01 02 03 Just Run Jim: Late Summer Fitness Check 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

Late Summer Fitness Check

It's been a while since I've raced.  Two month of marathon prep without a benchmark.   When the summer started and I signed up for the Milwaukee Lakefront marathon I decided I needed to do something different.  That different was more miles.

I have always enjoyed Pfitzingers plans.   I've done his 18 week 55 mile plan several times and I've gotten to within 25 seconds of qualifying for Boston.   Twice I attempted to bump the miles from this plan and got injured twice.   But doing the same thing and getting the same results was getting old.   This summer I've progressed to the 18 week 70 mile plan.   I upped the miles slowly and have stayed healthy.  Tired but healthy.  I've averaged 64 miles over the last seven weeks.  The 14 mile mid-week runs at 5AM are no longer daunting. I can tell my fitness has gotten better but I had no proof.   I needed to race.  A scheduled half marathon two weeks ago was a DNS due to family stuff.  I was running out of time so I signed up for the Run for Home 10k.   It was a CARA emerging race.

The race site race map did not show elevation.  I was hoping for a flat course.   Turns out one of the race prizes was for King of the Hill.   Ummm, so much for flat.   The course combined 5k and 10k races and the 10k was two laps.   Rolling hills was the best description.  It was run on the streets of Wheaton right where the Illinois Prairie Path splits into two different directions.  I warmed up by running for about a mile and half.   Fifteen minutes pre-race I drank a Gatorade Prime Fruit Punch.  I'm not sure I get anything out of it other than it eliminates a dry mouth for the first portion of the race.   Other sports drinks don't seem to accomplish this for me.

The race start had one sign up which read Sub 8 minute mile.   No one was lined up there.   My PR is sub 7 but I hung back short of the sign in the second row with everyone else.   Just before the race started everyone moved up.  We were off. 

I started off a bit fast. Actually below my 5k PR pace.  I was feeling good and decided to let it fly for the first mile. A mistake but I wanted to see where my fitness was.

Mile 1- 6:32  It included the King of the Hill.  First male and female to get to the top and finish the race win the title but I was out way too fast.
I hit the top of the hill chasing only the candy stripe dude.

Mile 2- 6:52 
Mile 3- 6:59  Here the 10k and 5k split but soon we would be catching the 5k walkers.
Mile 4 - 7:00 The heat/humidity began to get to me.  We attack the hill a second time.
Mile 5 - 7:02 Here I began to run into the back of the pack of the walkers.  This is my only complaint with the race.   Walkers took up 3/4 of the street and I was forced to run wide and off of the tangents.   Several times I had to weave between walkers.   There was a race official on a bike ahead of me trying to tell people to get over but there was only so much he could do.  I really appreciate the help he did give. Thanks.  But if this race wants to bell full fledged CARA it needs to do something else with the walkers or 10k.
Mile 6- 7:09  As I hit the mile marker there is one more hill to conquer.
Last .2 - 1:32 (6:57 pace)

My final time was 43:07.  I snagged first place in my age group. My third win of the year.  I was eighth overall.   I really think this was my best 10k ever.   The hills and warmer temps were not present in my PR race in November of 2011.  More importantly, I now have a handle on my fitness.  Running friends and calculators all point to a possible 3:25 for the marathon.  

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