Tuesday, October 12, 2010

All by myself

I've been a lonely runner lately. After 2 year of unemployment, my mid-week running partner landed a job. I'm supremely happy for her. However she has to start at 6:30 in the morning, so we can't run together any longer.

In some ways this is good. There was a time when she was a much better runner than me. In fact I recall that when I first started running with her and another friend back in 2002 or 2003, it was a struggle to keep up. At that time we used to run together for our long runs too. But once I started running more marathons and then ultras, our commitment and interest levels diverged. We still ran together on weekday mornings, but I started to run longer on weekends and my ability passed her up. But...I enjoyed our Tuesday and Thursday morning runs. I still had Wednesday by myself to run faster if I liked and I looked forward to the social time.

So since Labor Day, I've been on my own during the week. Motivation isn't a factor. I have plenty of that. The alarm goes off, I'm out of bed and out the door. But it is a little lonely. I think the darkness has something to do with it. Makes it more isolating somehow. But I'm very much an introvert so I kind of like it too. All my thoughts are my own. I don't have to answer to anyone, can go where I want, for as long as I want. I guess I don't know what I really want!

My two big races on the horizon are 50 miles at Autumn Leaves and 48 Hours at Across the Years (ATY). I should really stop thinking in terms of "goal races", because ultimately they end up becoming training runs for the next one. However I can't really imagine right now what ATY would be training for. I just like to run and race. I want to improve too, but I can focus on that next year. But between you and me, I really, really want to break 10 hours at Autumn Leaves. I'll be disappointed if I don't, but still happy if I otherwise have a good day.

This weekend I'm running the Defiance 50k, which I registered for purely as a training run. I wanted a flat runnable race and this seems to fit the bill, for the most part. This looks like the kind of course I could PR at, but I'm going to try to keep the pace easy.

click on View Details to see elevation, etc.

I looked back at my race schedule and training leading up to Autumn Leaves in 2007 and it turns out I'm replicating it almost exactly. In 2007, I ran the Portland Marathon, then two weeks later ran the Sisters Poker Run (about 34 miles) and then two weeks later ran Autumn Leaves. This year, I ran 25 miles and then two week later I'm running the Defiance 50k and then its two weeks to Autumn Leaves. Hard to say if my fitness level it back to what it was in 2007. I struggled a little bit in 2007, but overall it was a great day for me personally and the weather was perfect. (And of course I had Olga's encouragement every lap too!)  We'll see what the day holds!

I'm thinking ahead to Across the Years, so the 25 miles I ran a week ago was on a half mile gravel loop. I walked one loop and ran two loops. Add two restroom breaks and I still managed a 11:30 pace. I plan to train this way for the rest of my long runs leading up to ATY, where the loop is a flat 500 meters. This loop was not totally flat so I'm looking for another short loop (less than 1/2 mile) that is very flat. The block around my house is 1/4 mile and I'm thinking of using it for a night run. And there's also the option of running at a track, although most around here have the newer cushy surface.

Getting into ATY is a dream come true for me.  I don't want to blow this opportunity!

Hey, I managed to write a blog post that wasn't a race report!


olga said...

In honor of my 4 years volunteering at AL50 I had adopted an AS at Cactus Rose 50/100 here on the same day. I'll be thinking of all of you my PNW runners on a 5M loop as you pass your new time-keeper.

Rick Gaston said...

Darn it! Another running partner lost. I still remember when your best running buddy moved. I run at night and I do like the alone time but I hate it when I am the only one out there because of the weather or because it's so late. I agree on the darkness thing. You could run around the block but soon you will be known in the hood as the crazy running lady:)

Sarah said...

Olga - Maybe I'll come run that race some day!

Rick - That's why I'd do the around the block run at night...not so noticeable as the crazy running lady. ; )