After taking the week after Club Nationals XC off, I managed to log in 57 miles last week, all of it at a pretty easy effort. I didn't feel like I lost anything from the time off and even managed a 13.5 mile long run on Saturday. This week will be more or less the same before I start incorporating some harder workouts into the mix in January. It definitely feels like winter here now, which always makes running more interesting with snowy bike paths and lots of ice to look out for. As far as goals for 2010 go, the big ones will be the USATF Masters 10K Championship in Ann Arbor, MI on June 6 and the Brian Diemer 5K in Grand Rapids, MI six days after that -- the Michigan Double! Fall as always will culminate with Club Nationals XC, which will be held in Charlotte, NC. Some other races I'd like to do are the Masters 5K championships in Syracuse on Oct. 3 and the Youngstown Peace Race 10K in late October. I've never done that one, but it's USATF-certified and people always seem to run real fast there due to a lot of competition up front. I can't wait to get racing again and may even do a February 5K as a rustbuster before the St. Malchi 5 miler in March.
The photo above is of the Second Sole Rocky River masters team before we destroyed ourselves over a hilly 10K course in Lexington, KY as we finished 12th in the USATF Club Nationals Cross Country Championship. All of us ran solid races and we're already pumped up for next year's race in Charlotte, NC.
It definitely feels like the end of the season and I haven't run a step since the race! My plan is to take this week off completely (though I have started on the 100 Pushups Program) before running some real easy workouts next week. Once the New Year hits I'll be back on my regular 60 miles a week routine and try to rough it out in January and February, the least fun training months around here. I'll be doing the usual off season conditioning stuff: long runs, hill repeats, progression runs etc. and if I'm restless I may do the Chili Bowl 5K race in mid-February before definitely opening the season with the St. Malachi 5 mile race in mid-March.
One week from tomorrow, I'll be lining up with about 300 other masters guys for the national club cross country championships in Lexington, KY. Our team, Second Sole Rocky River, will be competing against clubs from all over the country, including running hotspots like Southern California and Boulder, Colorado. What I like about cross country is that racing 10K (6.2 miles) over hill and dale is a perfect middle ground for 5K specialists moving up and the half-marathon/marathon types moving down in distance. Kentucky in December isn't all that pleasant either so cold, windy weather and/or snow/rain definitely adds to the mix. A true hardcore runner's championship race.
I'm feeling really good heading into the race. The 5K race on Thanksgiving was a nice sharpener, which I definitely didn't taper for (71 miles the week before the race) and now that I've backed down a little I feel really good. On Monday, I did my favorite workout, which is a ladder of mile - 1200 - mile - 800 - mile - 400 with 400 jogs between each rep. The miles are done at 10K race effort, while the 1200 is at 5K effort, the 800 at 3K and the 400 at mile race effort. The workout teaches patience because if you hit the miles too hard, you're toast for the faster segments and a 400 meter jog isn't a hell of a lot of recovery. On Thursday I did some short hill repeats for a last shot of power.