Back in the northeast, 4 on the 4th race, training thoughts, and new shoes.
Well, I’ve said all my teary-eyed goodbyes to Juneau.
Day #1 in the lower 48, and I realized that the musings in my last post were not the product of wanting a break from running. What I actually wanted was a break from running in Juneau’s miserable weather. The mist, the fog, the rain, the drizzle, the low-hanging clouds every day… if you’ve followed this blog for any length of time, you’re sick of hearing about it by now, and honestly, I was sick of living it. That weather gets downright Dementor-ish and starts sucking out your soul after awhile. Throw in a record cold and wet summer and I started having anxious recurring dreams about waking up to clear skies. Man, I was so ready to GTFO and see some sun on a regular basis by the end. There are a lot of things I’m going to miss fiercely after I’ve had a few weeks to process the move, but right now, all I feel is ecstatic to be experiencing New England’s daily summer sunshine.
Once back down south, I ran my first back-in-the-crowded-continental-USA race in a while — a local 4th of July four-miler. I’ve run this one a few times, and the course is pleasantly hilly, particularly in the second mile. My splits were 6:08, 6:41, 6:19, and 6:07, for a finish time of 25:12. I seem to remember the second mile being a hell of a lot longer and nastier the last time I ran this, but maybe I simply did a better job managing my expectations this time around.
I finished feeling as though I could’ve run another two miles around the same ballpark average pace, which makes sense because it is my 10k pace.
Which brings me to my current training thoughts: I’ve noticed in all the 5K-ish distances I ran this spring that I can’t seem to find the next speed gear I’d need for a quicker 5K or four-miler. 10K pace is about as fast as I go right now, regardless of the race distance. Accordingly, one of my thoughts for the summer is to introduce some shorter speed sessions. I’m decent at the 2×3-mile tempo-y grind brand of workout, but I haven’t touched anything like 200s or 400s in…years?… and it might be a satisfying project to chip away at what is obviously a weakness. On the other hand, I do not like the track, so I’m hoping to build some speed simply by adding in more fartleks, strides, and hill sprints.
I’ve already been throwing in strides and drills after some of my runs, in addition to the myrtl routine and the pushups/planks I do a few times a week. I still have no desire to engage in any kind of formal strength training program though — maybe that will happen someday in another life when my focus and interests shift again. It’s interesting to look at my old training logs and see how my approach to running has morphed over time, and I’m sure it will change again, but for now I’m getting a lot of satisfaction out of being locally competitive, training to beat time barriers, adding in different combinations of ancillary stuff to see how they affect recovery and performance, and just plain old heading out the door and getting lost in a run.
Placing second in the race hooked me up with a generous running store gift certificate, which is fantastic because I’ve been running in the same two pairs (Ghosts and Lunarfly trails) since November and therefore have about 1000-1200 miles on each pair. It’s funny, because they don’t even look or feel that beat up, which either means a. I’m pretty efficient, b. they’re good shoes, or c., I don’t really know what I’m looking at. Or all three of those things.
I was tempted to try something from the slick new Brooks Pure line, but I decided that I really need something a little more substantial. The reality is, I put in a lot of miles, and many of those are on trail or rough dirt roads. I couldn’t see that flimsy PureFlow bottom holding up for an adequate amount of mileage. I also thought about picking up some kind of skimpy, sexy road racing flat, but let’s be honest, I don’t know the first thing about shoes anyway, and I’m not sure I’d get my money’s worth with those.
What I really need for this summer are neutral workhorse trainers that will stand up to high mileage, so I ended up picking up a pair of Saucony ProGrid Rides and have been extremely pleased so far. Additionally, I ordered another pair of Lunarflys along with a pair of Kinvaras, so I’ll be able to work something tried and true into the rotation (the Lunarflys) along with something newer and a bit more spare (Kinvaras).
And… that’s probably the most I’ll ever have to say about shoes.