Sunday, August 10, 2008

Solid Running Weekend

For those of you in the Chicago area, you know this weekend's weather was great. For those of you not in Chicago, this weekend's weather was about as good as it gets in early August. We had high temps in the upper 70's and lower 80's. It's not quite perfect running weather, but it beats the heck out of the 90's.
Friday's run was scheduled to be a 9 miler with the middle 7 at a 7:17 pace. I struggled through my first mile, which basically is the warm-up mile. Sometimes that first mile is really hit and miss. It can feel good and your run could turn out to be bad or mediocre. Or it can feel bad and your run could turn out to be good. I guess it's kind of like the stories you hear about starting pitchers warming up in the bullpen before the game starts. Once I hit mile number 2, I picked up the pace. My right knee was a little achy, but I decided to give these tough 7 miles whatever I could muster. If I only made it 5 or 6 miles at the hard pace, it'd be better than nothing. I started to feel pretty good by mile 3. I made it through miles 4, 5 and 6 feeling strong, while still running a few seconds under my pace. At that point, I only had two hard miles left and picked up the pace even more because I was feeling really good. I ended up completing the 7 mile stretch @ a 7:01 pace. It was probably my best run of training yet.
Sunday's run was scheduled to be a 17 miler. Because I had the pleasure of having my first guest runner accompany me for about 10.5 miles in the middle of the run, I upped it to a round 18 miles. My friend and fellow marathoner Rich Cancellare met me on the lakepath at Wilson Ave. this morning. Rich has run several marathons including Chicago (a few times), Houston, Tulsa and the Paris (yes, Paris, France). He is not running the Chicago marathon this fall, but will be running another one in Texas in several months. Rich and I run at a pretty similar pace, so it makes for a good run whenever we can get out togther, which is not very often. We started out with a goal of an 8:20 for our 10 miles together. We ran the first two miles too hard. According to Rich's Garmin, we were somewhere around an 8:00 pace. I think we slightly backed it down and hit our turnaround point. We actually ended up running about 5.25 miles before we turned around. As we turned around at Chicago Ave on the lakepath, we both felt the force of a 20+ mph wind blowing directly at us. As it turned out, we had a strong tailwind the first half that we really didn't notice. I read a while back that running into the wind can add 8-11% to your time, while running with it only increases your speed by 2-4%. I don't know how accurate that really is, nor do I remember where I read it, but I think it's pretty believable. Anyway, we completed the second half slower than the first and came in around an 8:18. I ran the first 3.75 miles at an 8:00 pace, so I was looking pretty good heading into the homestretch. I backed it down a little in preparations for my strong three mile finish I had planned. I was trying to run the last three miles under 24 minutes. I hit the 16 mile mark in 7:45, then the 17 mile mark at 16:00. So I was right on pace for a 24 minute last three miles. I put everything I had into the last mile and brought it home at 23:04, good for a 7:41 pace over the last three miles and a 7:04 the last mile. I know the numbers are starting to get a little much at this point, so I'll wrap it up. Total pace for the 18 miles was an 8:10. I am very happy with that and feel good about being able to finish strong.
The Week Ahead:
Tuesday 9 mi @ 8:25
Wednesday 9 mi @ 8:25
Friday: Yasso 800's with a 3:20 goal
Sunday: 20 mile run, number 2; goal pace of 8:20

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