Well, I missed my weekly goal by 8 miles (45 instead of 53), but I took 3 rest days. They were the first rest days since Jan 3. In between then and now I had, 83 consecutive days of running, swimming or cross country skiing. Anyway, the mini-taper hit me hard today. After my morning 3.3 miles and 1 hour yoga session, I had to take a 2 hour nap. Then it was onto the couch to watch "ION TV's" back to back airings of "Notting Hill" with Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant. One observation: Where are the cell phones in that movie? Surely it wasn't made so long ago that they did not have cell phones. A couple minor plot points could have been resolved if they had cell phones. Anyway, I think there was an apprehension in Hollywood in the first 10 years of cell phone use to include them in films. Now they are everywhere in the movies. But I digress... Anyway, I was slogging through that film, trying to get the will/energy to go run, and it was very hard to get off the couch. Normally, I am raring to put in a few extra miles, but today was different. Well, after too much sappy "Notting Hill" I eventually got out the front door and it was a hard 10.7 to North Ave. beach and back. Snapped a photo though:
Hope I am able to get some energy back to finish this thing off in a respectable fashion.
14 Miles for the day. 45 Miles for the week. The taper continues...
After either running, swimming, or cross country skiing for the last 83 days in a row, I am taking a rest day. As soon as I decided to take the day off from any exercise, my legs felt as good as they have in a year. I am excited to do my taper and get on the business with the Boston Marathon.
Speaking of Boston, I got my race info in the mail yesterday, complete with bib number (but not the bib itself). Start waves are assigned via bib numbers. Spoiler Alert: I will be in Wave 1 of 3. I'm feeling so good that I wish the race was tomorrow!
Well, the power went out last night for some reason, and this woke up my dog and the neighbor's dog who was staying the night. Anyway, this made the dogs get anxiety and shake for an hour. After an hour of consoling them in the middle of the night, the thought of waking up at 5am and running 16 miles THEN going downtown to watch the Shamrock Shuffle was a little much. So, I decided I would wake up at 7:30, walk the dogs, then take a train to the Shamrock, watch the race, then run 16 miles home. I got to the train at about 8am and stood on the Western Brown line platform. Then waited for the train. Then waited and waited until at last I could see an inbound train in the distance at around 8:15. As the train was approaching the platform I realized I'd never make the race in time.
So, I left the platform, ran home, dropped off my camera and left for the round trip run to Navy Pier to do my Marathon Race Predictor Run.
Marathon Predictor Run:
According to Mcmillan Running there are "3 Best Marathon Predictor Workouts:"
The first one is the "Fast Finish Long Run." The fast finish long run is when you run the first 8 miles of your 16 mile long run at steady running pace, then over the last 8 miles of your run, you run faster and faster. The "average" over the last 8 miles is the pace you can likely sustain for the marathon.
Here are my mile splits from my 16 miler to Navy Pier and back. The final 8 will be used to predict my Boston Marathon pace:
First set of 8 (warmup): 8:05,7:44,7:43,7:22,7:21,7:27, 7:22, 7:28 = 7:34.
2nd set of 8 (marathon predictors): 7:30,6:58,7:01,7:10,6:57,7:01,6:59,6:49 = 7:03.
Hey, I know what time a 7:03/mile marathon will be. It is the same time I ran the LA Marathon last year. 3 hours and 5 minutes. What a coincidence! I am pretty much in the same shape as I was last year at this time!
So, if all goes well, I should be able to run around a.... 3:05 Marathon!
Got to the pool for a 30 minute swim. Then realized I had forgotten my gym bag. Had to drive home get my bag and drive back. So, only had 10 minutes to swim. Oh well, it was an intense 10 minutes! Short run tomorrow + yoga. Sunday last long run before Boston.
70 degrees inland, however, it must have been 50 degrees by the lake. There was literally "a wall of cold air" extending about 200 yards westward from the lake. The temperature difference was radically different between the west and east sides of LSD. Anyway, ran 10 Miles @ 7:17 per Mile: Splits: 8:19, 7:31, 7:08, 7:09, 7:33, 6:44, 6:48, 7:11, 7:45, 6:42. Final 5k: 22:25. With these good splits, it looks like I can now put my race results from Sunday in a shoebox and bury them in the backyard.
