I've gone back and forth over which group I wanted to join. I thought about joining the marathon group but since I've been running more recently, I've started having little spurts of knee pain and decided it's best to stay in the half marathon group. It will be the right kind of challenging, plus I can work up to where I want to be and hopefully finish a half at my goal pace of 2 hours and 10 minutes at the end of this program.
We met for the first time on Monday for introductions. Each Wednesday is track night and each Saturday is our long group run. There are pace leaders on Saturday for every 30 seconds from under 8 minutes - 14 minutes, so this is a great program for any level you're at. The only thing that is important to point out is that this program is more about distance and less about time. For instance, if I just wanted to focus on the 5k, I wouldn't benefit much from being in the 5k group, because most of those people haven't run much at all and it's more about getting them to the 5k level by October 7th.
There are a few small things that I'm going to have to do to push myself a little harder than the group. I am running Lacamas again this year and that is at the end of July. It's a pretty challenging 1/2 marathon and I know I won't reach my time goal on that one, but at least this year I am a lot more prepared. I plan to incorporate a lot more hill training into my schedule so I can run the whole course, and that is pretty much my only goal.
I haven't signed up yet, but I think I am going to run the Eugene Women's Half again this year too. The course is really flat and it's about a month before the end of my program and would be fun to run again. This training session ends right before the Portland Marathon, which also has a half, but the half sold out before the end of last year. I wouldn't have signed up anyway because the course is boring.
As it stands I think I'll shift focus to a week after training for my goal. There is the Girlfriend's 1/2 a week later that I volunteered for last year and it seemed pretty nice. It's in Vancouver and I've heard the course is pretty flat. Flat is good but I always feel more accomplished with lots of hills! I think it's sells out so I should probably decide if I want to make that race my goal and sign up!
Last night was our first track workout and it was nice and easy. The work out was this:
1/2 mile warm up
1 mile time trial - run at 75%, conversational pace (my time was 9:50)
Run 3 x 400m at your pace with 30 seconds rest in between (2:28 was my target and I surprised myself by doing really well with staying the same pace)
We won't be focusing on speed for at least 4-6 weeks and right now it's more about form and figuring out our pace. I don't really feel like the track is a great place to establish my pace though because I was about 40 seconds faster than I usually am when I'm running on the road with hills and about a minute faster than where I am on the trails. I talked to the coach though and he said I should join the 10 minute pace group for now and that as my fitness level goes up, I should move into the 9:30 or 9 minute group. 9 minutes would be awesome, but I've got a long way to go!
The other days of the week are all planned out with Friday's and Sunday's right now as rest days. Tuesday is a cross training day and I decided I will either bike or swim on those days. I'm really determined to stick with this program and I'm super excited that I only paid $95. For 20 weeks of training plus lots of support it seems like a pretty great price. There is always someone on site for physical therapy to work with us if we have injuries or want some advice. The coach is someone I feel good talking to about my goals and working with him on amending my training to accommodate my races and (hopefully I won't need to) my injury.
I'll be updating this blog at least once a week on how I'm doing. You'll probably see more updates at first. I'll try to bring a camera or something on some of the days to make these posts less technical and more about sharing my journey. Besides my goal of getting faster I will admit I am looking forward to staying on track and losing these last 10 stubborn pounds that I've wanted to lose. I'll go find an outfit and take weekly pictures or something because I always think it's cool to see changes like that.
I'm off work tomorrow and am looking forward to sleeping in! Anise has been with me this past week and we've been so busy with lots of activities and a big school project - plus her school starts when I am used to waking up, so I've had to shift my schedule about an hour 1/2 back, which is hard on me. Tomorrow we're sleeping in, taking care of boring house errands and then plan on going swimming. Saturday morning is my long run (it's only 3 miles this week) and then I was gifted two tickets to Million Dollar Quartet (rock n roll musical) for 2pm, so I'm taking Anise to her first musical! I will admit, I'm pretty excited. I love musicals. Life is good!