Today was a beautiful morning for a run at Wildwood Lake Park and HACC. It was great to be back with my TNT friends. My first question today was what type of clothing should I run in so as to be warm, but not overheat. My answer with my current options was to wear my "winter running tights" as to keep my legs warm. I also wore a short sleeve tech shirt underneath my blue TNT alumni shirt. In order for me to keep warm while I was waiting for us to start I also had my "finishers" jacket from the Marine Corps Marathon.
I ran with several different people this morning. I wasn't trying to break any records, but I was feeling really good this AM. We had the water stop at mile 2.5 and then I continued on the longer route around the lake. We went around the lake the opposite way that we typically do so I was not sure exactly what the hills would be like. Even though this part was a little challenging I had helpful and positive self-talk that included things like "I've finished a marathon... I KNOW I can do this."
I was surprised how fast I did run today (averaged about 10:08/miles). I was not racing anyone and I didn't have anything to prove to anyone. Some of my friends are saying that this is the "new normal" and I'm completely OK with that :-). I also talked with my coach about what I should be doing in between seasons to get ready for a faster half marathon time. I mentioned that my goal is to improve my current official PR of 2:31 from two years ago to sub 2:00 half marathon. This will be doable, but very challenging as I will hit some hard spots in making that much improvement.
Things I'm going to attempt to do in the meantime is more core work. I'm going to do a pushup program and a situp program 2-3 times per week. My coach suggested that I do at least 30 minutes twice a week, but stated that it would be better to do 45 minutes twice a week. I also want to work on doing planks and making sure that I'm strengthening the muscles that I neglected last season. I want to progress to the next level. I believe I am in the best shape of my life and I won't allow myself to slack off to the point of loosing what I have gained. I feel better emotionally and physically.
The biggest thing that I'm going to do to make this happen is more accountability. A friend of mine will be calling me between 445-and 500am to make sure I am up. I have not been successful thus far and this is a step that I think will make a huge difference. I am so thankful for this!
Lastly, since we are in between seasons (Fall and Spring) TNT has a winter series once a month to keep us running. I enjoyed it because it keeps me accountable and provides a social outlet for my running. We went to the Front Street Diner and had coffee (or hot chocolate). Some people had breakfast as well. It was fun because we were able to connect with those we haven't seen for a little while and meet new people as well.
My goal is to still blog once a week (even if I don't have official TNT runs happening). I plan to try to organize a few runs on Saturdays starting from City Island over the next few months. These runs would be between 3-5 miles, but could be as long as we wanted them to be.