Fall has arrived and the hills are currently shimmering with golden leaves. Although the scenery is glorious to run through or glad past on my drive to and from work, I know that it signals that only a couple few weeks of warm weather remain. With the arrival of October the leaves will brown and fall, and the currently glowing aspen groves and grass-covered hills will fade to gray, and then rapidly turn white with snow*.
Since the good running weather and Fall racing season are winding down I wanted to take stock of where I am and what my remaining goals are for the season.
So far, Fall is starting off well. I just hit another strong week and had the endurance to enjoy my longest run since November 2014 (14 miles, woohoo!). I’ve enjoyed a wonderful summer of racing and have gone from a fitness level where my legs could barely hold 7:mid pace for 5k to being able to hold 6:mid for the same distance. I have had a few setbacks, but have been healthy enough to enjoy many workouts, races, and exploratory runs over the local trails.
Moving forward, I have two main goals:
- Break 20 minutes in the 5k. I haven’t done this since Fall 2014 and would LOVE to break that barrier again. However, if I have strong races in my last few XC 5k/6k’s and don’t hit this mark (or the equivalent for 6k) I won’t be devastated. Cross-country is a whole different beast than track or road 5ks since terrain can make times for the same effort hugely variable.
- Break my half-marathon PR! My current best of 1:41:49 was set with stronger training, but on trails with some massive hills and plenty of mud. I’m planning to race in Moab at the end of October with a friend and am hoping that the drop in elevation and the mild road course will allow me to push under 1:40. I’ve added a few half marathon workouts to my training plan (from the Kara Goucher plan here) and have hit a few long runs of 12-14 miles to hopefully get some endurance and appropriate pacing into my legs for the attempt. We’ll see what happens – either way it’s a great excuse to spend some time enjoying the red rocks and warmer weather of Moab and to get a chance to visit and run with a good friend.
Ok, now that I have some goals I just need the snow to hold off a few weeks longer so I can keep racing and training! Everyone please hold off on your snow dances until November 😉 Please share your fun/exciting Fall goals in the comments, I would love to see how everyone else is handling the last bit of Fall training/racing before the arrival of winter…
*This may sound like an exaggerated timeline, but it legitimately snowed yesterday here. I live in the land of winter 😐