Halloween is over, but I’m still kinda scurred.
Yesterday, I updated my running plan to account for the fact that I haven’t really done many of the long runs that my plan said I should. I could probably manage the 10 miles slated for this weekend, but the longest I’ve run recently was the 7+ miles a couple weeks ago when I went hypo on the trail. Ten miles might be slightly too big of a jump to do without risking an injury. The 8 miles prescribed in my new plan seems more reasonable.
The distance isn’t what has me nervous, though. It’s the speed. After running a 5K in 21:11 in the middle of September, the computer is predicting a 1:33:26 for my next race, the New Bedford Half Marathon in mid-March.  That’s a 7:08/mile (4:26/km) pace. Dang! I know that I can run that fast over shorter distances—it’s 20 seconds/mile (12 sec/km) slower than my 5K speed—but it still seems pretty aggressive for a long-distance race. 
Nevertheless, the plan is actually quite reasonable, with one speed session/week at paces I can already manage, one long run, and two or three other recovery runs—which I might substitute with a bike workout and/or some exercise to improve my running form. Along the way, it gradually increases both the distance and speed. I’m just having a little trouble believing the idea of running so fast for so long.
But that’s the whole purpose of speedwork and training: to get faster, know what it feels like, and be ready to give a similar effort during a race. A good coach—even a virtual one like mine—is supposed to provide a plan that spurs an athlete into territory where he or she had always hoped to be but wasn’t sure it was possible to go. And that’s definitely where I am right now; I can run the speed I need to, but will I be strong enough (mentally and physically) to do it for 13.1 miles? The plan says, “Yes.”
Off we go!
1 — I also ran a slower (but equally intense) trail 5K a few weeks after setting my post-high school PR. It rained before and all throughout the race, and the air was windy and cool, too. Basically, it was perfect cross-country running weather. The wind had blown lots of leaves onto the trail, and the rain made them quite slippery. I had an exciting moment early in the race when the lower half of my body started sliding to the right as I was trying to lean into a left-hand hairpin turn. I don’t know how I didn’t fall down, but I’m sure it looked amazing as my arms flew up into the air for balance. [Back . . .]
2 — My target pace of 7:08/mile is about 0:10/mile faster than Boston qualifying pace for someone my age for a full marathon, after all. Just saying. (Not that I’m looking…. *ahem*) [Back . . .]