Hello friends. Friends, hello.
In the hopes of getting back into my super-psyched-about-running mindset that I had before I left for Australia and traded all my good habits for some bad ones, I signed up for a 10k race a few weeks back. Today was the day, and I would say that my mission was totally accomplished. It was glorious.
There were about 7000 runners (plus many hundreds of significant others, parents, children, and other spectators loitering around, cheering, and eating all the free food). I'd guess that somewhere around 99% were women. This was invigorating, and I think that although co-ed races are fun too, being in a field of almost all women makes it more fun. Plus there are a lot of ladies who probably wouldn't have signed up for a co-ed 10k, including a lot of walkers and families, because this is a walker-friendly race. (As in, they don't kick you off if you're not averaging at least 15 minute miles or something, which in a lot of races they do.)
I ran much faster and stronger than I expected, and I'm attributing this to 2 factors (other than the beautiful weather and very nice course): first, I've been adding some sprints to my treadmill routine. Not really for training so much as to get me off the horrid treadmill faster than I otherwise would. So I think that has helped to make running faster than my comfort zone feel more normal, which then elevates the comfort zone points. And the other factor is, there were loads of people who were slower than me! This was kind of annoying at times because I had to kind of push and shove past like 1500 slowpokes. But it also produces the race effect, which I think of as riding on a wave of people who are pushing you forward. In longer races where I am the most out of shape person there, no such wave exists and I'm just out there on my own trying to finish ahead of the 90 year old speed-walkers (and failing). Lots of out-of-shape people sign up for a (mostly) women's 10k.
So, half-marathon training on! I have a little less than 6 weeks until the Philly Half, and I feel great about it. As compared to the last (only) half marathon I ran, in May 2008, I have trained more comprehensively, I have better gear, and I think it's going to be a much better course. (Do not do the Brooklyn Half Marathon, it really really sucks.)
I'm off to PA this coming weekend to watch my Philly Half running partner get married. Hopefully by the time of the wedding I will have either found or replaced my camera battery so instead of pontificating for the 1-2 friends who read this, I will post some photos of what I'm sure is going to be both a gorgeous running locale and a fantastical wedding reception meal.
Oh PS my time (according to my watch) was approximately 1:05:34, which averages out to about a 10:30 mile. I was remembering my splits as I went along but now I can't really piece it together. In mile 2 and mile 5 I ran about a 10-min mile. This is faster than I ever run in training, so I'm definitely going to have to think about speeding up the training workouts. More sprinting, for sure.
ETA: Official chip time was 1:06:04, for an average of 10:38/mile.