Today was one of those unseasonably warm and beautiful days that occasionally happens in the late winter in New York. Temperatures in the 60’s with Spring in the air. This sometimes means that spring will be here soon. Or it can mean that we should expect a blizzard any minute. Nonetheless it was a perfect day for a run. Despite leaving the house at 7am and returning home a little before 6pm, I was determined to take advantage of this glorious day!
One of the many things I love about the Garmin watch that I received from my lovely husband for a holiday gift, is the freedom to run where my legs take me. Today I wanted to enjoy the path along the Bronx River. Last weekend I began to explore this lovely trail but ended up running for a while on a road. That would have been fine except this road, though not highly trafficked, is a known “speedway” where teen drivers like to test the limits. I chose to travel North on the path but took a roundabout route to get there.
Sadly for me this route was also quite hilly. I pushed through the hills which I’m sure will serve me well in Central Park come April 15. I enjoyed almost everything about my run – the weather, the scenery, the path, the solitude. Everything except my pace. See I, perhaps foolishly, set a time goal for myself. For my upcoming race I’m really shooting for a 2:30 half marathon. That’s 6 min/mile faster than my PR which means I need to shave about 30 sec/mile off my best time. If I can’t achieve 2:30, I’d still like to try to beat my PR of 2:36:41. Which still means running faster than 12 min/mile for 13.1 miles. Today I managed 2.9 miles in 37:20 or 12:39 min/mile. At least a min/mile slower than I want to go on race day.
I tried a run 3/walk 1 ratio today. Only because I was trying to play around with my intervals. My plan for my long runs and the race is run 2/walk 1. My course was very hilly and I was trail running as darkness arrived. But I’m still slower than I want.
Which brings me to a bigger question. If I can finish a marathon and several half marathons, all comfortably within the time limit, do I need to be faster? Should I be satisfied with the experience and the bling and forget all about PRs and time? Or is there a certain value in pushing myself a little faster and a little harder. What can I reasonably expect from myself? I have a demanding job. I probably average 50 hours or more per week, not counting on-call and phone calls. I have 3 children who need a mommy. How much time can I devote to my running?
I’ve tried to stick to Galloway’s 3 day a week plan. But this week I had to take kids to doctor appointments on both Monday and Tuesday. And Wednesday night was a work-related event that got me home at 10pm (after leaving home at 6:30am). Weekday mornings are challenging because I leave at 6:30am at least 2-3 days per week. Should I expect myself to get up at 4:30am to run? Or is that unreasonable?
I’m competitive by nature, probably most of all with myself. I read about people running “easy runs” at 10min/mile and think that I should be capable of racing at that speed. But maybe that’s taking the fun out of running? I’d love to hear about how other people deal with the need for speed…

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