Friday, February 28, 2014

Race Series

Someday soon, I may begin to feel like a "real runner." About a week and a half ago, I registered for the race series that my running club, Sugarloaf Mountain Athletic Club, is putting on.

The race series consists of 14 different races, starting in April and going through November. The distances range from 5Ks (3.1 miles) to a half marathon (13.1 miles), at the end of the series in November. You get points for the races you complete in the series. Points are awarded based on a combination of miles-run for each race, time it took to complete the race, and your time compared to the winning time. You can get bonus points for volunteering and for being a "series finisher". In order to be considered a "series finisher" you have to complete at least eight of the 14 races in the series.

I definitely plan to take part in as many of these races as possible! The races are all local and the registration fees are very affordable. I'm starting graduate school at Simmon's Graduate School of Library and Information Science this fall, so I know that I won't have a lot of extra funds or a lot of time to travel around to races. For this reason, racing locally is ideal.

Racing in the SMAC race series will also help me with my goal of getting to meet more local runners. When I attended the SMAC annual meeting earlier this winter they highlighted the race series as the best way to get involved with the club.

I'm very excited to participate in the race series because I think it will keep me focused on improving my running this year. Knowing that I have the race series coming I've been very dedicated about my training through the winter, running three very strategic runs a week: one speed session (often hill repeats), one tempo run, and one long run.

The first run takes place on April 6 and is the Ron Hebert 8 Miler. It looks like the course might be a little hilly -- many of the SMAC race series courses seem challenging in the way. I think I'm going to be glad I've been doing my weekly hill repeats. I'm feeling good about the making the distance; I did a seven mile run today and it went fine. Now I just have to put together the training I've done on hills with the distance runs I've done in order to have success on race day. I want to have the first race be really successful and am even considering going over and running the course later in March as time allows.

It certainly looks to be a challenging one, but I feel like I'm working hard and will try to do my best. I still have over a month to keep working on my running and hopefully get in some more outdoor runs if the weather ever turns reasonable in temperature.

Other than the SMAC series my two big running experiences of the year will be the Cape Cod Ragnar Relay, which I'm doing in May and the Hogsback Half Marathon in September.

The Ragnar Relay is a 200 mile relay run, which I am doing with a team of twelve people I've met online. I'll be running three five mile legs over the two-day relay. This will definitely be a unique experience -- lots of running, little sleep, and meeting new people.

Hogsback, of course, I have done before. It was my first half marathon. I love the course and hope to go there in September and have a great race! Other than for the SMAC series, Hogsback is what all my training is for!

Other than that, I'm keeping myself free other other commitments. After all, the SMAC series offers so many races that I'm not even sure I'll have time with school to do all of them. They all look amazing through -- here's the list from the SMAC website.

I'll keep you updated on my progress with my training and with my races. I can say for now that I am getting stronger on hills and that I'm doing longer sections at tempo (up to 2.5 miles) on my tempo runs. This is making my long runs feel easier because they are done at a slower pace. I was able to finish my seven miler with a very fast finish today and even did a mile at the end at tempo. This makes me feel good because in the past I would have been very tired at the end and not able to give it any more. I'm hoping this good training comes into play on race day!

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