles or as hard as I liked in December, but managed 99 miles and at least maintained my fitness.

Week in Review
This week: 31 miles. Long run was the Al Lewis 10 miler in Kensington. It was a race instead of something easy, but that was fine. I put in a lot of easy miles the rest of the week and decided I wanted to see how hard I could go. It turned out to be a PR, 1:32:29 (a 9:15 pace). That’s pretty close to the pace I want to run the half, so I’m pretty satisfied.

A number of other PGRC runners were at this race. I saw Lloyd Rawley, Kirk Gordon, Sharyn Gordon, Erica Baines, Ronnette Thompson, Cindy Cohen, Elaine Bond, and Gary Paradee. And I know I’m missing a few of you, so feel free to let me know in the comments.

The best part of the race was that it started a few miles from where I grew up, so I got to see the area, including my elementary school and the house I grew up in. The fun will only continue next week, when I do the Shooting Starr 4 miler at Sligo Middle, where I also attended.

In addition to the 4 miler, I plan on putting in 30 or so total miles. We’re doing one of my favorite track workouts: 10×2:00, which for me is a bit more than 400m. For my long run, I’ll do 8. My goal this week will be to work just a bit harder than I did last week.

New Year, New Runners
On Saturday, our newest training program started. They’re training for our spring race, Springburst. Some of them are new runners, others are trying to start up again. All of them are trying to make fitness and a healthy lifestyle a habit.

Last year, I was a pace leader for this program. What an amazing group of runners. I went in thinking I’d be teaching them, and they ended up teaching me so much more. I’m always inspired by the runners I meet, but those who manage to get out in the dead of winter are a tougher lot. Not that this winter has been especially cold here in DC, but there’s something about getting out at this time of year. Darkness, the cold, everything.

If I could say one thing to them, it would be this: Just walk out the front door, if only for 15 minutes. You’ll be happy you went.

How about you? What would you tell the members of the 8K group?

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