Sunday, April 27, 2014

2014 Ravenswood Run 5k Race Recap

The Ravenswood Run 5k took place this morning in my breathtakingly quaint neighborhood on the north side of Chicago. Mayor Rahm Emanuel was also on hand to cheer people on as the course winds its way near his house as well. Anyway, when I last posted, I had made a highly technical prediction that I would finish around 19 minutes. I had planned to break the race down into the following splits:

 6:20, 6:10, 6:00, 5:50

However, as the start time got closer and closer, the weather forecast - especially the wind (>25 mph gusts), was casting some doubts that I would be able to run that fast.

I woke up at 6 am for a two and a half mile shakeout run. I actually ran from my house to Lawrence and ran the last mile or so of the Ravenswood Run course. As I ran east on Lawrence - straight into the headwind coming unabated straight off of the lake - I knew that my hopes of a super fast kick were not realistic. I would just have to settle for a fast kick.

When I returned home, I had a cup of coffee, a bagel with peanut butter and a banana. My dad was ready to go, so at about 7:40 we ran over to the starting area. As I neared the starting line, I told myself that a decent plan B would be 6:30, 6:20, 6:10, 6:00 considering the conditions.

I had just enough time to do a couple of pickups as the announcer was calling the runners to the start corral. I positioned myself in the second row. The national anthem happened and then we were off!
Me (in orange) at the 2011 Ravenswood Run
The Race:
Mile 1: I started too far up in the corral and was immediately passed by about 50 runners. On the positive side I was way on the left hand side so I don't think I slowed anyone down. I glanced at my Garmin and saw I was running 6:00/pace, and knew that I had to slow down as the wind would be a factor for the last mile. So I dropped back a bit. Suddenly I saw Lynton and his dog who cheered me on. They were allegedly standing near Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel, but unfortunately, I did not see Mr. Mayor. 6:22/mile.

Mile 2: This mile was nice, because the wind was to our backs pretty much the entire time. I fought the urge to push the pace a little faster as I kept reminding myself that the final mile would be a killer as the big tailwind would turn into a mighty headwind.  6:12/mile.

Mile 3: This is the "showcase" mile of the race, because the course winds through the ultra-quaint Lincoln Square shopping area right in front of the Chicago Brauhaus and Gene's Sausage Shop. It is in this area that I spectated last year (see pictures here). Anyway, the tailwind was about to end as we made our way east onto Lawrence Ave. I muttered "here we go" and got a chuckle or two from nearby runners as no one was looking forward to this windy stretch. All I can say is that it is lucky I saved up a little juice for the final 3/4 mile as it was entirely into the wind. We got a little relief as we headed south onto Damen, but once we hit the homestretch on Wilson it was all headwind. 6:08/mile.

Tera Moody at the 2013 race in front of the
 Chicago Brauhaus
Mile 3.15: I spotted two gentlemen ahead of me, and by the looks of their hair (or lack thereof) I decided that they were likely in my age group. So I snuck up behind them and in the final 200 yards "slammed down the hammer" and whizzed by them. In fact it turned out that they were in my AG!  5:16/mile.

Official Finish Time: 19:29
Official Pace: 6:17/mile
Garmin Pace: 6:11/mile

Place Overall: 74th out of 3,334
Place Age Group: 4th out of 142

I missed my prediction by 19 seconds and missed placing in my age group by four seconds - oh well, it happens. Anyway, it turns out that saving up enough energy for the last windy mile paid off as it was my fastest mile.  However by not cutting the tangents properly - I ran 3.15 miles - thereby adding at least 15 seconds to my time. The old Ravenswood Run course had just 7 turns and this new course has 11. So, next time, I'll have to be more conscious of the turns. Also, props to my dad who finished 3rd in his age group!

I have a half marathon in 6 days, so to determine my half pace, I plugged a 19:29 5k into the McMillan Calculator. This yields just about a 1:30 half marathon time. So if I run a smart race next weekend, I am hoping to get a second or two under that number!

