Sunday, March 30, 2008

Shamrock Shuffle 8k Report

Today, I was one of thirty thousand plus runners who gathered to kick off the Chicago running season with the Shamrock Shuffle 8k. It is a very large race and starts and finishes right in the vicinity as the heralded Chicago Marathon.

Weather turned out to be cool but manageable -- high 30's, heavy clouds and threats of rain. All the precipitation held off and the conditions were very comfortable, despite some decent winds.

My goal going into today's race was a 31:30. I accomplished my goal.

I ran a 31:21 today (6:18 per mile), which is a 31 second P.R. over last year's time at this exact same race. My splits were reasonably consistent ranging from 6:15-6:23. This result is consistent with a 3:05 marathon.

Overall, I am pleased with it. However, I know I have so much more potential. Fact is I don't train for 8k races.

I am three for three in setting P.R.'s in my 2008 races so far. My goal is to P.R. in every single race I run this year. This is a long shot, but I will try to keep the streak alive through the spring and summer.

Mileage was down for this week given today's race. Total was 41 for the week. However, I will crank it up to 56 miles next week.

Plan is to get in the long run I was supposed to do this week tomorrow -- 21 miles, if I can swing it. Difficult to do on a Monday, right? Plus, forecast is for steady thunderstorms most of the day.

Life is starting to get really busy and I sense my running will be affected. J's baby shower is this weekend and family/friends will be visiting from all over. I also just was assigned a new position in my company and now have seven direct reports. A promotion, I guess, given all the new responsibility, so many challenges lie ahead.

J is 5 weeks away from her due date and her tummy is growing by the day. Leaving her to go to Boston three weeks from now is still a question mark.

I am preparing to learn how to run with long work days and sleep deprivation. I'll find a way.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Light week needed to recover

This past week's training was fairly uneventful and a bit lighter than planned. Most notably, I found that I needed more recovery time after last Sunday's half marathon. I was sore for a couple of days afterward and have been struggling to feel really fresh all week (did that sentence sound like a commercial for some sort of a feminine product?).

In fact, on Tuesday's evening run, I simply ran out of gas. Strange to bonk on a short run, but doing the 5x600's when I was not recovered from the race must have zapped me.

Recap of 3/17 week:

Monday - Rest

Tuesday - 5x600m repeats - Did the repeats for a total of 4 in the sweltering, humid gym. Then decided to finish up outside. Struggled and finished with just under 8.

Wednesday - 11 miles steady - 7:48 pace. No stops.

Thursday - Rest

Friday - Gym treadmill. Ran 5 miles at close to 8k target pace (6:20) in intervals : 2.5 / 1.5 / 1 mi with 2:00-2:30 in btw each - total of 7.3 for the day

Sat - 18.4 miles at the Aboretum - guesstimate of 7:40 per

Sun - Rest

I decided to opt out of Sunday's "recovery" run - largely because I felt I need some inactive recovery as opposed to the active kind.

Total mileage was 44 this past week.

I slept well last night and did a recovery 6 this morning. I hope to hit a good speed workout of 4x1200m in the morning.

Goal mileage for this week is only 41, since I will push the 21-miler to Monday due to the 8k race on Sunday. I should be back in the mid-50's next week right before taper.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

March Madness Half Marathon - 1:29:21 P.R.

I set a new half marathon P.R. today. OK, it was by a whopping nine seconds, but it is still a P.R.! I ran 3:30 faster than last year's time at this same race.

The Cary
half marathon course has some pretty wicked hills. It's a great pre-trainer for Boston in April. It is not widely considered a P.R. course. But I P.R.'d today. I'm totally confident that I would have run a 1:27 on flat ground today. I'm hungry to rock out a 1:27 at an upcoming flat, cool half-marathon.

The race itself went pretty well. No serious pain. Just lots of speedy heartrates and wheezing up and down hills. This is a very well run race on a challenging course. Weather today was better than expected - in the 30's with much sunshine. In fact, I was over-dressed for parts of it.

Today's race offered me the chance to re-connect with a number of the
CARA Wheaton runners that I have not seen all winter. Most notably, I ran with Anthony, who I trained with quite a bit last summer. He qualified for his first Boston with a 3:09 in the Grand Rapids Marathon after our meltdown in Chicago on 10/7/07. This was 3 weeks after Chicago - the same day that I crashed and burned and put up a painful 3:22 at the Chicago Lakefront Marathon.

