I should be in some of the best shape of my life. I've just come off a fall season where I hit a huge 5K PR. But my most recent race was a disappointment due to bad weather. Or maybe I'm not really in the kind of shape I think I'm in.
After Rocket City I recovered fairly quickly, but then took a 10-day break from running as I travelled across the country for the holidays. When I got back in town, I struggled to get back into running shape. I've heard runners say that taking a week or two off of running shouldn't affect you much, but it certainly affected me quite a bit. Those five pounds I gained over the holidays didn't help much either.
But by the middle of last week I was starting to feel a little more like my old self, so I thought maybe I'd be able to summon up a decent performance for Saturday's Salem Lakeshore Frosty 25K. I had been in shape to run a marathon at a 7:15 pace, so surely I could handle that pace for just 15.5 miles, right?
I started out at that pace, and things went well for roughly the first half, but once I turned around and headed back towards the start, I could tell it was not going to be my day. Laura Gray, a DARTer who was running a 12.5K leg of the 50K relay caught me and passed me. I tried to keep up with her, but she gradually moved farther and farther ahead.
Now it was a struggle just to keep my pace under 8 minutes per mile. By the water stop at around 12 miles, I gave up on that and just hoped to keep it under 8:30 per mile. Chas and Bobby passed me, even though they were doing the 50K event. I tried to keep them in sight, but it was no use, and they disappeared ahead of me.
Several more runners I didn't know passed me, but one mile from the finish, I finally got a second wind and managed to hold off the man who was on my heels. I finished in 1:58:50, about a 7:40 pace overall. As it turned out, I didn't even beat the guy I held off, because he had started 15 seconds behind me.
Hopefully this is all just a minor blip in my training as I get over a cold and brush off the cobwebs from my vacation. I'd really like to put up some fast times over the next few months. I'm signed up for the Myrtle Beach Half Marathon, and I'd like to try for a PR there. That will require a much better effort than what I've done lately.
There's only one way to do that: Put one foot in front of the other in training, repeating as necessary.