Well, my 2012 March Madness Half Marathon adventure did not go as I would have liked. First off, my perspective of the race. Here is a list of things working against me:
1) Temps were in the 70s in March, okay, that's not 90s but since this is really my first long run in the scorching heat in over 6 months, I really wasn't prepared. It felt like 90 to me. Hottest half marathon I have ever run in!
2) The fact that I crammed 57 miles in Sunday thru Thursday, left me drained of energy
3) The course is a hilly beast, relative to my flat training
4) Race was way out in the boondocks so I had to get up way too early, to make sure I could get a spot in the parking lot
I did a warm-up mile, which may have been a mistake, because the temps were starting to soar and I got hot during my warm-up. I tried cooling down before the start, but the sweat had really started. The start of the race was okay, and actually the sun was not completely overhead so there was shade and a breeze, but I was hot nevertheless. I was averaging about 6:45/mile until about mile five, quite suddenly, with the sun starting to beat down on me, I realized that my lungs and legs were not in the mood to run a half marathon fast today, and that I had better slow down. I gazed up at the first really steep hill and decided then and there to walk it. In fact, at that point I made a deal with myself to walk up every hill. I think that decision early on, saved this race from being a 2+ hour disaster. Most of the time, when I crested a hill, it started downhill again, and I was able to run relatively fast for another .75 miles until the next uphill climb when I would walk again.
(Pic post race)
At about mile 10, they announced that it was the last water station AFTER we passed it. Luckily, I had a cup of Gatorade and a cup of water, which I handed off to a guy I happened to be running with at the time. This guy had run passed the aid station without grabbing water thinking there would be another aid station before the finish line. He was very grateful to me, even though he had to drink my used water and Gatorade! About one mile from the finsh, a random female runner, noticing that I was struggling in the heat, encouraged me to keep going. I replied to her that I was definitely not looking forward to summer. She told me that even though I wasn't going to p.r., I was still doing something that 99% of the world was unable to do, so to look on the bright side. With that, I sucked it up and made a dash for the finish. I stumbled across the line and a gentleman from the race grabbed my arm to hold me up and walked me to an area where I could lay down. I told him I would be fine and he left. Luckily, I was laying by a cooler of ice, so I made an ice pack and put it on my forehead. I was fried. I noticed other runners down, strewn around the parking area. A lot of mumbling about the heat from those able to stand as well.
Unfotunately, I was parked in an area that was closed until 11am. So I had to wait in my car for 1/2 hour until enough runners cleared, so I could leave.
I don't know how I will calculate my Boston pace now, maybe I will do some Yasso 800s or something. At least I know that if Boston is hot, I will have to pace myself!
As for a review of the race itself, it is fabulous if you like hills. I guess it is good prep for Boston and its hills. The water stations were well-manned and stocked, however they should not have told us that the last one was at mile 10. There was actually another one at around mile 12 (unless that one was an unofficial aid station). They even had a gel station at about mile 9, which is nice for such a "mom and pop" run. The personnel at the finish were very caring and made sure I was okay. No chip timing, but I would say my official finish time was only 2 seconds different than my watch time. The parking was okay, but it stunk that I had to wait 1/2 hour to get out of the lot, even though there were spots in the main lot when I got there. Plenty o' porta potties and there were several bathrooms in the school as well. However, the lines in the school were longer than the outdoor porta potty lines. One guy couldn't believe how long the lines were inside and kept asking "is this the urinal line? Is this the urinal line?" So all in all, I may be back next year, and may do well (if the heat holds off)!
See video below (shot post-race near the finish line):
2.75 mile shakeout run around Welles Park. Yoga right after that. 2 out of 3 sixty mile weeks are in the bag. After next week it all gets easier until the Boston Marathon. Tomorrow is my "time trial" of sorts for Boston. I will derive my full marathon pace from my pace at the March Madness Half Marathon. My strategy is to log 2 or 3 7:00+ minute miles, then "let the beast out of the bag" at mile 6.55. Goal is to run sub 1:30, preferably faster, but the weather looks a little too hot for a fast race.
