Well, along with my newbie runner PR peak, I have apparently also peaked out in writing my running blog. Ah, the newbie peak is so nice while you are up on top! If you don't understand it or haven't experience the runner's peak, there's a time in your first five years or so of running where you can just keep getting faster without a TON of extra effort. I'm not saying it's magical, but the effort level compared to the return on your investment is pretty low compared to someone who has been running for a long time. Take my 5K race times for example:
*October 2010 - 28:58 - First 5K race EVER!
*November 2010 - 26:40 - yes, I took 2+ minutes off my overall time in 3 weeks!
*May 2011 - 25:15 - another minute and a half faster in just 6 months!
*October 2011 - 23:41 - In my first year, I'd taken a full 5 minutes off my 5k time!
11/17/2012 - 24:48 - Jingle Bell Run, course was a LONG 3.3 miles, so I'm throwing it out! :)
*7/4/2013 - 23:20 (Jacksonville)
*9/28/2013 - 23:08 (Washington Park)
*6/20/2014 - 22:04 - (Scholastic 5k) My current PR.
* = new PR for 5K
Aside from that STUPID long 5K course (my pace was a PR), from October 2010 to June 2014, I PR'd every 5K I ran. I was able to take nearly seven full minutes off my 5K time, and I really don't think I was putting in the equivalent effort for those results. I had some quality workouts, but very inconsistent, and I had no plan.
This brings me to 2015. While my mind is used to getting PRs without a ton of effort, my legs and cardio tell me otherwise. My 5k results have been considerably slower than my PR, and I've had to work for every bit of those times!
April 2015 (22:53) (Washington Park)
July 2015 (22:58) (Jacksonville)
Yes, they are still decent times. Yes, I was able to place in my age group in both of these races. I left both of them feeling that I couldn't have done better. The easy PRs of my first few years of running are gone. I guess that means I'm not a newbie anymore.
So what to do now? If I want to break that 22 minute mark, I have to train for it. Speedwork is key. Mileage is key. Cross training is key. If I put the effort in, yes, I can do it. Now I just need to convince my mind and my (now 42 year old) body to go along with that plan!