I've always considered myself to be a LSD girl. (And incase you're not a runner that stands for long, slow distance.) I'm not fast by any means. In fact my 5k PR (29:55 for an official race)has been easily beaten by some of my couch-potato friends who just decided to get off the couch and see how far they could go.
I told myself that it must be the way I'm built, that I must be all slow twitch muscle. Thanks to those oxygen-sipping, slow-firing Type I muscle fibers I would always be slow but I could outlast everyone. I set my sights on endurance events and ultramarathons and left the 5k's to the sleek speedsters in spandex.
Then something happened. I can't quite pinpoint what it was but the marathon was the climax to a disappointment that has been building. I don't want to be slow. I don't want to have people tell me 'but at least you finished'. I don't ever want to put DFL next to my race results ever again.
So I made a bold decision. I dropped my July 100 miler and decided to drop my mileage and focus on speed instead. I'm now following Hal Higdon's Half Marathon plan. I have hopes to set a new half PR before the end of summer and then go back into marathon training faster and in better shape. I'd like to tackle another marathon with confidence and then go on to my 50 mile and 100k in the fall with the knowledge that I'm not going to be dead last.
At this point I've been incorporating tempo runs and 400m repeats into my training. I've also been pushing myself harder at CrossFit. Some people will tell you that doing speed work, long runs, strength training, and cross training all together will cause over-training. However, periodization just isn't for me. Today I saw small progress when I ran a 29:30 5k on the treadmill and didn't feel like I was going to drop dead.
It might not be good enough to take an age group award at my next 5k but a shiny, new PR would be almost as good. I'm just going to put it out there that my stretch goal for next year would hopefully put me in the age group awards for most of my local 5k's. I guess you'll just have to wait and see if I can make it happen. :)