Monday, October 3, 2011

Charging into October

I ran 161 miles last month.  My cross training was so-so - that is something that I need to work on reeling back in next month.  But I also read about 30 books in the process, so that is the big achievement of the month and I ran a PR in the 5k.
And now that it is October, it is time to get my act in gear.  I've got a 10k in 2 weeks (Boo! Run for Life 10k in DC), and that is my next race.
On Saturday, we had our first real taste of fall - 50 degrees and rain.  And I loved it.  It was the first time I wore short sleeves since I was in California this summer.  It was nice not to "melt" halfway through the run.  And today was a hard run: 2 mile warm up, 7 mile tempo, 2 mile cool down.  I still have not mastered tempo runs yet, even though I've been doing them for over a year.  Somehow, it is hard to lock into those perfect paces just beneath the limit and hold onto it for 30-60 minutes.  And I have done a lot of them, but not all go smoothly.  Some, I crash and burn and can't pick it up.  Other times, I am checking my watch too often to see if I'm close to being done.
Saturday was better.  I actually averaged 7:13 pace for the 7 mile tempo, which I was pleased about.  Even though that it slower than I am hoping my 10k pace will be on October 16th, I was happy about it.
Then on Sunday, I did a long run of 18 miles.  I didn't time myself, but was pretty pleased, seeing as that my longest run since Boston in April.  It was a super hilly course, but again, the fall weather was just wonderful - it was beckoning for me to keep going and stay outside.
Needless to say, my legs were pretty beaten up by the end of the weekend - I had run 29 miles in about 24 hours.  So, it was probably a good time to work out my brain instead.
I finished my comps reading yesterday!  I've now read over a hundred books on early medieval history, early modern history, and late medieval religion and society.  The written part of my exam is October 27-28th, with the oral part in November.  So, I have just about 3.5 weeks to just review at this point.  I am very relieved - it was my hope to be finished by this Wednesday, so I am right on track.  Now is the big task of compiling my notes and synthesizing the information: connecting themes and topics, as well as evaluating the "state of the field," meaning what have historians done so far in this area and what still needs to be done.  The ground work has been done, I've done my base training, and now is the time for sharpening.

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