So, the comments are unanimous, so I guess I'm accepting my new PRs with no more reservations! It's still hard to believe though. The 8K time is a 5:45 improvement. Although I've never stopped being a runner, at the time I ran that 41:57 I was kind of at my "low point." I didn't keep a log back then, but I was probably lucky to crack an average of 10 miles per week. I hadn't run a marathon that fall, so there was nothing to keep me even remotely motivated. I was just finishing up school and so was very busy, of course. And then last year around this time is when I started getting serious again.
So anyway, I've mapped out my target races for the first half of 2008. It looks pretty similar to last year. Once again I'll be heading down to Louisville for several races, since the race scene around here shuts down from December through February. I'm skipping the Indy Mini in favor of the Derby Mini, so I'll be completing the "Grand Slam," as they call it (Triple Crown + Derby Mini/Marathon). I am very excited to return to the Derby Mini. It's probably my favorite race, and one of the first I ever ran (1998). Running it 10 years later seemed fitting. This will be my fourth time running it overall. I'm also hoping to break my longest-standing PR of 1:50:57 (1999). And then five weeks later I'll be racing my seventh marathon in South Bend, Indiana. Although we apparently didn't make it into the River to River Relay, I still kept this on the schedule because it fit so well, and I've heard good things about the race, not to mention it's CLOSE.
Once again the main goal will be to go sub-4, but some tantalizing opportunities have opened up with this latest slew of PRs. I plugged the 36:08 8K into McMillan and got the mind-boggling marathon equivalent of 3:33. So of course now I'm daydreaming about a BQ. Obviously I need to ramp up my mileage and put a lot of work into my endurance, but that possibility is soooo...tempting! It might not be realistic, but I can't deny that I REALLY want to try. I've pretty much been looking at the calculator results and salivating ever since Saturday. I'm such a dork.
I've scheduled both a 10-miler and a half for early spring (with another 10-miler possible in later winter), so those will likely be my deciding factors. They are both obviously better indicators than an 8K. If I can improve my endurance enough to achieve comparable results in the longer races...well, then. Things could get interesting. I can't wait to race again!!!