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Transitions and a race preview: Its time to go fast again

This summer has been all about one transition after another for me.  First of all, I am transitioning from ultramarathon training to just regular marathon training.  You see, I did this:http://www.myfitnesspal.com/blog/ThickMcRunFast/view/-i-don-t-know-enough-to-be-scared-comrades-marathon-race-report-666838

 And that was wonderful, but now I am training for a fast, flat marathon, and I that requires an entirely different gameplan.  Training for an ultra meant that speedwork took a backseat. I ran a lot of miles 70-80 per week for the meat of my training. I ran a lot of hills, a lot of roads, a lot of trails, but I did most of it at an easy pace.  Endurance was the game, not speed.  Now, I have to re-learn how to run fast, and its been an interesting journey.  Dropping down to 40-50 miles a week makes me feel like I have all the time in the world, but ramping up the tempo runs and intervals can make me feel like I am dying.   

To make things more difficult, I came back from Africa and immediately jumped into my summer teaching gig, the International Geobiology Course.

check out the video we made last year if you are interested: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=38KC4QYRnJM 

  I can say without a doubt that this course is the coolest thing I do all year, but it does take a toll. It is a 5-week intensive training of graduate students. When I say "intense", I mean "I don't know what sleep is anymore".  12 hour days are considered "easy".  At first, we drive out to do field work for 2 weeks. Every day is up at dawn, out to the field, back for dinner, and then lectures after dinner. At a certain point, we head into the lab, but its the same schedule. At the end, we seclude the kids on Catalina Island, and things get even more hectic as they produce projects out of all the data they collected.  There isn't a lot of time to worry about health or exercise.  I do not make a single one of my own meals the entire time I am on this course.   It just is what it is.  Every year students and instructors alike say "I"m not going to gain weight, I'm going to work out". That lasts maybe a week. By the end, we are all frazzled shells, living on alcohol and our favorite snacks (this year it was Moscow Mules and peanut butter cups).  That said, it is still crazy rewarding. Its just something I love to do.   Plus, Catalina


ANYWAY, it is officially time to start running fast again. My marathon coach wants to throw me into a race this weekend to see what will happen, so I signed up for the Cypress 10k. I assumed it would be fairly low key, and then I saw the results from previous years. Apparently, this race is hard core.  Anything slower than 40 minutes won't get me in the top 10.  In order to place, I would be looking at a 33 minute race.

Yeah, 33 minutes for a 10k? That ain't happening at this stage (or probably any stage ever).  I don't race a lot of 10ks, so I don't have a good idea of what is going to happen out there. My last two were trail races, one out and back up a mountain (nothing like 4000ft of elevation change in 6 miles), and another that was flat-ish, but still on sandy trails with a water hazard, which made it more like a steeple chase and slowed me down.  Of course, I was also in much better speed shape at that time. The flatish one was 42:36, so I'm aiming to beat that.  Its gonna be hot in SoCal,so we will just see how this goes. Its like a little race adventure!

 

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