It's January in New England and it feels more like spring time! Yesterday the temperature got into the 50's and Katie and I enjoyed a nice bike ride. The skier inside me wants cooler weather and snow, but I'm also loving the fact that Mother Nature is allowing me to continue running outside. The ten day forecast doesn't have any snow, and it looks like temperatures will still be above normal.
My training is going very well, and I'm completely injury free. That's a big change from this time last year when I was dealing with an Achilles injury and didn't run at all during January or February. Last week I logged 66 miles, including my first of five scheduled 20 mile runs.
Yesterday morning I met up with the Marathon Coalition Team in Newton and I ran Heatbreak Hill for the first time! We ran ten miles in all, hitting all of the Newton Hills. I felt nice and relaxed and took it easy. Heartbreak Hill isn't actually at that big - .4 miles long and 88 feet of elevation gain, but hitting that after 20 miles of hard running will be an experience!
This morning I had a very successful marathon-pace run. I ran 18 miles in all, finishing with 10 miles around my goal marathon pace. As my overall goal is to go under three hours, that equates to a 6:52 pace. The average pace for the ten miles today was 6:41, and I felt quite relaxed at that pace. My heart rate was right around where it should be, so I'm feeling very good about my training so far. A good test will come at the end of February, when I'm doing the Hyannis Half Marathon. I'm targeting a 6:20 pace for that race, which would translate into a time of just under 1:23. With a PR of just over 1:25 last spring, I think this is quite attainable.
I now have three sponsored miles from donors. My parents have sponsored miles 19 and 20, which includes Heartbreak Hill. Todd and Janet Zimmerman have sponsored mile 21, which Uncle Todd says is his 'favorite mile in the world of running.' Many thanks to these 'mile' sponsors!!!