My training has really progressed as well as I could have hoped for when I started getting serious about running again in January. From 10-12 mile weeks at 8:00-8:15 minute pace to 45-55 mile weeks pushing sub 7:00 pace for the majority of the miles, I really feel strong and ready to run some fast times.
One of my goals was to be fit enough to run the varsity workouts with the guys on the cross country team. I started out doing mile repeats at just under 6:00 pace with 5-6 minutes rest in between. I am able to consistently hit sub 5:30s on the repeats now with under 4 minutes rest, helping our #5 runner close the gap to our frontrunners in the process.
Something else that I really missed in these years of fitness limbo was the ability to run 10 miles at a decent clip, reasonably comfortably. This past weekend, I ran the OSU Jamboree 8k in the University division. It was a painful experience but also a fun one. I wanted to run somewhere in the 28 minute area but ended up running 30:15 (6:03 pace) after drastically underestimating the course. That was the most difficult, demoralizing course I've ever experienced. In the end, I really wasn't too disappointed with the time. The soreness set in directly afterward, despite a good 3 mile cool down. We got back home late Saturday night, and I planned to get a 10 miler in on Sunday morning. I was really sore as I set out, but I made it a point not to look at the watch until the run was over. I ran as comfortably as possible, finishing up in 74:14, a clip just under 7:30 pace. I was excited, specifically because I never picked up the pace at all and stayed in my comfort zone the entire way.
At this point, my confidence level is at a high going into the DRC 1/2 marathon November 1st. The goal is to run sub 6:00 minute pace, which would be a shade under 1 hour, 19 minutes. That would put me over 14 minutes faster than the 1/2 back in March, which was 1 hour, 33 minutes. If I get 8-10 miles in and feel great at pace, I would love to be able to put my foot on the gas a little bit and dive a couple of extra minutes under 1:19.
The summer base and fall training will give me a decent background for a spring season that will see me attempting to run the mile/1500 at various track meets. I think the whole project is really a two year plan leading to the spring of 2011 to really run a fast mile/1500. After that, who knows? I am most certainly not going to be lucky to hold on to any speed I might still have for much longer, and I'm definitely not getting any younger. The next step would be to really get serious about the 1/2 marathon and focus on that year-round.
I heard a great quote the other day from Mark Wetmore, the coach at Colorado. He said, "If you are not enjoying the journey, chances are you're not going to like the destination." That's probably an accurate assessment. I'm really enjoying the journey, so I hope I am content with the destination.