I’m back home now in Brooklyn. I spent the last two weeks in Morocco (actually 11 days, with three days for traveling to and from).
In terms of spring training, I divided it into two – before Morocco and after Morocco. Before Morocco, I focused on 5K training. Although I didn’t get the sub-23 5K I wanted, I did PR despite getting a terrible side stitch. I still think I have a sub-23 in me, but I will not be focusing on that during the latter half of spring training. Post-Morocco I’m focusing on half marathon training. I’ll be running the Run for the Red Poconos Half again and this will be my big goal race for the spring.
I’ll write more about running in Morocco, but while there I wasn’t able to do any long or tempo runs. Instead I did a few short speed workouts and a few easy runs. While running my legs felt heavy (probably from all the walking I did), so I kept things (relatively) easy. My goal during the trip was not to lose fitness and to maintain as much as possible.
I ran a loop of Prospect Park with Bandit today to stretch out my legs and see how I feel. I was foggy-headed from jet lag yesterday. I constantly spaced out of conversations and apologized for “being out of it.” I read that traveling eastward is supposed to be worse for jetlag (maybe only if you’re traveling across the US), but in my own experience, I experience far worse jet lag when I travel westward. Anyway, yesterday was a complete loss of work productivity because either I was too desperately tired to focus or I just plain blanked out. Today I felt better so I tested my legs.
I didn’t have any particular set goals, other than to see what felt good. If I felt terrible, I would simply run easy and Bandit would have a nice little walk. Bandit is so fast that I need to run at a minimum of an 8:30 pace for her to start breaking out into a run. And even at that pace, she runs for a few strides (20%) and then walks briskly (80%). If I felt good, then I would go a little faster.
I ran the first mile at 9:11. My legs were a little stiff and cranky, but after the first mile they warmed up and agreed to go faster. The second mile I ran an 8:37. Pleased, I decided to do an easy progression, which meant I ran faster, but I wasn’t going all out for the last mile. The third mile I ran 8:22.
For the last three to four years, I’ve been working on my kick by finishing workouts with a fast finish. I really love doing fast finishes now. I pushed hard and completed the last .4 miles at a 7:42 pace. My overall pace was 8:36. My legs felt better during this run than they did in Morocco, which makes me feel relieved that the slow runs were due to fatigue and not because of my overwhelming fear that I’m getting slower.
This Sunday I’ll be running the Rutgers Unite Half Marathon. I did it last year as one of their race ambassadors and they invited me back this year. I’m looking forward to this race as it will give me a good gauge for where my level of fitness is currently at. Last year I ran this at an 8:40 pace, which I was happy about because that was the spring of the neverending bronchitis. Last year I wasn’t able to do any real training. I ran whatever I could based on how well I felt that day. This year, I ran more miles and did more training, albeit not half marathon training. I should be in better shape this year. If I hadn’t gone to Morocco I would have done a 10-mile steady state run that I love to do before halfs. I’ve done none so far. It’d be great if somehow I’m able to do hold an 8:20 pace for this half, but I’m not sure that I’m in this shape right now. I should be able to hold an 8:30 pace.
For the next six weeks, I’ll be doing more tempo runs and faster long runs in order to prepare myself for Run for the Red Poconos Half. I haven’t been following a formal training plan this year, but rather following my own instincts and understanding for what I need to do. I’ve been really enjoying running, far more so than I have been in a long time.