Tuesday, July 3, 2012
I guess I should mention the races. On June10th, I ran the Samantha's Harvest 5k because it was right here in Reading and I know the people who put it on. Last year my buddy and training partner Dan was the one who measured the course and helped organize it on race day. This year Dan was just a tad busy with his growing family and lets just say the organizational and logistical proficiency of the race committee suffered as a result. They laid the course out all wrong and it wound up being more like a 3.2-mile race. I thought I was in "about 18 flat" shape and wound up at 18:28 on a warm day with no competition.
Even though I knew that course was long and it was just a rust-buster, the 18:28 wasn't sitting right with me (that would be personal worst) so a week later I jumped in another 5k, this one on a certified course and with more professional organization. I ran 18:01 (actually 18:00.08) at the Brendan's Home Run 5k in Belmont. I guess I was right about being in about 18-flat shape. Even though it's what I thought, it is still a bit of a let down to think that I'm struggling to break 18 right now when the goal is more than a minute faster. It's okay, I keep telling myself, there is time. Maybe I will do it tomorrow at the Lynnfield 4th of July 5k--it would be nice to get that off the plate--but it won't change my approach at this point.
May and June were all about building a fire--check. July and August will be about forging the steel. September is for sharpening and polishing the blade. And if all of that goes according to plan then in October I may just have a chance to ride into battle and settle an 8-year-old grudge with a certain windmill. So it goes.
Here's the thing though: I'm starting to feel my age. Up until now I can't honestly say that I've had to make a single concession to father time. All of the limitations I have ever put on my training were to do with life, work, family--never what my body could handle. But at 42 I can definitely say the training feels different and I am not responding as fast as even two years ago. I can definitely see I will need to pace myself on this buildup. I may even have to be somewhat conscious of my diet which will be totally new territory for me. I have always been able to eat basically whatever and whenever I felt like when in any kind of serious training and the weight would just melt off of me. This time it's proving a bit stickier. I am still only about 8 lbs away from racing weight but that's only down about 2 lbs from 2 months ago when I really got underway. I am pretty sure some minor adjustments will take care of that, but it's still a new wrinkle for me.
There are upsides too--I am much better at reading my body, knowing what I can and can't get out of it on any given day. But to be sure there's the nagging feeling that maybe, just maybe I waited a year or two too long to give an honest go at this. I don't think that's the case, but right now I'm only 90% sure.
Either way it should be a fun summer. The family has some good stuff planned, we have already had some good beach days, and I am looking forward to getting after it on the roads, trails and track. It feels good to be a runner. Onward.