While I’ve been training for this month’s 10 miler since last year (yes, I’m going to use that until I can’t any more), I officially signed up today! The Track Club offers a discount to those registering the “High Mileage Series” and since the timing works perfectly for March’s marathon, I signed up for the trifecta.

Sure, at this point in my running career 10 miles isn’t a big deal. Racing it isn’t even all that intimidating.  After all,  I’ve only ever ran one 10 mile race – Cross Knox on 10/10/10. I was under-trained, under-prepared, and it was freakin’ hot for October! I didn’t make it under the 2 hour mark. Barring on-course injury, it would be incredibly difficult for me not to PR.

(For reference, I did a slow and miserable 10 miles this weekend in 1:41.)

Crazy enough, I’m actually a bit excited about the elevation profile for the race. As with any of my local races, this has some pretty serious elevation gain, but I love the symmetry of the chart! Okay so I’m mostly just being goofy, its an out and back so of course its symmetrical. What I love about the chart is how the scary part is in the first half.

I learned in my last race I have got to make a serious attempt at negative splits when I race. Thanks to the elevation profile, I’m all but forced to.  While I do have a time goal for this race, I plan on going out conservatively in the first 5 miles, then when I hit the half way point kick it up!

My current 15K PR (9.3 miles, so very comparable in distance) is a 9:43 pace, and I certainly want to better that time. My shoot-for-the-moon goal is a 9 m/m pace. I’ve been doing a bit of speed work and a few pace runs, but I’m still not totally confident in my goal. Of course this race will help me set my pace goals for the rest of the race series.

Two weeks later will be my first opportunity to participate in the Strawberry Plains Half Marathon. Tentatively 2:04 or under is my goal, but as I said, adjustments will be made after the 10 mile race shows me what speed I’m currently working with.

I know several teammates who have PRed on this course, so I’m looking forward to seeing what I can do. The elevation chart shows just enough change to be interesting, not enough to be scary. Or at least that’s what I’m telling myself. If you’ve done the race before, please just let me go on believing it.

Last in the series is the Whitestone 30K (18.64 miles). Given the distance from my house (over an hour and a half), I passed on the race the last round of marathon training. This round, I have a buddy who’s offered to let me stay with her to significantly cut down travel time. Add that to the package deal of just $60 total (for Knoxville Track Club members) for all 3 races, I couldn’t turn that down.

*Gulp* Okay so this map kinda scares me. A 200 foot climb over a mile, in the last mile of the race? This, however, is less a race and more a supported training run for the Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon. I’ve never done this distance before, so I’m not trying to beat a PR.

Then 4 weeks later I’ll be going round 3 with the 26.2 distance at the 10th anniversary Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon! Let’s do this!!