This morning marked the first official long run of SMART training. I'm not sure what's happened or where I went astray, but somewhere along the way, I went from "well, I'll see the SMARTies around if I happened to be running the same venue" to "well, I'll join the SMARTies every once in a while for one of their easier workouts but I'm pretty much on my own" to actually wondering (with some slight modifications) if I might be able to actually do this. Getting through next week should tell the tale.
This morning's workout called for 2 mile warmup, silly walks, 4 miles at MP effort, and 2 miles cooldown. Now, normally, if I were running with the Striders (or anybody else for that matter), I'd start early and shoot for finishing up around the same time. But with this morning being opening morning and my wanting to be WITH the group for silly walks and orientation/meet and greet post run, I decided to start with everyone else and just cut my run short to finish in time for the festivities. There are about a hundred more workouts the rest of the season that I can start early and "do my thing" as I like to say. Luckily and as ALWAYS, Steeeve had a plan. A group running at a more relaxed pace got a bit of a head start and timed it perfectly with the speedier folks.
We did silly walks and then took off for our run. The larger group headed east on Clay for a 6 mile romp but I stayed closer to home and did 2x2mile loops with some other Striders in the Park. I had the privilege of running with Jen for the last couple miles. Actually, and I don't know if Jen knew this, we cut our loop short right off the bat by taking a left too soon. But I think we just cut off .3 or .4 miles. No biggie. It was great to catch up and we actually ran a pretty good effort.
Speaking of stats, I did my 2 mile warmup at average 12:47 pace and it felt good. Probably a bit quick for me warming up but two days rest and this horse is ready to run. The next 3 were consisitently right at 13:15 and my effort was just what coach ordered, basically MP effort. The last .6 or so back to the barn was at a brisk 12:45 pace. I definitely felt like I could have easily held that for another loop, no problem.
Then we all convened for a demonstration and then execution of the SMARTie core workout. It's 8 minutes of H-E-double-hockey-sticks. Steeeve said if we do this 4 times a week, it'll help us stay upright the last 6 miles of the marathon. That's enough to convince me. I'm doing it.
We finished up with a fun meet and greet under the Pavillion. We all introduced ourselves and talked about our goals. I guess this was the first time I've really stated my goal for Houston 2008 out loud. Of course, it's a lot less risky when people don't know your goals because then they don't know when you fail. But when it came my turn, I just said it. My goal for Houston is twofold, to run it 50 lbs. lighter and 1 hour faster. There...I really said it now!!! On the WWW!!! Oh well, guess I'll risk it.
All these festivities were followed by breakfast at my favorite breakfast joint, Sandy's with some of my favorite people, the Striders. The food was fantastic and the company was even better. Thanks all for a great start to what is sure to be another memorable season.