I am finding I am really enjoying these shorter races, but I do need some advice.  I have a half-marathon on May 3rd, and I want to do well in it – a time of 2:13 or less (that’d be at least 5 minutes faster than I did one last fall), and it has some hills so I’ve got my work cut out for me.

I am thinking of running 4 days per week, and cross-training on the 5th.  My coach had put together a schedule for me based on my running 20+ miles per week, with runs on 3 days, and most of my weekend runs end up being very long to make up the mileage.  With the long runs of 10+, it can make racing a shorter race the next day pretty hard.

When do you all suggest I start to ramp up the long runs past 8 or 8.5 miles? Should I only be doing about 7 right now, and concentrate more on speed?

I’d like to run a 3 mile race next Sunday, with Lis, and then a 4 miler the following Sunday, with a 5 miler on March 8th.  It’s just not the same to run a race without her – I went today without Bill, who is working, and even though there were other folks there from MVS, it’s just not the same. Seeing Lis gets me pumped, and we just get along really well.

So, any advice would be appreciated on how I can continue to keep my base, and also be able to do these shorter races, while still keeping in mind my half in May.

Now, onto the race report!

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6K.  That’s a very odd distance.  It equals something like 3.7 miles. Not a 5K, not 4 miles. Just somewhere in the middle. It’s hard to know when to “settle in” and when to “start pushing it.”

The pros about this race:

  • cheap entry fee = $18 if you signed up before 1/30, $20 after that, and $25 on race day. I paid $20!
  • lots of free stuff for that low fee: russell stover chocolates;  flowers from very cute little girls who were handing them out; long sleeved tshirt that was not ugly; bottled water beforehand; lots of food afterward (soup, cider, orange slices, bread, bananas); AND  free entry into multiple raffles!
  • timing chip (the old-school ankle kind)
  • the ability to run with your honey (if they’re a runner, of course), or to be part of a team with them (one member of the two-person team runs the 5 Miler, the other the 6K).
  • nice markings and ample directions as to where to go on the course (pink arrows for 6Kers, yellow arrows for the 5 Milers)
  • SUPER DOWNHILL FINISH!

The cons about this race (I think they were outweighed by everything else):

  • no timing mat at the start line (but there was one at the first mile marker?)
  • mile markers for only the 5 mile race – if you weren’t wearing a Garmin like me, you’d have had no clue where you were, distance-wise, really, other than at mile 1 (and their mile 4, or our 2.7?)

My stats:

  • Garmin watch time and distance = 32:35, average mile pace = 8:59 for 3.63 miles (either started it too late, or was amazing at running the tangents)
  • Official time (remember there was no mat at the beginning): 33:04 for 3.7 miles, average pace of 8:57.
  • Place in division: 8/38 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Place overall for 6K: 87/263 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Luckily I have run some of this course in the past on one of our Saturday morning runs. I knew there was a hill at the beginning, and a few more along the way, so of course I was a little freaked to see I was doing something like 8:06 pace at one point.  Oh, and I remember thinking for a while at the beginning, that maybe I’d had a bit too much water before the race – ugh!!!

I definitely felt overdressed because it was so sunny out, although the air was pretty cold (temperature this morning was in the 20s), and there was a bit of wind at places (were supposed to be 20 mph+ winds).  I made a mental note to myself to wear only two layers on top from now on on race day – I’ll count on the adrenaline to keep me warm, I think!  I was so glad I only wore tights on the bottom. That was plenty.  As with the last race, I started with gloves but took them off after the first mile. I had a shirt with holes for my thumbs and that was enough.

There was one water stop along my course – I’m sure there was another for the 5 Milers. I did walk briefly through it so I could get the water in me, rather than just on me! Next week for the 3 mile race on Sunday, I think I’ll forego anything until the end and just run my heart out.

The course was very pretty, not very busy with cars, and drivers were polite. At the end, there were cones, and of course couples running together forced you to run in the street to get past them, but again, drivers were cool and gave you space.

Today I feel like I should have run harder – at times I let the negative mental thoughts get to me, during mile 2 and 3, and I also had a problem getting my sports beans in my mouth and not all over the road (WTH?):

  • lap 1: 8:34
  • lap 2: 9:29
  • lap 3: 9:33
  • lap 4 (for .7 miles): 7:59 pace

I just need to push them out from now on during races, kind of like how I handle the negative thoughts during speedwork – I just refuse to let them into my brain.  After a while, I’m hoping it can be more of an automatic thing, like with learned optimism.

Apologies for the long post, but thanks for reading it. I hope you’ll all have a great Valentine’s Day – my gift to you is the beautiful picture below.  🙂

Photo by Automania, on flickr.com (isn't the heart amazing?)

Photo by Automania, on flickr.com (isn't the heart amazing?)

 

p.s. Thank you Lindsay for sending those sub-9 minute vibes my way – I just scraped them in as an average!

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