Fall Training Week of September 22

Week 3 - September 22-28, 24.6 miles

In sum: in a down week, ran a sub six minute mile, then ran a 5k quickly. 

Monday Afternoon - 3.1 easy, 8:17 pace
Post-nap malaise was an odd feeling, pretty afternoon run on a weekday was odder. Looped right where I normally go left and went down streets I've never seen before.

Tuesday AM - 30 Minute Tempo, 3.81 miles, 7:54 pace
Warmed up a bit, then went until I reached my abode. Bit more starting and stopping than normal for before 6a, but something requiring multiple emergency vehicles at that hour more that receives road priority as far as I'm concerned. 8:18, 8:02, 7:29, 6:15 (.81)

Wednesday AM - 3.15 easy, 8:46 pace
I pretty much have nothing of note. A day later and I don't recall anything worth babbling on, so that's as good a sign as any.

Thursday PM - 2.7 warm up, 5:58 mile time trial, cool down
Tossed around a few ideas for what I wanted to do in lieu of non-existent hill work: 1200s, a ladder, maybe 800s. But I took my interests from last week and decided to see what I could do for a solo four successive laps around the track.

To try and remove my headspace from the suckfest that is my 9-5, I usually walk and wander about the loop during my lunch break. This afternoon I was more flustered than normal, kept walking until I ran out of road where Randolph looks over Lake Shore Drive. Only notable as I didn't change out of my rather tight and completely unsupportive flats, so my feet were not as happy as they could be for around three miles on the pavement.

Warmed up, feeling "meh-ish." Tight feet, sore hip, and mentally frazzled...I was just happy I went out instead of opting to fall asleep on the couch with the sun up. That is always an option, sadly.

Shifted my watch to auto lap every .25 miles, but once I rounded that first curve after taking off, decided to not pay attention to time and just let the watch do the math for me to look at later. It's strange adjusting ones vision when running with a bit more purpose in the darkness, and between people walking and tables and benches from collegiate practices strewn about in the innermost lane at a few spots, I based things on internal feel and focused on not tripping myself up.

Few runs in with the Newtons have been great (even if its only due to the fact that its a much lighter shoe than I am used to) and I do feel like I have been running more upright and taller, which can lead to newborn baby foal moments of no coordination whatsoever.

Kept myself mentally focused with whatever pace I was locked in on and decided not to really pick things up for the final 200 or so, just wanted to stay where I was pace-wise and create a benchmark for myself. Certainly had some more in the tank for a final burst, but decided to maintain instead...

400      800                  1200                mile                   1600
1:27.6/2:57.2 (1:29.6)/4:26.8(1:29.6)/5:58.29(1:31.5)/6:12(14.1)

...and I kinda wish I had dug a bit deeper for a quartet of sub 90 second .25 splits with my normal closing kick, but that is a oddly particular specific after the fact-ism to be chapped over.

No complaints, pretty much where I felt like I should be, based on inner stubbornness. McMillan agrees with me, thus am totally validated or something.

It's funny where confidence comes from. Not even a mile in on my warm up and not feeling all that grand, I was already stockpiling excuses if things didn't go well: afternoon crummy coffee consumption, my lunchtime power walk and the state of my feet, the scent of air freshener from the car that drove by. But I thought to myself well, what is the point if I'm already defeating my efforts prior to actually doing 'em, exactly. And now that first week of 400s seems like a really piss poor effort and the notion of sub 7 minute average during a 5k seems doable.

So, will it be?

Friday - Off. 
Night before race dinner = slightly greasy standard-issue chicken sandwich, waffle fries and a beer. Nothing sounded better.

Saturday AM - Park Ridge Charity Classic 5k - 20:28.37 
In the aftermath, there are sesame seeds all over the place. Didn't realize it at 5:30 in the morning, but my bagel scattered 'em in the kitchen, in the bedroom. Found one in the bathroom sink, though I can't recall mindlessly chewing a sub-optimal circular bread product in there. Bagel and slightly watered-down coffee and I'm out the door a touch after 6ish.

Drove to Park Ridge with a few Oak Park Runners Club members with ease, passing unknown parts of Chicago that felt familiar all the same. Pick up a shirt (a cotton shirt! huzzah!) + bib with plenty of time to spare on a clear and calm morning, getting a chance to chat with some folks I haven't seen in awhile. Warmed up a bit, debating between utilizing my training buddy option on my watch or not. Turned it off, lined up and off we went.

Slight decline as the course dipped beneath an underpass in the first half mile combined well with my tendency to go out a bit quicker, seeing 6:1X on my watch after the first buzz on my wrist. Didn't panic, had no reason to.

Hmm, alright then. Now that such is out of my system, let's calm down a bit and find a solid rhythm until the turn around. Mental boost from my time trial made a pre-race goal of 6:40s not sound or feel nearly as daunting, and I just wanted to attack a race with confidence for ONCE, seeing as I felt like I had the legs and the head (for once, the Greek chorus should repeat) to do it.

Guy called out splits a mile one was audible from a ways away, but I didn't want to get caught up in anything that would come as a shock and be excuse fodder for later on.

Kept moving well and stayed dialed in as the turn around was in sight. Looped down and around with a slight group of people...but was in no-man's land the remainder of the trek towards the finish. My momentum around the curve of cones was that much greater than that of my race compatriots? Strange, especially as I was slowing down a bit yet never got passed from that point on.

Caught up to a gent who was slowing down considerably and I momentarily lost focus, slowing down  and keying off his pace along side him. He completely stopped to walk after a minute or so. I shook of the thoughtless pace and pressed on towards the finish. Tried a last gasp sprint to catch a guy at the chute, but ran out of real estate.

Stopped my watch, 3.13 miles. 20:31 for a 6:33 average. That's more like it. 6:29/6:34/6:44/:42. One of my more even-keeled efforts, and I'm starting to wonder what my lifetime PR is, the one from a Mesozoic era of lithe and unbroken body parts. I'm old now, haven't kept that number in the frontal lobe for awhile. Still thinking about it, waiting in line for my race print out. I may be close.

With result in hand, I pull up my race result collection via Ath Links. I know exactly what I'm scrolling towards, the 2001 ALS 5K Cross Country For a Cure. I remember that race kinda, went with my HS teammates and ran a good amount with one of the nicer coaches who was only around during my junior track season. Because the world is small, he was a founding member of the OP runners club. Clung to his pace until the final stretch, kicking for a third overall, third in the age group. Finished in 20:28.

Couldn't go .5 faster, eh

I know that I in theory may have set a PR. But the existence of that .4 (.37 per the online results for even more hair-splitting insanity) seconds have me hungry more so than sated. 

As I'm walking back towards the car, I'm already contemplating adding a late November 5k to my slate. What an asshole. 

Sunday AM - 5 easy, 8:04 pace
Felt light, but excessively sweaty. Had to re-tie my left shoe about three times. Might swap in some different laces.

Next week: Week four has some 400s (at 5k pace! I know what that means now!) and a 3/1 90 minute long run, which will be done at the Run for the Hills half at Moraine State Park, which is about three counties away. Pretty course with some inclines on limestone and paved trails, happy to go back after doing such last year. I'll do the first nine at an easy longer pace and push the final four.