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A Very Happy New Year! (And a little race. Did you expect anything else?)

January 3, 2011
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Happy New Year! We are excited to begin a new year full of adventure, fun and of course, new goals.

We kicked off the New Year’s weekend with dinner at Tasca. We got the special prix fixe menu. That said, we recommend going for the tapas and sangria. It’s something they do really well.

All in all, we thoroughly enjoyed. See?

The next morning, I was scheduled to run the Lowell First Run 10K. This is the 2nd annual race in Lowell, and there was a 30% increase in field size from last year. Amazing, right?

This is also a pretty competitive race. I looked over the results from 2010 before signing up, so I knew what I was up against. Of the 404 10K competitors from 2010, 33% ran a sub-8 mile average.

Being in the 30-39 year old category (I know, right? I’m still not used to being 33. In my head, I’m 17, so this is weird.) means one thing: I’m up against a lot of hard-working women who’ve also got many years of miles under their belt. I spent a great deal of 2010 working on my speed. I want to be able to better compete at the local level. And I’m not just competing with others – I’m mainly competing with myself.

Lowell’s First Run is a double loop course (5k loop, twice for some of us). 525 people ran the 10k. While I didn’t walk away with a medal, I did place 7th in my age group of 98 women. All my miles were sub-8, and I finished with a 7:54 average.

I felt pretty good about that – and the fact that my 5k split was exactly half of my 10k total time. I was mainly happy I felt good after (and not tired or sore). It reinforces the idea that I’m much more comfortable at a faster pace.

My new schedule is a hybrid of two Hal Higdon training programs – Advanced 15K (I’m using the speed portions and repeats from this), and Advanced Marathon I for the long runs (both midweek and Sunday). I’m using the first 9 weeks of these as training for Salem’s Black Cat 20 miler in March.

I want to get a good idea of where I’m at in a race with long distance. This is all in preparation to qualify for Boston 2012. I’ve only ever run it as charity, so I am really excited to qualify.

So, my goals for this year: move into the 6-minute territory, shave 3 minutes off my 5k speed, qualify for Boston. Sounds completely do-able and a bit overwhelming all at once. Thankfully, I have 12 more months! Bring it on!

And last but not ever least – my husband is the most supportive man I have ever known. I am eternally grateful. And he takes all of these amazing photos. He snagged that candid above, when I wasn’t looking. It’s one of my favorites, for sure.

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