So I needed to log 5 miles today. Where to run? How about the North Park University track, I thought. The track was crowded with one person running clockwise and the rest of us runners running counter clockwise. Also a mother and daughter walking team were taking up the two inside lanes. It's always an obstacle course at the track. :-) Anyway, I ran one mile at 6:13/mile pace and a 1/2 mile at 5:57/mile pace. Not blazing by any means, but I have logged 52 miles in the 4 days prior to today, so I was simply happy to get two semi-quick runs in and stay injury-free. Plans for the rest of the week: Swim tomorrow, short shakeout run Saturday then the March Madness Half Marathon on Sunday.
Ran in the dark with my reflector vest to the lake. On the lakefront trail, I almost saw an accident involving a runner and a bike. Of course the bike had no headlight and was riding in the dark. I ran a few extra miles than intended, perhaps to make up for the aborted-due-to-heat run last evening.
Evening Run: Set out to run 4.5 miles around Welles Park. Temps were around 65 degrees. I was dressed for 45 degrees. At about 2 miles, I started seeing stars. At 2.5 miles I had to stop and pour water over my head. Had a huge sugar craving I made a bee line to Aldi, where I bought some Haribo Gummi Colas (Aldi is a German chain) and ate them and chugged water. Note to self: This is not March of yesteryear. This is the "New March" where the temps are like the temps in late May! 2.8 miles total.
Ran to Navy Pier and back for my 2nd of three 16 milers before Boston. As I was running on Navy Pier, one of the guys in the blue jackets and khaki shorts who shills for the Architectural boat ride, yelled out to me, "Forget the run, how about a boat ride." I laughed and he smiled back. Here he is:
The Chicago Fire Department's scuba team was doing a mock rescue near North Avenue beach. Good to know they are there in case I trip and fall in...
I also got a few more pics along the trail:
Morning Run:16 miles total. Final 5k: 24:43.
Evening recovery run: 3.25 Miles. 19.25 total for the day.
I have reached my maximum weekly training mileage! Only two more weeks before the gradual taper begins before the Boston Marathon. Still injury free, although I had a slight scare earlier in the week with my shin. But intermittent ice, aspirin and swimming over a 48 hour period seems to have healed it. Now I seem to be a-okay. Reminder to self: Must remain vigilant against injuries! Ran 3.75 mile recovery run this morning around Welles Park.
Windy, windy. Great training weather. Unfortunately, it looks like it is going to get pretty warm here next week. So, I won't be able to train in heavy winter running clothes next week. Oh well, hopefully the mornings will be cool! Recovery run tomorrow to end the week, and then my second long run of 16 miles on Sunday.
Met a female runner from Sweden on my run today. We met because we were both taking pictures of the lake and skyline on our runs. I was taking a picture of this solitary runner looking down from Diversey Harbor Bridge when we met:
She asked me to take a picture of her. I failed miserably to figure out how to use her iPhone to take a picture (I guess I am not an Apple person). After three attempts she told me that it was okay, and she didn't need a picture after all. Here is the one she snapped of me with my camera on the first attempt.
Anyway, we started running again, and parted ways a few miles later.
11 Miles Total. Final 5k: 23:33
Evening 4.25 Miles. 15.25 Miles total for the day.
Ran by North Avenue Beach today and spotted a massive crowd. From afar, I noticed a few people in the lake, so I assumed it was the annual Polar Plunge. I was correct. It was about 33 degrees outside. About 20 degrees with the strong wind. I got a few pictures:
Ate lots o' Mexican last night from El Gallo Bravo #5 on Clark St. In fact, I ate six hard shell tacos, rice, beans and dessert. The thought of just doing an easy swim this morning, didn't seem like it could burn off that many calories. With that amount of exercise, I would likely feel kinda dumpy and remorseful all day. So, instead of swimming, I did a 10 mile tempo run. My goal was to average 7:26/mile, I actually ran 7:14/mile. Feel much better now. Swim tomorrow, and hopefully, I will eat a slightly lighter dinner tonight!