Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Past, Present and Future

Inspired by my friend Amanda and her bliggity blogging ways, I thought I should check in here and post an update of sorts. Maybe even do it more than once. Since it's been a while I figured I'd throw out a quick entry about what I've been up to recently, what I'm currently doing and what's ahead.


FIBArk 10K Trail Race
FIBArk Finish Line
Early this summer after the Country Music Marathon I replaced training with running, giving my legs a much deserved rest. I'm not sure I could go cold turkey like Geoff Roes advocates, but in the month of June my weekly mileage dipped into the teens and 20s. And I was taking not just one but sometimes even two days off per week.

Despite dialing things back, I still managed to fit in two races. The first one was the FIBArk 10k Trail Race in Salida, CO. I was almost 20 minutes slower than my typical road race time, but it was an absolute blast. There was a tough climb of 800' at high altitude over the first four miles; however, the reward of twists and turns on single-track trails made me feel like a kid again. Thumbs up for sure, and I really enjoyed having Kate there to support and encourage me. It was a great way to kick off our vacation in Crested Butte.

The second race was the Franklin Classic 10k in Franklin, TN. It was a hot mess out there with the oppressive humidity, but it, too, was a lot of fun. The best part of that one was crossing the finish line with Amanda, who took mercy on me at the end and let me catch up to her.

Franklin Classic 10k
Franklin Classic 10k on Labor Day
Outside of racing I was thrilled to get in some Running Recon. All summer long I learned more and more about the routes in and around Franklin, TN, which has become a second home of sorts. Just the other day I did a medium-long run on the Stone River Greenway in Nashville, which I found to be really nice.

There was also the aforementioned trip to Colorado, where over the course of the week I checked out various trails and dirt roads. As I'd expected, running at 7800' was much different than the 350' I'm used to. Paces I'd normally associate with a zone 2 run saw my heart rate soaring into the 170s.

Finally, I had the opportunity to run up in Ithaca, NY when I took my daughter there for her college orientation. That may have been my favorite "running" experience all summer, as the weather was fantastic and they had some great rails-to-trails routes (1,2) to run. If I could find a way to summer there and winter in the south I'd give it serious consideration.


These days you'll find me training in Alabama on the weekdays and Tennessee on most weekends. I've been loosely following Hal Higdon's Advanced Half Marathon Training Guide in preparation for the Montgomery Half coming up on October 6th. By loosely I mean that I glance at it on Mondays and just try to get close to what's on the schedule the rest of the week. My biggest deviations have been substituting my own speed workouts in place of his intervals and adding a few miles to each week's long run. I'm not sure if it'll work to my benefit yet, but time will tell. If I had to guess though, I'd say I'm not positioned to PR any races early in the season. No matter, I'll do the best I can and live with the consequences. At present I'm enjoying myself and don't intend to mess with that.


So, in addition to the Montgomery Half that's coming up in a couple of weeks I'm also signed up to once again run the Chickamauga Battlefield Half Marathon over Veteran's Day weekend. As usual, I'm really excited to go to The Battlefield and "run through history." I had a pretty good half there last year (It was a training run where I cruised the first 4 then raced the last 9) and am looking to improve on my time. I think how well I do at Montgomery will determine how I train for it in the month leading up.

Beyond these two races I haven't decided on any others. I said I was going to take the year off from marathons, but recently noticed an inaugural race over in Greenville, MS that intrigued me. The Mississippi River Marathon, being held on February 9th, will start in Arkansas and end in Mississippi. And, of course, it crosses the Mississippi River. How cool is that? I definitely wouldn't race it, but it sounds too good to pass up. My long runs are already in the 15-16-17 range, so it wouldn't be a stretch to improvise some and make a good time of it.

I imagine I'll run a few more half marathons over the course of the fall and winter months, but haven't settled on anything yet. Hilary and Amanda are both after me to sign up for the Louisiana Half, but I'm not sold on it. I may also try to run in some of the Tennessee State Parks Running Tour, which is a series with events held at parks around the state. Others that I'll probably look for a race around Thanksgiving while I'm up in NH visiting family, but haven't done any searching yet.

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