This weekend I will run my first race in almost three months. It seems like my first race of the year, but then I remember that the Goofy Challenge did take place in January. That seems like such a long time ago! This will also be my first time running Cherry Blossom, a staple DC race that I have somehow missed out on until now. I was registered in 2009, but a foot injury kept me from running.
When I signed up for this race back in December, I had big goals. I thought I would take three weeks off after Goofy and then jump right back into training. I had my eye on a sub 1:20, but unfortunately, my piriformis and non-firing right glute had other plans. I wasn't even sure until the last week or two whether or not this would be an easy training run, tempo effort, or race. Since I've made significant progress and been able to return to regular workouts, I'm going to be racing on Sunday.
I have no idea what to expect. I've only done three tempos and two interval workouts, so I feel like my speed training is certainly lacking. I also feel like I'm still working myself back into shape and am not anywhere near where I was last fall when I ran the Army Ten Miler and set my current PR. Leaving me to believe that going for a PR this weekend isn't all that realistic. However, if I look at my long run paces from late September and early October before that race, they are actually significantly slower than what I have been doing in the last few weeks. And while my times at the track are slower than what I was running in November right before the Philadelphia Marathon, they are actually slightly faster than where I was in early October. What exactly does this mean for Sunday's race and pacing? I have no idea. I think it's fair to say that my brain is most definitely not in racing shape, but perhaps my fitness is not quite as bad as I believe it to be.
I've decided that this is a great opportunity for me to test out my new watchless approach in a race. I'll run based on effort and see what happens. This has worked well on my last few long runs and it takes my "I'm not in shape for this pace right now" brain out of the equation. Maybe I'll surprise myself with a PR and maybe I won't, but I think it will give me a realistic assessment of where I am right now. And with my real focus on racing for a half marathon PR in May, that's all I really want to know.