A view from my side.
The countdown continues. I’m either 16 or 22 days away from running my Half. I found another one in Sarasota, that looks like it would be fun. Either way, my schedule is more or less on track. There have been a few bumps in the road, but for the most part, I’ve kept to the plan. A mid distance run today of about 80 minutes and a long slow run tomorrow of 110. My pace on these runs is under 9:30 per mile, a slow jog for most of you I understand, but I’m happy to go that far at that pace. I will confess, however, that I wanted to see what I could do on a shorter distance so the other day, I pushed harder for 5K. I finished that in 23:08. So, yeah, I can run when I want to.
Overall, the process has been fun. I’ve learned a great deal and feel fantastic. I’ve changed a few things in my diet as a result and it hasn’t been as difficult as I thought it would. Most of the changes were minor, simply eating smaller meals, more frequently, adding more fruits, more water, etc. The biggest change was a decision to stop eating fried foods. So no french fries, no fried okra, no fried chicken, etc. I extended that to snacks as well, so imagine the frown on my face when the waiter at my favorite Mexican restaurant placed the chips and salsa on the table in front of me. I admit I gave in and had a few chips, but dropping the fried foods has been much easier than I thought. And, by fried I mean the deep-fried stuff. I still saute veggies like squash and zucchini in butter or olive oil.
One small change I made to the training schedule was to run a certain number of minutes rather than miles. Since I wanted to be certain I kept my pace under 10 minutes per mile, I decided a long time ago that when the plan called for a 5 mile run, for example, I would simply run 50 minutes. So the total mileage would be over the target 5, but I focused on an overall time. Since I want to finish the Half in 120 minutes, I figured I’d have to run 120 at some point. Tomorrow’s long run is 110 and next week’s will be 120. Then, I’ll taper off a bit, running shorter distances leading up to race day. But having run my target “time” before actually running in the race seemed like a good idea to me.
It will be tight. On the longer runs I’m able to comfortably keep a pace around 9:20. A two hour half requires a pace around 9:09 or so. And that assumes no stops at water tables, etc. Mentally, I feel as though I can shave 11 seconds a mile. Physically I feel as though I can do it as well. We’ll find out. I’ve been told by my buddies not to be disappointed if I don’t make it my first time out. I have friends that routinely run this distance under two hours that tell me their first, second and some even third halfs were closer to 130-135 minutes. But, I like to have a goal and I like to have something to reach for. It gives me the motivation to do what I’m doing and gives me something tangible to achieve. So for the next few weeks, I’m focused on simply running on schedule.