After enjoying a gorgeous day at the Baltimore Running Festival, I found it hard to get settled at home that evening. When I signed up for my first 5K, I figured it would be a one and done type of thing for me. My training had been fairly passive but more focused than anything else I had done fitness-related in recent years. After actually being in a race though, a switch flipped inside of me. I think it may have been the fact that I am an extremely competive person and that I smashed my own (albeit modest) goal of 40 minutes in my first race ever (yes long time experienced runners, I realize this IS NOT FAST, but I’m not racing you (yet), I’m racing ME). Immediately I realized that I could do this on a higher level.
I took the week following the Baltimore Running Festival off and immediately began training for my next race, The Frederick Maryland Waystation Turkey Trot http://www.waystationinc.org/turkeytrotinfo.htm on Thanksgiving Day (11/24/11).
I jumped into Hal Higdon’s intermediate program which adds some speed and distance work, feeling that my level of fitness had increased enough since July to make that jump. I quickly eclipsed the five mile mark and could literally feel my lungs getting stronger. For me, throughout my life and athletic “career”, my lungs were always my weakest link. As a kid I had problems with wheezing and even used an inhaler for a time. I eventually outgrew it for the most part, but I am convinced part of outgrowing it included my middle school and high school wrestling participation. That said, for years when running passively, I’ve always felt my legs could go pretty far, but my lungs wouldn’t keep up. Now, four months and a few days after I began training for my first race, I feel as though my lung capacity has increased, like they’ve stretched and it feels awesome.
On Saturday I did a six mile run on a rolling stretch of rural highway near my house. I had planned to go five, but I pushed it to six. My pace averaged 11 minutes per mile and I could not be happier with my progress seeing as how I was at 10 minutes for shorter runs just a few months ago. As a teenager, I could pull six minute miles and eights in my early twenties without a ton of effort, so I know with a focused training effort, I can get my current times down significantly.
This week, I have shut down all training until the run on Thursday morning. It is a cold, rainy week here, but Thursday’s forecast looks crisp and clear. The goal I set for this race, which is on a very flat course by local standards, is to finish in 28 minutes or better. I am confident that I can do this.
In lieu of running this week, I have taken to some home improvement projects while the other half is away visiting her family. I hung a cabinet on the kitchen wall last night that I salvaged from a cleanout job I am doing. It looks good, though I get nervous about EVERYTHING I hang on walls, not because I don’t know how to hang things, but because I lack x-ray vision to see if the screws hit the stud. Needless to say, I wouldn’t trust my grandma’s fine china or the Dale Earnhardt collectors plates in this cabinet, but it feels secure (part of me wants to try to do a pullup on it which would give it a 213 pound test rating, but I don’t feel like redoing the drywall) and our tupperware collection should be safe in there. Time will tell!