Monday, October 7, 2013

Fall Goals Check-In and Race Preview

I feel like I say this all the time, but time is freaking flying by these days. It seems like just yesterday that our daughter Addison was she's almost 6 months old. Anyway, I digress, talking about time flying makes me feel old. I thought I would do a Fall goals check-in and a race preview of the upcoming Prairie State Half Marathon coming up for me on Saturday. Let's start with goals.

At the beginning of the summer, I stated four goals:
1) Run at least 3 more races this summer
2) Train well for the Prairie State Half-Marathon
3) Continue with regular weekly mileage -- minimum of 25/week but ideally working up to ~40-45 miles/week.
4) Get involved with some sort of team

Hmm - well, I guess I can say that I achieved 2 of those goals. I only ended up running two races this summer - a 10K on August 3rd and a 5K on September 2nd. Both of the races were PRs but I just couldn't find time for that third race. Oh well, all-in-all it's not that big of a deal.

On the other hand, I feel as though I have trained very well for the Half Marathon coming up this weekend. In June, July, August and September I logged 125, 140, 140, and 130 miles respectively and I mixed in a good amount of speed-work with 8 runs of 10 miles or longer. The races I did do showed that the speedwork has definitely paid dividends and my training paces have gotten gradually faster as well. On top of that, my body feels good and mentally I feel prepared for this race.

Weekly-mileage wise, I have stepped it up from the 25/week I was at in June. Through the summer months my weekly mileage was steadily in the mid-30s/week - I haven't hit the mid-40s like I'd hoped, but honestly, I've run just about as much as I can in the time that I had this summer so I'll take it.

Utter fail on Goal #4. I talked to Kevin Granato earlier in the summer about joining Granato Racing and I briefly considered joining the Glen Ellyn Running Club, but the bottomline reason I didn't pull the trigger on either is that I simply don't have weekend mornings or weekday nights open, at this point, to make joining a team worth it. If and when I join a team, I want to be a full participant, not just someone who shows up occasionally and doesn't really know anyone. It's still a strong desire of mine, but at least for this summer anyway, it wasn't in the cards.

So let's talk about this race on Saturday....

I'm really excited. After watching my brother smash his marathon PR yesterday at the Twin Cities Marathon, I'm inspired. Not only that, I feel like running-wise, I'm in as good of shape as I've ever been in my entire life. Unlike in last year's marathon training, I've incorporated some very specific speed-work and it seems to be paying off. My last 5K was evidence of that and I think that I've even gotten quicker since that race. In the 3 months leading up to my last half marathon, I ran a total of ~320 miles and in the past 3 months leading up to this half marathon I've run ~440 miles so from even just a sheer mileage standpoint, I'm even more prepared for this race than I was for the last half marathon I ran.

Goals-wise, I'm going to take Erin's approach and have a couple of different goals. My "I definitely think I can do it" goal is to get a new half marathon PR in this race. My fastest Half so far is 1:28:20 and I think I'm in better shape now. My "If all of the stars align" goal is 1:26:30. I imagine my ultimate time with be somewhere in between those two numbers...would love to surprise myself (in a good way) though. The weather looks like it's going to cooperate...temps should be in the low-to-mid-50s and for now there is no rain forecast for Saturday morning. The race starts at 8:00am so it won't be a terribly early morning. I looked at the results from last year, over 800 people ran in the half marathon and there were about 300 in the marathon so it's not a tiny race, but it's not very large either. which has both pluses and minuses. On the plus side, there won't be any dodging or weaving. The downside is that in the latter part of the race, it's likely to be pretty spread out so I can't count on having anyone to run with or near to help pull me along when the fatigue starts to set in. I don't know if they'll have pace groups, I imagine this is probably too small of a race for that...but we'll see.

Strategy-wise, I'm going to start out by trying to run 6:40-6:45s for the first three miles. During the last half marathon, I really got into that groove early on and it helped a lot in the latter stages of the race. After 3, I will gradually increase the pace (ideally) through the end of mile 9. Starting at mile 10, I'll spend whatever I have left. I would like to be at ~40:30 (6:41 average) through the 10M mark and at about 1:06:30  (6:39 average) through 10 miles.

So now it's just a matter of tapering and waiting. Today is a rest day, I'll probably do easy runs on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. I'm really excited to see how all of my DailyMile friends do in their respective marathons coming up, particularly the Chicago Marathon this weekend. I know a few others who are running either the Naperville Marathon or the NYC Marathon in November. I've gotten hit hard lately with the marathon itch again so hopefully next year I'll be running in the Chicago Marathon again. Good luck to all you racers out there - do your best and leave it all out there!


  1. Getting so excited for Saturday. You'll smash your old PR, I know it!

  2. #smashed (I've always wanted to do a hashtag thing :-)