Yesterday afternoon, I went to the Dentist. I ended up leaving not only with clean teeth, but also with a plan to participate in a 10k race down the coast in Pacific Grove this Saturday morning with a new local running buddy. Turns out my dental hygienist is a marathon runner (she ran NYC last year too, and is currently training for CIM in Sacramento) and invited me to join her in one of her training races. She also knows the local trails far better than I do and we run at a similar pace, so I’m hoping she can join me for my 15 miler on Sunday and show me the ropes! I have a trail map, but it’s always more fun to learn on the go with someone who knows the area well.

Initially, I was a bit hesitant about entering the 10k – it cost $56, which is REALLY expensive for such a short race, and not at all friendly to my unemployed/student budget. I think this may be because it is part of a much larger event (the Pacific Grove Triathlon). Also, Pacific Grove is an hour drive from where I live, which means getting up at 4am for the 7am start – that’s a good two earlier than I’m used to in terms of start times – and I’ve been feeling a bit run down recently with everything else going on (I don’t know why, but it seems many US races start far earlier than UK ones). Lastly, I had just done a MP run that morning and was planning to do a tempo run on Saturday, so I wasn’t sure how useful the race would be in the context of my training.

I mulled it over as she finished my x-rays. After she said she would drive and that the guy who trains her would be pacing her at 8:15, I decided I should just go for it. I’m a firm believer in the importance of training races (they really contributed to my success in NYC) so normally, I would have tons planned, but due to my injury and my move to California, I haven’t had any for Portland except for the Reykjavik 10k. What really forced me to sign up, however, is that the Portland marathon starts at 7am and not once yet have I practiced waking up at 4am, eating, and running at 7am, which I will obviously have to do on October 9th. I really should be doing this for my long runs, but not sure I can stomach two 4am wake-up calls in a row…

Also, when have I ever signed up for a race so spontaneously?! Most of the time I don’t even have that option, as races fill up so quickly these days, but also I’m such a planner (particularly with out-of-town races, because you kinda have to be) that I rarely decide to throw a random race into my training schedule. It’s great to suddenly mix things up like that!

Lastly, it seemed like a great opportunity to meet local runners and get back into the California racing scene, which I haven’t been a part of since I was 16 years old, while on my high-school’s cross country team. Check out the course – flat and fast, not that I’m racing it at 10k pace, but looks fun!

I’m not sure yet how I’ll approach the race – my friend and her running buddy will be running the entire race at 8:15, which is good practice for me too, since I haven’t done any MP work in a race environment yet. However, I may reach a compromise with my planned tempo session and decide to run 6k at 8:15 and 4k at 7:25ish. That way I do MP, tempo and practice running faster on tired legs. I just have to be sure not to go overboard, as I still have my long run the following morning! My injury is doing slightly better, I’m happy to report (I hate to admit it, but it probably is because I am finally doing my rehab exercises again after being a delinquent for a couple weeks, and I’m also getting stronger simply through training). However, I’m still in a slightly precarious situation, so I’m not counting on anything just yet!

Right, well I need to stop procrastinating now (sadly, this blog – and anything that isn’t related to school applications – is considered procrastination at the moment). I finally started my applications yesterday, and I have to say, it’s a really frustrating/stressful process. In short, the CA school system is a bit messed up, so NYU (and lots of student loans) may be my best option assuming I can get in there, but I’m not giving up on anything just yet…wish me luck!

How about that for timing – literally as I was about to finish this post, the mail came and guess what arrived on my doorstep?! My favorite running shoes (Saucony omni progrid, updated from 9 to 10) – in PURPLE! Aren’t they pretty? I feel cheered up already!

I can’t wait to try them out – hopefully the 10 is a good update from the 9, but more importantly of course, I finally have shoes in my favorite color, which match my racing outfit! 🙂

And on that note, I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!