Since my last post I’ve been training pretty consistently for the Austin 10/20 ten mile race. I don’t really feel like summarizing every run here; that’s why I have Daily Mile. The 5K I ran at the end of February was pretty encouraging in the sense that it proved I could still run a few faster miles. (After a string of really bad workouts I was beginning my body had given up on ever running sub-8:00 pace). The race gave me a good motivation boost and I’ve had some solid workouts in the past few weeks. I’ve revisited some of the tougher supersets in the half marathon training program I loosely followed at the end of last year. In the past I’ve had to modify some of these or I’ve finished them but been so wiped out that I’ve had to take the next day (or two) extra easy. Not so this time around, which is hopefully a good sign for race day.
The race is in two weeks and I think I have a good shot at a PR. This course is definitely easier than the Run for the Water course where I set my last PR (1:17:03). The big question mark will be the weather. Over the past few weeks we’ve had temperatures ranging from the mid-40s to low-90s. It will be a rough one for sure if it’s a warmer day since (if my memories of the 2014 race are accurate), there’s not much shade on the course.
I’ll end this portion of the post on an optimistic note, which is that regardless of my finishing time, in 2016 I should be toeing the starting line of the Austin 10/20 injury-free, which is a big improvement over 2014 (ran with a then undiagnosed stress fracture) and 2015 (DNS).
I’ve written before at length about my strong preference for early morning running. In brief, it’s colder in the morning and I like getting my running done before I need to deal with work, life, etc. But the truth is that I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve risen before sunrise since we moved to our new apartment back in December.
Since starting a new job last June my work hours have shifted. They aren’t as erratic as my old job (thank goodness!) but I have to be at work pretty early a few days week for meetings with co-workers in Europe. In the interest of keeping a consistent daily routine, I’ve made all of my work days early days. This means I have a lot more free time than I used to in the afternoon but it’s trickier to find time to run in the morning.
I’ve also gotten a bit more wary of running early in the morning by myself after reading a few scary stories about local runners (see here and here). I don’t think my current neighborhood is much more dangerous (or safe) for runners than where I used to live but the idea of going for an early morning run alone in the dark in a new-ish place makes me uncomfortable right now. So I’m sticking to mostly afternoon running as long as I can before it gets unbearably hot. I recently started working from home two days a week, which frees up some time in the morning that I would otherwise spend commuting or making myself look presentable. I’m hoping that by the time outdoor afternoon running is no longer possible I’ll be able to squeeze in morning runs during daylight on my work from home days and do treadmill afternoon runs on the other days. I don’t mind treadmill runs as much anymore because the machines at my new gym have individual TVs, which means I can watch true crime shows (guilty pleasure) as I pound away.
Speaking of TV…
I’ve been watching a lot of elite level racing over the past month: US Olympic Marathon Trials, first few finishers at the Austin Marathon, Millrose Games, US Indoor Championships, World Indoor Championships…etc. I didn’t realize until recently that USATF.TV has tons of race footage and that NBC Sports will do live streams that even people like me who don’t have cable can sometimes watch. I’ve even enjoyed reading race recaps on LetsRun.Com main page, though I don’t venture into the forums because after one peek in there I was like:
I am currently about halfway through The Silence of Great Distance, which is the first running book I’ve read in quite awhile. I am enjoying it so far but will save further thoughts for a future post.
That’s about it, actually. Things have been pretty quiet and boring over the past several weeks. I haven’t even had any great beers recently because I’ve been on a red wine kick. So here’s a red wine recommendation from someone (me) who doesn’t actually know anything about red wine:
Costco brand Malbec. It’s great. For what it’s worth, it’s better than the Malbec I drank when I lived in Argentina for 5 months*
*”Lived in Argentina for 5 months” = semester abroad when I was 21, i.e. a time of my life when the quantity of alcohol I could purchase with my Argentine pesos would override considerations of quality every time. Costco Malbec is far better than $1 kiosco Malbec.