|All Time Dist.|
|1/2 Mara.||11/28/15||Schaumburg Half Marathon||6:28 /Mi||1||1:24:33||2nd Fastest|
|10k||11/22/15||Lincolnwood Turkey Trot||6:17 /Mi||3||39:06||2nd Fastest|
|15k||11/8/15||Hot Chocolate 15K||6:24 /Mi||3||59:45||PR|
|Marathon||10/11/15||Chicago Marathon||7:10 /Mi||111||3:08:06||2nd Fastest|
|4 Mile||7/4/15||Elmhurst 4 On The Fourth||5:59 /Mi||5||23:57||PR|
|1 Mile||6/12/15||Grim Mile||5:13 /Mi||1||5:13||PR|
|5k||6/7/15||Roselle Run for the Roses||5:54 /Mi||5||18:20||4th Fastest|
|1/2 Mara.||5/2/15||500 Festival Mini-Marathon||6:33 /Mi||8||1:25:52||3rd Fastest|
|5k||4/26/15||Ravenswood Run||5:50 /Mi||3||18:10||PR|
|8k||3/29/15||Shamrock Shuffle||6:16 /Mi||14||31:18||2nd Fastest|
|1/2 Mara.||1/24/15||F^3 Lake Half Marathon||7:01 /Mi||7||1:32:08||14th Fastest|
|5 Mile||1/10/15||S-No-W Fun Run||6:49 /Mi||3||34:06||2nd Fastest|
The secret(s) to my success
I had been plateauing with my race times over the last few years. I figured that since running is an athletic endeavor, I needed to think and act more like an athlete to get better at it. So I started strength training about two years ago, and with that I got curious with why chin-ups were so difficult for me. I realized that not only did I lack upper body strength to do lots of chin-ups, but I was also pulling up too much weight (i.e. I was too heavy). I knew that weight correlated to race times according to most articles on the topics I've read. So in order to get more do more chin-ups as well as get fitter for running, I picked up a copy of Racing Weight. Using the simple tips in that book, I shed around ten pounds which I was carrying around for no particular reason - but was definitely slowing me down. I've also been running injury-free for about 18 months in a row. I only do a couple of moderately hard workouts per week, preferring to save the base mileage streak rather than risking injury. Having a base mileage that extends back several months is a nice thing to be able to draw on when things get tough during a run. The funny thing is that I am confident if I can maintain my base mileage and perhaps shed three to five more pounds - I will be even faster next year.
So there you have it, I can run faster because I got fitter. I got fitter by eating better and keeping a nice training base. As Kim said in this post, "When I weigh less, I run faster." I could probably make a list of five other things that have also helped with my running, but these two items top the list.
Without further ado, here are my top five running highlights of 2015:
5) Shamrock Shuffle 8k: Way back in March I had very little idea of how my winter training would translate into race speed for the Shamrock Shuffle. Therefore, I decided to start the race fairly conservatively and then see what I had near the end. After running three decent miles, I was able to turn on the afterburners, and to my surprise, my last two miles were at 5k PR pace. I calculated later that I had passed a total of 106 runners over the last 11 minutes and was passed by none. Although I did not PR the race, those last 11 minutes got me stoked that 2015 was perhaps going to be a special year.
|Shufflin' near the finish|
4) Elmhurst 4 on the 4th: Since I had a few races under my belt before this 4th of July race, I was able to plug that information into some race conversion tables and determine that I should be able to run a sub-24 minute four miler. It was daunting to think of running four sub-6:00 miles in a row - especially since I'd never done that in my life. However, I trusted my fitness and came in just under 24 minutes thanks to a wicked fast last quarter mile straight uphill. Instant PR!
3) Hot Chocolate 15k: After three years in a row of 1:02:xx finishes at the HC 15k, I really wanted to see if a change in strategy (i.e. even-pacing) could help me achieve a sub 60 minute finish. Yup it did, and I went kinda nuts with the fist pump when I realized I had my 59:xx.
|About to go sub-60!!|
2) Schaumburg Half Marathon: The second best race I've had in the last four years. It was a picture perfect day running through sublimely quiet woods. I not only won my age group (out of 86), but I also finished ahead of the second place runner by 2.5 minutes. This race was the icing on the cake of a fun year.
1) Ravenswood Run 5k The best race I've had in at least four years. Just when I thought that perhaps my fastest days were behind me, I beat my five year old PR. As I kicked up Wilson Avenue, it was a fantastic feeling to see that the time on the finish line clock was well within my PR. It was a CARA race and I got to stand on the Fleet Feet podium for the first time. After this race I realized that perhaps my fastest days were still ahead of me.
|The serenity of Busse Woods|