On Sunday I had one of those amazing runs. I met the ever-fab e-speed at a local rails-to-trails early on the cold blustery morning--thankfully the rain held off for most of the run! The goal was 16 @ 6:50-6:55, and we figured since there was a 5 mile race on that particular path it would be a bit more fun to get the miles in if we broke them up by jumping in the race at some point. So, we registered early and than ran a little over 8 before the race. We started off with a 7:10 and then hovered right around 6:50. Then we jumped in the race and averaged 6:40 or so for those 5 and then hit the trail for a little less than 3. The first was a on the uphill rolling section of the path and was 6:55, but then we rolled it down finishing at 6:37 pace and happy with an overall average of 6:47-6:48 pace.
In the past I've had a good epic workout here or there, but they felt more forced and I was wrecked after them. This time I felt smooth and relaxed throughout the whole thing and felt fine since. While I won't say this means 6:47 pace is going to be cake on race day. It does mean that I have become much stronger than I have ever been over the last 6 months of training.
With that in mind I have decided to articulate my goal, even though that is risky of course. I know at this point I am really happy with my fitness and confident not only in my ability to run a good race, but in my ability to move on if things don't go as well as I hope. I have decided to have a goal range: 2:57 - 3:03. I will be happy to run anywhere south of 7:00 pace and I am really confident that I can do better than that if I turn off the brain, put left foot in front of right and relax.
I am a work in progress and this race is a stepping stone. It's quite a relief to feel this way about a marathon for a change, rather than that it's the be-all-end-all of my running life. I am looking very forward to a weekend away to celebrate friendship and running--two of the things that make me happiest! And if I can bring back a big fat p.r. souvenir to share with mrp and the kids, well it will be that much nicer!