The Brooks ID program comes to a close at the end of December and it was great to be a part of this company in 2010. I volunteered at a Rock n Roll expo, represented Brooks at races and spread the word on their great products. I met a bunch of inspirational runners through the program. An in-house Race Series saw me finish 498 out of 1008. Respectable, considering my year was only slightly above average (in my opinion) due to an injury at the beginning of the year.
In the past you could apply and I was ecstatic to be selected this year. However, in 2011 the program shifts to "invitation" only. Invitations were supposed to have been mailed this past weekend. Some ID'ers are beginning to receive their invites. So I run to the mail box each day like an eight year old waiting for the X-ray glasses that were purchased out of a comic book. I don't anticipate my IRS refund check with this kind of angst! Does Michael Jordan have to wait at the mailbox for his new contract from Hanes? Does Tiger Woods have to wait for Tag Heuer to send him mail? Well maybe after last year he does. All in all I can't complain since barring a 2:15 marathon next year (only an hour and half PR mind you) this is the closest I'll get for athletic excellence. I'll be patient.
Meanwhile, my runs have been C-O-L-D cold. The temps have been averaging in the single digits. Wind chill has been pushing zero. Except for Saturday's 12 miler which was 37...in the rain the entire way. Welcome, to winter training in the midwest. Scary to think what January and February have in store for me. Without a training schedule to follow, I've been running by feel and trying to keep my mileage up. Since November 15th my miles per week have been:
11/15 to 11/21 37
11/22 to 11/28 42.1
11/29 to 12/5 26.7
12/6 to 12/12 40
Decent enough to start a formal program in January for a yet to be named spring marathon. But here's the best part. I'm faster. And it feels easy. At first I thought I was running faster because of the cold. But Saturday in the rain, my legs were dead from Christmas shopping and a party the night before. My speed held up. I've been averaging anywhere from 8:18 to 8:05 pace on regular non-tempo runs. Last Wednesday was 5.1m @ 7:54 pace. Thursday was 7.7m @ 7:55. This is the first time I've busted the 8 minute mark. Today was 12m at exactly 8:00. Somebody called it a breakthrough. Is it because I've reached some magical "experience" level after 2.75 years of running? Has my stride become more efficient? Have I trained my body to this level? I'll have to do some research. Either way it bodes well for my 2011 season.
Now if you'll excuse me I have to go stalk the mailman.