Post Race:
I grabbed some water and headed over to watch for other bloggers/friends to finish, I waved to Erica who was in the finishing chute. I then spotted Eric, who was running the last 100 yards and I yelled for him to kick it! Then I walked back over the course and bumped into Lynton again. We chatted for a minute or so, then I made my way back further. I spotted my dad and ran with him for a couple of minutes. Then I turned around and went further back and found fellow WRCE members Mo, Anne and Jennifer. I ran and chatted with them for a few minutes. I spotted a co-worker of mine a little further up in the pack and went over to say hi to him.

Wurst Runners (WRCE) post-race. (src: Anne).
I found my dad at the finish and we chatted with fellow WRCE members for a few more minutes. Then we left and ran a mile over to Julius Meinl for some post-race Austrian breakfast.

Austrian coffee at Julius Meinl
Next Up:
The Indy Mini Marathon in six days!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

2014 Ravenswood Run 5k Race Time Prediction

I am super excited to be running the Ravenswood Run 5k on Sunday because it's:

  1. Held in my neighborhood,
  2. The home of my 5k PR 
  3. A race I haven't run in three years
  4. Held at a time (now) where I am starting to feel fast 
I'm feeling fast because not only do I have a few 40+ mile weeks under my belt, but at the end of those training runs, I have focused on pushing myself to finish fast. This has left me with speedy legs and the gut feeling like I could go sub-19. I decided that I should not leave my race prediction to gut instinct. So I decided, as I have with marathons past, to come up with a handy dandy race time predictor - this time for 5ks!

Race Predictor Methodology: I simply took my average mileage and average training paces in the weeks leading up to two past 5k events and compared them to my current training weeks:

Analysis: My nine week base mileage is lacking (31 miles vs. 41 miles) so I have to worry about my endurance. Speed-wise, I've been speedier the last 3 weeks (7:48 average) than in 2010 or 2012.

Conclusion: My low base mileage does not point to a PR performance - I won't be able to hold three sub-6 miles in a row. However, my speedier training over the last 3 weeks bodes well for at least a decent last half mile kick. I am estimating a 18:50 to 19:10 performance. I should reach this estimate if I do the following:

  • Hold back in the first mile 
  • Slowly lower the hammer over miles 2 to 2.6
  • Slam the hammer down with a vengeance from 2.6 until I cross the line
In any case, I am excited to see what will really happen.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Pics from my April Snow Run

Since I didn't get much opportunity to run in the snow this winter, Mother Nature presented me with a nice gift this morning - a little April snowfall:

Waves near Belmont Harbor
Waves and Sun
Snow and Skyline
I could not have been happier except if it had snowed on Sunday - then I could have done my long run in the snow! Anyway, it looks like I will get close to running 50 miles this week and then I'll taper a little over the next two weeks for my two races - Ravenswood 5k followed by the Indy Mini Half. I am hoping to start peaking fitness-wise for early June when I run the 13.1 Marathon (and perhaps one other race). Hoping to continue awhile with this injury-free running...

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

My Running Status and the Ravenswood Run 5k

After running the Shamrock Shuffle last Sunday, I was pretty sore for the next few days and then I came down with a cold, so my running was limited last week. This unplanned "rest week" seems to have paid dividends because this week, I feel better and I have been able to run more miles with less effort than before.

On my morning run today
So since I am feeling better and optimistic health-wise, I have registered for the 2014 edition of the Ravenswood Run! The Ravenswood Run is in my neighborhood and is the home of my two fastest 5ks which are two seconds apart from each other (18:15 and 18:17). I am hoping to squeeze in enough miles in the next two weeks to allow me to have a minor "breakthrough" at the race. Based on my Shamrock Shuffle 8k time, the McMillan Calculator predicts I can run about a 19:30 5k. However, I am really going to shoot to break 19 minutes. Why? Because it's more fun to squeak under whole minutes than half minutes!

I have the Indy Mini (half) Marathon six days later, so I am going to be careful not to do too much speed training. My main concerns right now are to stay injury-free and to get my lung endurance peaking via more mileage. If I am successful on both fronts, I can look forward to at least more two half marathons this summer. The Ravenswood Run 5k will just have to be a tune-up this year.