I’m really looking forward to the 20k Distance Series race on Saturday morning. The “Distance Series” is a 3 race series that takes place at the Fort Story Army Base in Virginia Beach and is designed to be used as a tune up for a Spring marathon. Race #1 is 20k in distance, and is followed by a 25k at the end of January and a 30k in February – perfect distances as you gradually increase your marathon mileage. It’s great to run your weekly long run in the company of others and the “races” can be run in a number of different ways.
1. Run the race at planned marathon pace.
2. Run the race like it’s the most important race of the year.
3. Jog the distance to put the miles in the bank.
4. Run with friends and make it a Saturday morning fun run.
5. Any other way you like….
In true bulldog fashion, I usually run it like it’s the most important race of the year, and give it 110% and push myself to the limit. This year however, I’m going to be a bit more thoughtful about the race. My previous race times for the 20k are as follows:
6th January, 2007 1:17:27 6:14/mile 18th December, 1999 1:19:59 6:26/mile 21st December, 2002 1:20:13 6:27/mile January 7th, 2006 1:20:41 6:30/mile December 15th, 2001 1:25:06 6:51/mile
Last year, after coming off a very successful winter, I managed to run a two and a half minute PR (personal record) and finish with an average pace of 6 minutes 14 seconds per mile for the 12.4 mile distance. This year I’m definitely not in that kind of shape, and I’ll be more than happy to get close to 1 hour 20 minutes. With this in mind, my race goal is to start off at 6:26 per mile and run the first 10k loop in about 40 minutes. How I feel at the 10k mark will determine what happens in the second loop I would love to speed things up a fraction, but if I can maintain the same 6:26 pace I’ll be satisfied.
Another fact about the Distance Series 20k: it’s the first event in the 2008 Tidewater Striders Grand Prix Series – a 12 race series open to Strider members who battle it out in events from 1 Mile to the classic 26.2 Mile distance. I’m also quite proud of the fact that I haven’t missed a Grand Prix event since October 2005.