Happy to report that we had a great time at NCAA New England DIII Regional’s at Williams today. Definitely reinforced one of the main things I have (re)learned this season; college kids are crazy. Haha But on a more serious note, there is a lot positivity in that craziness too. Life gets far too serious and boring, far too quickly for many of us post graduation and that makes it so fun to be around these kids with everything ahead of them and little reason not to be crazy, wild and happy. Our girls and boys both ran the races they were capable of on a moderately challenging course and everyone seemed positive afterwards. I’m honestly not sure who gets more out of it, the kids or the coaches, but I know for sure that this assistant coach had a blast all season long. I can’t wait to pursue more coaching opportunities and learn more about coaching and helping others with their running in the future. I’d love to help out through the indoor and outdoor seasons this year, but the reality of marathon training and working full time might render that an impossibility. It was easy enough working in my own cross country workouts while running the team workouts with them, but marathon workouts are pretty far removed from indoor distances.
That being said, this past week was week one in my transition from building work and volume to sharpening over the next 3-4 weeks as I prep for Club XC Nats in 28 days. Started off with USATF-NE XC Championship 10k at Franklin Park, where I excised some slow/weak demons from Mayor’s Cup and ran much better. Even though I had the worst cramp or muscle spasm that I’ve ever had in my side on a run before in the race, still came away with a solid time. It naturally occurred on the last downhill with 1000 meters to go and though I was able to work through it and it subsided, my last mile was painful! My time was 30 seconds off my 10k PR, which doesn’t thrill me, but given the cramp and the difficulty of the Franklin Park course, it doesn’t make me cringe either. (ok, only a little, I did want a PR after all) I felt great after a large post race brunch and decided to double down on the workout when I got home. There was just enough daylight left to get in a 6x1k on my favorite hilly grass loop and my splits were closer to 5k goal pace than 10k, felt strong. After a nice recovery run and hill sprints, I ran 14 on Tuesday with 9 of it fartlek; just went off of effort level and didn’t follow my pace, but felt like I was pushing it. Thursday was 3 miles at 10k goal pace followed by 5x1k at 5k goal pace. I couldn’t quite push to the right pace in the 3 miles after losing focus in mile two and ended up with a 5:31 avg, hoping for mid 5:20s. On the 1ks it was a similar story, should have been in the low 3:1x’s but avg. 3:18 per k. Still felt fairly happy with it considering I’ve only been working that kind of volume into a hard workout on race days, like last Sunday. The rest of the days this week have been easy days and tomorrow will by a tempo workout. I’m at 72ish miles for the week, starting on Monday, and should finish up with 86 or 87 after tomorrow. I would be grossly understating how happy I am with the volume I’ve been able to keep up since September if I simply called it satisfactory, but I’m not sure it’s helped me get much faster anyway. It has certainly given me plenty of confidence to hit higher mileage in my next marathon training cycle though, after I peaked at 91 miles in a week last time around and have already hit 100 in 7 days a few times in the past month. Now I just need to keep my mind focused on cross country for a few more weeks, before I let the marathon training and planning begin, but boy am I itching to get started!
So, here’s what’s next:
11/27 XC 5k tuneup with an untimed Turkey Trot in Moorestown, NJ
11/30 XC 2.8 mile race, USATF-NE Gran Prix final race and best chance for us to move up in the team standings and hopefully finish in second or higher! Brookline, MA (possibly followed by a hard workout afterwards)
12/7 Road 5k Winter Classic, tuneup for XC Club Nats in Cambridge, MA (probably followed by workout afterwards)
12/13 Club XC Nationals 10k in Lehigh, PA (followed by an epic party afterwards!!!)