I love running in the fall. I think I've mentioned it before, but it truly is awesome to run in cooler, drier, beautifuller weather. Summer's nice in its own warm way, and winter can be alright. Spring's got its charms with warmer temperatures and melting snow, but fall's is where it's at.
I've been trying to hit the training pretty hard. I don't have quite the base I had the last couple falls, but I've definitely done a better job keeping my mileage up since school started this year. I've been averaging over 70 miles a week the past five weeks, and I'm starting to think shooting for a PR at the Rock 'n Roll St. Louis Marathon might not be totally out of the question.
But before I get too ambitious, I've got to think about the TC 10 Mile happening on Saturday. After I see how that goes, I will really know what to think about for a marathon time. When I ran the 10 mile in 2011, I hit 58:19. Based on my 10k a couple weeks ago, hitting a PR this coming weekend in not super likely for the following reasons:
1. Not near the base I've had in the past. Almost zero training in the winter, a slow start to the summer working to recover from my knee injury, and then an inconsistent summer due to traveling.
2. Peak week. In theory, this should be my highest mileage week before the St. Louis Marathon. It won't be as I'm substituting the 10 mile race for a long run, but I'm not really going to reduce my mileage during the week at all.
3. Tired legs. I've been hitting it hard the past five weeks. My legs are sore all the time. Any marathon runner who puts in decent mileage knows this feeling, and it's not conducive to running a fast race.
4. That 10k I mentioned before. My time seems to indicate that I'm not going to be able to run a PR time. In fact, the McMillan calculator says I'll only be able to run a 59:53. I hope I can do better than that, but 59:53 is over 90 seconds slower than my PR. Plus, my PR 10 mile pace is only 4 seconds/mile slower than my 10k pace a month ago.
So there's all the reasons why running a PR is unlikely. Despite all that, I'm going to try to anyway. There's a good chance I could blow up and not even break an hour, but if I'm not going to PR, I might as well not PR in a serious way.
St. Louis is three weeks from Sunday. How bad I blow up (or, if some miracle occurs and I don't blow up) will give me some indication of a goal time to set for that race. In the meantime, I'll keep churning out the miles.