I had no race on my schedule this past weekend. I skipped the local 5K because it was (a) a 5K, and I've done a few of those before, and (b) it was on pavement and this year is about new running experiences - and TRAIL running above all. Yet, I felt like running fast (well, for me). So I opted for my fourth one-mile time trial of the year to gauge my progress (a technique recommended by Galloway's Book of Running). The good news is that for the third straight time trial, I improved by 10+ seconds. Still at "penguin" speed - and there's nothing wrong with that - but waddling a little more quickly each month. I had enough left to run a two-mile cooldown jog to make it a five-mile day too, and I could not do that back in January - one hard mile and I was spent.
A couple things concern me though. With the weather heating up, there are fewer trail races in my area (and I mean a two hour driving radius). How to stay focused and motivated? Will building my long run to half-marathon distance be enough? I may need to set a specific target race. Also, along with the hot weather comes deerfly season, which makes many trail locations miserable. I have neither a gym membership nor a treadmill right now. I'll probably stay on the trails until I'm forced off by those winged fiends.