One HoustonHopeful who I follow is in Sacramento. Not only does she do cool science, but she’s jumped out of airplanes. In the air. She has parachutist wings to prove it. She’s touched a nerve recently with a series on how she’s trying to get her head together, a struggle I am having. She’s fast, though, really fast, and it’s enlightening to see that she endures the same self-doubt and the same sagging confidence that haunt many of us now and then.

After a fair share of Sturm und Drang, though, she may have turned a corner with a recent workout, consisting of 5 sets of sub-MP 2-milers with 2 minutes between. As I commented there, it put me in mind of some of the workouts I did before my 2006 marathon and how that and similar workouts — which were hard but not brutal (unlike, say, 1200 intervals, and a training approach that distinguishes a marathon from more intense shorter races) — gave me a level of confidence that I was ready for the race. I learned lessons on raceday but for those few hours on raceday I was ready and afterward I would tell people that the race itself is the pay-off for all the work.

Of course my inexperience proves a blissful asset in that I’m not intimiately familiar with blowing up. Pete Larson just posted on that. Like Jaymee he’s aiming for a specific time, in his case a Boston Qualifier. Reading his post reminded me of a conversation I had with Herb yesterday, with whom I ran for about 3/4 of a mile as he was turning home from 10.8 miles into a run. He’s running Philly and just had a great Tune-Up. He, too, is nervous about the pace, but seems to be in a good spot, having a target time in his head yet thinking of letting the race come to him, i.e., to go out at what feels comfortable. He has so many miles in his legs (and I can attest that a lot of those miles are at a pace that leaves me gasping) that he can feel comfortable and run the last HM at a solid pace.

Putting Jaymee and Herb together, then, and with the caveat that I’ve finished all of two marathons, I do think the pay-off is the race and the work, physical and mental, comes from the training. A couple of folks have commented that when you’re not doing a marathon (and especially in these parts the New York Marathon), you can feel kind of left out. And it’s this time of year that the risk is greatest of being sucked back into it, and you tell yourself that those long runs in August wouldn’t have been so bad, etc. Next year.

Still, if you’re aiming for a specific time — for Jaymee a 2:46:01 might as well be a 3:46:01 — you have to take chances, to go all in. But even then you have to trust your training, run smart if on the edge.

MF recently retweeted “Does anyone else stand in front of the mirror naked everyday and ask if they are a good runner?” to which she responded “God no!!” When I speak of self-doubt, I’m not talking about such cry-for-help/cry-for-people-to-tell-me-I’m-a-“good runner” drivel. I know a lot of runners, of varying speeds, and I can’t think of a one that is not a “good runner.” I’m talking about wondering whether I have the physical and mental fortitude, but while past results are no guarantee of future performance seeing Jaymee and reminding myself that, yes, I have done it gets me a good way along the road to remembering that I can do it again.

A Good Run

I decided to do some reconnoitering at the Rockies in anticipation of Oct. 17. Is there a course that can be described with a minimal number of turns? I think I found one. And in the process I found a nice run for myself, seven miles, solid pace but, maybe it’s the low heat/humidity, not much of an effort, up and down, getting lost once.

A New 10K

What? Yet another 10K? Actually back in the early 80s they were everywhere. Now, this most-hated of race distances is a rarity. Perhaps because it is the most-hated of race distance. NYRR has a bunch — 3 club races for men, 4 for women are 10Ks — but they’ve largely vanished elsewhere. Perhaps as the Mamaroneck Turkey Trot five-miler has been downgraded (and I mean that in both senses) to a 5K so more people will do it.

At the Rockies, I found a flyer under my wiper for a new 10K in and around Sleepy Hollow being put on by the Rivertown Runners. This could be a very nice addition to the Westchester running season. It bears watching. Right now, I think the only race that qualifies as a key Westchester race is the Rye Derby, although the Taconic Road Runners do a great job with its races (and it also puts on Rye), but they are chiefly in the northern reaches of the County.

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