It's been a slow but steady 10 weeks of training (and eating primarily healthy home-cooked meals) in my run-up to the San Jose Rock 'n Roll 10K.
My goals, in order, have been:
1. Increase aerobic fitness (I have definitely been doing this and it feels good. I went on a hike on Monday and was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to keep my breathing and effort low, even during the climbs.)
2. Decrease my mass (the trend is in the correct direction -- I tend to think of my weight as a 5 lb range and my average weight is 1/4 of a pound or so away from clearing to the next 5 lb range down, which I haven't been in for at least a year and a half)
3. Increase my average weekly mileage running (slowly but surely, this has been happening, although it's probably an area where I need to increase my efforts to hit goal #4)
4. Run a sub-1-hour 10K (I've still got quite a bit to go before I can get here -- 9:39 minute miles are currently doable but very high effort and need recovery)
Back in July, in the heat, I returned to "racing" with a 1h18 10K at The Peachtree Road Race. (12:30/mile average pace). A few weeks later, on an overcast day, I ran the 6 mile Wharf 2 Wharf race at an average pace of 11:36/mile.
A month later, in muggy heat, I ran the Race to the End of Summer in 1h10 (11:24/mile). I was a bit surprised (and bummed) that I couldn't get the pace below 11 minutes per mile, but heat and humidity are not my gig and I know that my fitness improvement often comes in spikes, so I just did my best to soldier on.
Today, at track club, the assigned speedwork was a single mile (most of the group is doing a half marathon this weekend, so the goal was to keep them off their legs for their taper). I went out by effort and was pleased to see that keeping 9:30 pace felt fairly reasonable. I hit the first 400 (ish, there are sport lights on the track and high school kids to avoid, so the laps tend to be slightly long) at 2:24 and figured I could just try to cut the pace slightly with each lap. 800 -- 4:44. 1200 -- 7:05. My watch beeped the mile at 9:18. I didn't want to run it hard enough to do any damage for Sunday's race, but I also wanted to try to get an idea of my fitness. According to McMillan, the race conversion pace from this time to a 10K is 10:47/mile.
So, my goals for Sunday, in order, are:
A: Run a sub 1h05 10K (10:27 pace). I don't think it's remotely intelligent to attempt to run a sub 1 hour 10K just yet, but I think this is a potentially achievable goal and if I hit it, I'll be very pleased.
B: Run sub 10:47/mile -- needed an arbitrary goal between 10:27 and 10:59, so I went with McMillan.
C: Run sub 11/mile.
D: Finish as best I can, with the only walking being through the aid stations.
Wish me luck!