What a great training month. Rapid training progress is good for a constant buzz and a really gratifying endorphin/serotonin glow.
I went from 48.75 miles in December at an 11:41 pace to 60.21 miles at a 10:06 pace in January, which means that I hit my stretch goal of 60 miles as well as dropping my pace below 11:00 which is what I was aiming for at the beginning of the month (not to mention hitting my resolution and keeping my hair, which is fortunate as it has got rather arctic around Iowa this week). I also incorporated some extra stretching, yoga, and upper-body work within the last few days which has really helped recovery times.
As a test, today I decided to 'kick out the jams' and see if I could sprint for the three remaining miles between yesterday's 57 and today's 60 mile milestone, and was able to set a new personal best for the 5k (27:50). I may need to recalibrate the Nike+iPod sensor again, methinks, as my treadmill told me I was running <8 Min miles, not 8:56 on average as the sensor reported.
On a whim, I decided to look in on the finishing times for the annual Des Moines Dam to Dam race to see where my 5k time would place me in the pack of 750 or so finishers.......248th. Thus, my longer term goal is to break the top 100 finishing times, which means I will need to work up from 8:56 to 7:30 or thereabouts. I think the kid who led the pack with a 5:03 pace is a bit out of my reach, realistically.
As far as short term goals, since February is a short month, how about these? 55 Miles minimum, 65 Miles stretch goal, and less than a 10:00/mile pace minimum, with a sub 9:30/mile pace stretch goal (for the month). Also, as I wrote before, I will be part of a broader Nike+ challenge to run 50 miles in February, which should be attainable barring me over-training and bringing on yet-another-injury. I will also be traveling non-stop from February 19th until March 3rd, so I'll need to improvise a fair bit to stick with it. Setting a public goal (this blog) is good motivation to get out of bed in a strange town and hit the pavement, as it was in January when it provided the impetus to run in California as well as North Carolina.
And so the clock starts again. Man vs. Himself is so much harder than Man vs. Man sometimes.