I had a fabulous run last night with Pacers. We did the hill route that haunted me in my first weeks in Maryland, and it was hard in the best way possible.
Only a handful of runners showed up on account of the blistering cold. It was chilly — something like 20 degrees when we left —but nowhere nearly as bad as I expected. Since there were so few of us, we decided to all go out in the same amorphous pace group. I knew ahead of time I was one of the slower runners in attendance, but all the speedsters in the group seemed content to just chat and take it easy.
About a third of the way through the run, it occurred to me that the majority of the runners had fallen back behind me and two fast dudes I had no business running with. Then, one of the fast dudes fell behind, leaving me and my new friend, Marco, who seemed to barely be out of breath as we chugged up the rolling hills.
As it turns out, Marco is also training for the race on March 21. He’s doing the full marathon, and is attempting to beat his previous time of 3:30. Despite being clearly out of my league, he waited patiently as my gasping, expectorating self caught up to him, and carried me through what proved to be a few very fast miles for me. We finished the 5.39-mile route in 43 minutes — about 8-minute miles (and did I mention it was hilly?). I left Pacers feeling like I’d just won the Boston Marathon.
In other news: My fear of commitment has led me to miss yet another race opportunity. I’d hoped to run the Run to Register 10K to get my spot in the Marine Corps Marathon a couple days early. Registration for the Run to Register 10K is closed, leaving me stuck duking it out with the writhing masses online the morning of April 1. (Sigh). But I took it as a lesson and officially threw my hat in the ring for the George Washington Parkway 10-miler in April.
Finally, just wanted to pass along a tool suggested by my friend Kaveh. It’s the McMillan Running pace calculator, and you can use it to figure out a goal time for a new distance based on your time for a past race. I’ve used a less comprehensive version (see the link on the right side of this page) to set unrealistic goal times and to waste hours online. I’ve also used it to stretch my brain to accommodate exciting new goals after a good race — say, to set a more ambitious half-marathon goal after a solid 10K performance.