So this week will be a cutback week, and I'll be a little more conscious of keeping my mileage in check a bit, because I have some fun fall races planned, and don't want to risk getting injured and not being able to do them.
First up is a local 5K put on by some friends, with the proceeds going to support the local track teams, so I'm happy to contribute and take part. I've been really focusing my speedwork on longer intervals to get ready for the half, but I may throw in a couple weeks of shorter repeats to see if I can't pull off a PR at this 5K.
Chipping away at my 5K time has gotten progressively more difficult as I've gotten my pace into the low 7s, and then the sub 7s. I still have that sub-20-minute goal in mind, but I'm 99.99% certain that won't happen in September. Never say never, of course, but I haven't trained to run that pace, so I'm not anticipating it. But even if I can shave a few seconds off my current PR (20:51), I'll be happy.
Next up after that is a new race - the Ocean Road 10K. I'm really looking forward to this one, as it will be my first ever 10K! Nearly 80 races under my belt, but I have never run a 10K in my life. And this is going to be a great one - the course runs from the Pt. Judith lightouse up to Narragansett Town Beach. It's basically a straight shot along the ocean, and not terribly hilly at all. So as long as the wind isn't in our faces the whole way, I should be able to run a pretty decent time. Whatever I do, though, it'll be an automatic PR : )
I need to hold back a teeny tiny bit, though, since the following weekend is the half in Newport, where I really want to give it my all and hopefully get myself closer to my ultimate 1:35 goal. I'd love it if I could pull off the 1:35 at this race, but I think it's a bit of a stretch, given that I'm not fully committing to serious training. I feel like 1:36 is within my grasp, though, so I'll be happy if I can get there.
And then my last big race effort for the fall will be up in New Hampshire - a half-marathon built into a fun weekend away with friends! We weren't sure if we were going to do a weekend away this year, and it all came together very last-minute, but I'm glad it did - and glad we registered just in time, because the race ended up selling out!
After that, I'll be laying low and skipping hard workouts for a month, to give myself a little downtime before Boston training begins. I've had great success with the Run Less, Run Faster plans for my last two marathons, but for this year, I think I'm going to be my own coaching guinea pig and create my Boston training plan myself. I haven't thought too much about my goals yet, but as the fall arrives, I'll start doing some number-crunching and see what I think I should aim for.
As of the past few weeks, my long run paces have been in the low 8s (and even a 7:55 average pace for this past weekend's 14-miler), so I feel like I should be able to break 3:30 this year, but what I need to figure out is how far under 3:30 I can be. Something to ponder a little more....
The majority of my running this summer has, luckily, been incident-free. I have had three reactions recently, but they were much more minor and manageable - which, given the freakish nature of this condition, is a really good thing.
The first reaction was just a few days before the Blessing, and started with the typical itchy hands. I stopped almost immediately and called Scott to come pick me up, and with some Benadryl, it was under control very quickly. The key, clearly is to stop running right away - a lesson I've unfortunately learned the hard way.
The other two times were different, though - I felt fine the whole time I was running, and it was only after I had stopped that I got itchy. And it wasn't my hands that itched - it was my lower legs and ankles. Bizarre. One time I took Benadryl to calm it down, but the second time I waited a few minutes and it subsided on its own.
While I'm glad that the last two incidents were so minor, and that they didn't happen until after I had finished running, I'm more baffled than ever, since there seems to be virtually nothing at all predictable about these reactions. Just when I think I maybe understand something about how to 'manage' them (a relative term), something happens that totally throws all my understanding out the window.
While taking the Allegra every day isn't preventing the reactions from happening, it does seem to have lessened their severity (for now, anyway), so I'm going to stick with it. As I tell myself often - I'm still able to run, and for that, I'm very, very fortunate, so I can't complain - there are far worse things I could be dealing with.
I'll just continue to do what I can to stay on top of it, and hope for the best. And keep running.