Well my first two races of the year are complete! The two races were the hour track in Russellville on Jan 22 and the River Trail 15k in North Little Rock on Feb. 4th. I have had really consistent training this year since the day after Christmas slowly building mileage with running, biking, and swimming. I have not completed a lot of interval training so far, but still was interested to see how both of these races would go.
The plan for the Hour Track Run was to run farther than last year's distance. The track run is run a standard 440 yard track, and the goal is to see how many laps you can complete in 60 minutes. Last year I completed 30 laps plus the extra distance for a total of 7.5 miles. My goal this year was at least 31 laps, but I was really hoping for 8 miles. I knew I had to maintain at least a 7:20 pace to reach my goal. The run started on misty Sunday afternoon. The temps were in the upper 40s, so the weather was pretty good for running. The first lap went by quickly and then I easily settled into my pace of just under 7:15 miles. I was able to hold this throughout the laps and even was able to increase the pace over the last 10 laps. I was able to complete 32 laps plus some distance for a total 8.12 miles. A new PR for this distance!
The second race of the year was the River Trail 15k. This would be the 4th straight year that I have participated in the race. Last year I ran a 1:11:04. My PR came two years ago with 1:10:24. The goal this year was to go under 1:10. The pack pick up was very easy and quick. The weather for the race again started with a light mist, but the temps were in the mid to upper 50's making for really good weather. I lined myself up in the middle and just a little short of the front. I didn't want to go out to quickly, so I usually line up just short of the front. The horn goes off and away we run. The first mile is flat and fast. I was able to go out in a 7:16 which was a little fast but close to the 7:25 pace I was hoping for. The next couple of miles go by with 7:20, 7:29, and then a 7:27. There are a couple of hills around this area, nothing too hard, but enough to slow me down a little! The miles start to go up and I hit a 7:23 during a flatter section, but the next two miles become hard 7:37 and then 7:38. Ugg, starting to fall off my pace, but I know the last two miles are pretty flat to the finish, so I'm hoping to finish strong! Mile 8 goes by 7:31 and finally hit mile 9 at 7:24. Knowing that the finish is coming up, it is time to push it until the end. I ran the final .3 in 2:10 with a pace of 7:13. Not bad, but wish I could have finished faster. The final time was 1:09:21. A new PR! This was my longest run of the year so far, it was nice to be able to set a PR for this distance early in the year. The training is coming along really well! Now to prepare for the next race!