Anthony and I ran into one another at mile 9 and we chatted casually until the final mile. That SOB left me in the dust on the last hill and finished 7 seconds ahead of me. So much for a friendly finish! :)

If I play my cards right over the next four weeks, I think I have a chance to P.R. in Boston - even if only by a few seconds. I am going to for it. But before I go for it, J (my wife) has to be OK with me going to Boston.

Up next is the
Chicago Shamrock Shuffle 8k downtown in two weeks. This is considered the unofficial kick-off of the spring running season here. Sold out once again, the race has a field of 30,000. I put up a P.R. of 31:52 there last year in some very warm weather.

I plan to beat 31:52 this year. My absolute "A" stretch goal would be 30:59. However, that time is probably slightly out of reach with my current fitness level. My more realistic goal is a 31:30.

After arriving home today, I strutted through a recovery 4-miler at 8:30 pace. I chalked up 48 for the week.

Happy St. Pat's day, everyone! Drink some
Guinness to celebrate the wonderful Irish holiday!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Mad Planning For A March Half Mary

Last week's running schedule went exactly as planned. I love it when a running plan comes together.

My goal was to hit exactly fifty miles, which would include a 20-miler through the hills of the Morton Aboretum on Saturday. I nailed the week exactly as I said I would.

I had hoped to get up to meet the CARA group up there on Sat, but it was 9 deg windchill. I'm tired of freezing my sack off, so I delayed the run to mid-day.

This would be my first hilly terrain workout of the entire season. I was pleased with a 7:28 avg for the 20-miler, three weeks after a PR Marathon. I celebrated with blissful rest on Sunday.

I am a mad planner anymore when it comes to sneaking in my workouts.

Tomorrow, I've decided to try to take a longer lunch and run when the temps are supposed to climb into the forties. I love getting my runs out of the way before work, but, as previously stated, the icy, windy cold blows. A warm-up starts tomorrow and I want to feel it!

Sneaking out for a meaningful lunchtime run requires careful planning. I have a reasonably flexible work environment, but you never know when something may pop up.

My day is lighter tomorrow, so I plan to jump out of work at 11:20 AM, drive the nearby HS track and knock out 1000M repeats. I will get in 9 miles total, which should take me 1:07. Note: This means hitting the five 1000M repeats at 3:45 (ouch!) - with a 2 min jog in between.

I'm excited for the March Madness Half Marathon on Sunday. I'm already fired up to race again. It may seem like I'm sand bagging when I say I'm hoping to break 1:30, but the course is VERY hilly. Then again, I just ran a 3:07. I should be trying to break 1:29.

Today, I started the week with a steady general aerobic 8-miler. I will plan for another 50-52 total this week, including Sunday's race day. With speed tomorrow and a race on Sunday, it should be a high quality week.

Six weeks til Boston. Eight weeks (I hope) til Daddy-hood. Woo hoo!

Sunday, March 02, 2008


I ran a comfortable 33 miles during my second recovery week post-marathon. I capped it off by running a solid 12-miler through a neighborhood in Aurora-Naperville called "White Eagle Club".
This is the second weekend in a row I ran in this neighborhood -- both times due to the stubborn ice and snow that refused to disappear from Springbrook Prairie's running path.

I have to admit that I felt somewhat spent during my easy 7-miler on the treadmill that I had this past Monday, which I ran at just under 8:00 pace. So yesterday's run is good indicator that my active recovery from the LCFB marathon is progressing.

I am primed for the spring running season. This could be the best year of my life - period. Life is going well on all fronts, with the start of my family being the highlight. My running ties it all together for me.

Up next is the March Madness half marathon on March 16. I ran a 1:32:50 there last year, which was pretty good since (a) it is very hilly and (b) I was coming off an injury. I am hopeful I can crush this time.

However, I have ZERO hill training to this point in 2008, so the upcoming half may be a good test. More importantly, I need to get on the hills for Boston - like, soon.

Conceivably, I could run four marathons this year: LCFB (completed), Boston (registered), St. George (trip booked, set to register) and NYC (lottery entered). It is crazy to think that I could set my marathon PR three different times this year, but it's possible.

I've PR'd already at LCFB. I will try to do it again at Boston, if I can go. And I would try a third time in St. George. And NYC I would just run for the experience, but, hey, it's New York - and that would be cool. This week's schedule:

Monday - VO2 max - 8 miles w/5x600m
Tuesday - 11 miles med-long
Wednesday - Rest
Thursday - 7 miles general aerobic
Friday - 4 miles recovery
Saturday - 20 miles long
Sunday - Rest

Total: 50 miles