I've been running more races than usual lately. I've determined that the reason is all psychological. You see after the Chicago debacle due to "stupid injury", I wanted to prove to myself that the whole summer training was not wasted. I am also dreading the upcoming winter training months in the cold and dark. My daily runs have been all sub 8:30 paces. Most have been closer to 8:00 than 8:30. Is that fitness or am I just running faster to stay warm?
Last weekend I ran the Lincolnwood Turkey Trot 10K. It's the perfect size race for the Chicago area. Enough room to run without dodging the slower runners and it brings the usual speedsters of a Chicago Area Runners Association recommended race. In other words, a good way to measure yourself against better runners...besides height. The previous week I had run 45 miles and included a chilly 15 miler. The only problem is that life interrupts sometimes.
The day before the race me and my wife had to move all of our stuff to a new storage space. It's cheaper, cleaner and closer to the house. With the holidays and our schedules it was the only day that made sense to do it. So we needed to move table and chairs, Christmas boxes, bikes, toys, extra clothing, fishing gear, Halloween decorations, books....well you get the picture. The junk all of us keep but can't exactly leave in the house.
I woke up early and my legs felt a little dead. I got to the race and ran my warmup. No soreness or pain just a little dead. I told myself if I could run near my PR pace I'd be happy. I love 10Ks. You need to run fast but it's a controlled speed. As soon as you get short of breath it's time to back off. I ran it smart. The wind was a little stiff when running south. So I'd pick a runner to draft off and when we looped back north I'd pass the runner and catch a few more. It's not cheating, it's racing. It worked. Nice even pacing at 7:22, 7:25, 7:20, 7:18, 7:15, 7:09, 1:27 (7:15). Final time was 45:16. 38 seconds off my PR. Just imagine what I might have done on well rested legs. The moral of the story, come into your race fresh.
Which brings me to tomorrows race. The Schaumburg Half Marathon. I am not moving furniture today! Nothing scheduled today that should interfere with the race. The first step to success. It will be my third half this year and hopefully my best. The weather conditions will not be ideal but I know every inch of the race race course since that is where I do most of my summer long runs. My first half was on low mileage after my plantar fasciitis. The second, I went out too fast trying to get in a faster corral for Chicago. Tomorrow, I'll shoot for sub 1:41. My PR of 1:38:54 came at the height of marathon training. We'll see what happens.