On the plus side it was good to race after 8 weeks away from competition. On the minus side, it kind of showed. While my pacing and finish were solid, I ran about 10 seconds slower per mile than I expected to, finishing in 29:34. Not sure if it was the wind (gusts of 20mph coming from the West and South), or having a really upset stomach pre-race (an Imodium 30 minutes before gun time settled me), or just being rusty, but I didn’t get into the race groove I usually do. What helped me was that I always seem to have a knack for knowing what pace is right for the day. My splits were as follows: 6:01, 6:01, 5:54, 5:54, 5:44. The last mile definitely hurt, but it felt good to gut out a fast finish on a day that wasn’t my best.
As for what’s next, I’m going to scrap the Minster Oktoberfest and start focusing on XC now. Bella’s surgery is going to be on September 15, so she definitely won’t be 100% to travel for the race – most likely she’ll need crutches or a cane for awhile. When I initially made plans to do the Minster race we thought the surgery would be more like mid-August.
As for XC training, I need to ramp up the miles. Averaging 35-40 miles a week (pretty much what I’ve been doing since July 4) isn’t quite cutting it. Obviously, high mileage wasn’t my biggest priority this summer; helping my wife get through radiation treatment was, but that said, I do know from trial and error that hitting 50 a week is my optimum level for peak performance (my results tend to stagnate once I get around 60 a week), so I’ll aim for that, while including key workouts like mile repeats on cross country surfaces and long tempos.