Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Branching Out

M and I have been on a quest to get out more, try to be more social, and not spend all our free time sitting on the couch with our computers on our laps. This has proven pretty successful. Tonight was another venture into the great unknown. One of the running groups here is offering a free "training" called "6 weeks to 6 miles". It's basically an unofficial training group for the 10k we're signed up for in April.

We were a little worried we'd be overqualified, having run a 10k or two in the past, but it turns out many of the runners who showed up are really advanced. We're talking Ironman competitors. Of course, there were some newbies too, so it was a nice mix. The idea behind the meetups is that every week we focus on something to do with form, not necessarily distance. That's fine, since I know I can build the distance, and really I just needed something to spur me back into the running mode. (I'm also on the hunt for runners in my area who are closer to my pace.) Today we worked on negative splits, which is perfect for me because I'm still working on bringing my pace back down from the 10s. I have no idea why the 9:40s take so much out of me lately, but I guess I should chalk it up to the time I've spent resting.

Today's goal of negative splits was successful!
I forgot to take my inhaler beforehand. It was a muggy evening, overcast, and warm. But I actually felt fine. We started with a .25-mile extremely slow warmup, then did a slow-run mile, and turned back to do our faster second mile. The warmup helped my knees a lot. I wasn't the slowest out there, either, which was nice.

Everyone at the group was really friendly, but I am as antisocial as they come. I was able to strike up a conversation with one girl (after I awkwardly made eye contact, she finally introduced herself) who seemed about our age, and sure enough she turned out to be a teacher. Too bad she lives at least 25 minutes south of us!

I've been doing my leg exercises and stretches consistently, so I think that helped my run, too.

Most of my runs look the opposite of this; I need to remember a slow start & strong finish feels better all around.

Today I signed up for the Fast & the Furriest 5k in March. I'm really looking forward to this, because KS is going to run it with me! (KS is a sorority sister who lives on the other coast. It's really nice to get to bond over running with someone I've known for such a long time! I feel like we're still discovering the sport together.)

Last time I ran this race, I was by myself because K was pregnant...it was my first ever solo race. I remember being so overwhelmed and scared. I forgot my hair tie and had to use a million bobby pins to keep my hair up. But I remember also how exhilarated and proud I felt to finish the race on my own. I felt independent...like a real runner. This was one of my first sub-30 5ks, too. I have such fond memories of this race!

Finishing the F&F in 2012. Check out the 'do...and the knee braces!
Also in March is the Susan G. Komen 5k. It's the exact same course as the F&F, but more than triple the size of it. Obviously it's a well-publicized race. It's also one my students run; I love seeing them being active and helping a good cause outside of school. I ran this one last year with K, and it was a blast!

It's nice to have these little races coming up, and it's really cool to be repeating races I'm familiar with. It makes me feel like a real member of the Tribe. And, because I've run these before, I know I like them, I'm not as nervous for them, and all I feel is happy anticipation.

Anyway, this spring is shaping up to be like a mini race season. A friend over at the Sub-30 Club brought up the idea of "seasons", and I really like it. When not training, it's okay to have a season of rest, interspersed with smaller runs. I'm enjoying this time immensely. 

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