Ok..about 30 degrees and a bit windy out there. Today is the official first day of my half marathon training program. The race is now 16 weeks away. I can’t wait! 

4.57 miles. Easy. Hills. 49:29. Ave pace 10:49. I was supposed to do an ave of 11:07 and I slowed down several times. Close enough. This week’s running plan calls for 21 miles – 4 runs total. Sounds great.

I’ve been kind of hoping to hit 800 Garmin miles before the end of the year. I’m up to 789.79 so it’s totally doable. Since I was injured from mid-December until mid-March, I lost three months of training on my first official year of having that watch, so, even though it’s not an official “full year”, I’m still kind of thinking of it that way. Hmm.. I’m actually considering erasing all of my past workouts after the end of the year and just starting the data fresh for the new year. Hm… I’m a little clingy with my data. We’ll see if I can make myself do it or not. 

Ok, the Smart Coach training plan I’m currently using….. I decided the past two weeks to just run the speed I felt like – easy, comfortable without really staring at my watch. It turned out an easy run for me now is between 10:00 – 10:45 min/miles. Last year I would have said 11:00 – 12:30 range was comfy. I’ve improved. 

So…based on that, I tweaked the running program so that the easy runs were in the range (or closer) that I like now. This half marathon training plan, in theory, if done to the letter, is supposed to prepare me to do a 2:00:19 half marathon. The one I’m training for though is on trails and is 8 miles uphill, so I’m not expecting anything much better than 2:30 honestly. My two friends who did it last year did it in : 2:25 (she’s 6 years younger than I am), and 2:09 (she’s been running since high school and has also done an ultramarathon.)

Anyways… it’s exciting to think that this year I’m going to be focusing on strength and speed for a change. I’m excited! I’d also like to push the limits on my endurance further than the marathon distance.

Just yesterday, Bertha texed me and asked if I’d be interested in running a 50K with her at the end of January. A 50K is about 30 miles and is the shortest distance you can do for an ultramarathon. The other common distances are 50 miles and 100 miles. Several of my running pals are committed to running an ultra or two this year. I’ve been too intimidated to even consider it –but…. after Bertha invited me to one last night, I pulled out my book The Extra Mile by Pam Reed. She’s an elite ultrarunner, a mother of five (two are stepchildren), and she’s best known for WINNING the Badwater ultramarathon — the infamous 135 miles race through death valley where the temps reach the 120s and 130s and your running shoes melt on the pavement every 5 miles. In 2002 and 2003 she won the race overall — even beating Dean Karnazes!!!!!! That’s pretty impressive! Anyways…. I picked up my copy of the book last night from my running books stash and dived in. I have to say.. I wouldn’t mind trying an ultra next year — maybe next Jan. But I’m not ready yet this year. DH actually said to me “Why not? It’s only a few miles beyond the marathon and you did that!” I wish he handn’t said that — because I kind of want to try. 

The 50K that B wants to do is really just a low key event. No shirts. No water stations. No fees. Just a bunch of runners shaking off the winter sluggishness. In fact, the “official” name involves the words “fat ass recover from the holidays” if that tells you anything. So…. I don’t “think” I’ll even consider it this year — but I’m tempted. I’ll let you guys know what I decide.

I’ve got a house full of sickies here today. I’ve been fighting a cold the past week and now Wayne, Rebecca, Anneliese and Savannah have it too. Jr and Josh both came down with fevers and tummy aches last night. Good thing I got my run in, so I’ll have the energy to tend to everyone, huh?

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