Well, since Megan and I decided to focus on faster races and speed development this spring, I registered for my first ever 8K race. Held in my hometown on March 6, the race proved mighty convenient since we could stay with my parents and I could drive the 2 miles to the race location.
I've had great success in speed work recently as you can see by going to my daily mile page at: http://www.dailymile.com/people/disneyrunner. The race was an exciting opportunity for me to see what I could do in a race. It also became my first race with a new outlook. I went into the 8K with the approach that I wanted to see what I COULD DO in the race as opposed to what would happen TO ME in the race. This is a huge transformation for me. I was for the first time in my running life, excited about what I could do, excited about how fast I could run, eager to see the results of the hard work and weight loss.
We realized during interval training that I run faster and can sustain faster paces if I have built-in recovery time. In my mile interval work of a week before the race, this was proven (Here's the link to that workout: http://www.dailymile.com/people/disneyrunner/entries/1052066). So, with this data in mind, Megan and I crafted a race strategy that saw me do what was essentially an interval workout. Pre-race warmup since I am notoriously slow to warm up. First .5 at a slower than normal pace (12-13), then a mile at 8:30, then a .25 recovery of 9-10, then a mile at 8:30, then rinse and repeat. The plan was to spread my energy evenly over the course with the possibility of a final fast kick at the end.
This strategy worked like a charm. My slow .5 was faster than expected, 10:30, and my mile interval times were right on the money if not a little faster. My recoveries were not as slow as we expected, but they did the trick. They were perfect. I could catch my breath, slow my HR and then push through another mile!
I finished the 8K in 41:42. I placed 17th in my age group (40-49) and was 69th overall out of approximately 150 runners. I'm finally a mid-packer!