Week 9 is in the books, friends. It wasn't a banner finish to the week, but it is over and I'm feeling okay.
I decided to take Thursday off and not make up the extra four miles I skipped on Wednesday. I figured a day of rest would do me better than four miles and four days of running in a row.
I did run a bit extra on Friday to get the legs loosened up. I went somewhere between 11 and 11.5 miles. I ran miles 2 and 4 at a 7:20 pace but decided to take it easy the rest of the way. After my run I re-caulked my bathroom tub. Exciting, I know. Why I am I mentioning it, you ask? Well, I woke up on Saturday morning and my right hamstring was tight. I don't think it was from my run because I wasn't really pushing it too hard. I am thinking it was from the tub, but I really have no idea. I was hoping it was just a little soreness and it would go away.
I woke up on in the middle of the night on Saturday night and I could still feel it. When I got out of bed at 5:45 to get up the 10K this morning, I was still feeling it. It wasn't awful, but it was definitely there.
I got to the course and did some stretching and ran for a couple minutes to try to loosen it up. It seemed to help a little bit, but I was still feeling it at the starting line. Now heading in, I had mentioned I was looking to crack a 7:00 pace per mile. I had actually come up with a 6:51 for the goal. Matt Rauls, fellow 2008 Chicago Marathon participant and veteran triathlete, suggested my Yasso times and medium length runs paces indicated I could hit a 6:30 pace. I appreciate the comment and the kind thoughts. I don't think your ideas are too far off, Matt. However, today didn't turn out to be the day to test it.
I decided to give it a shot early on and see how I could come out. I felt okay in the first mile and thought I found a few guys running in the 6:30-6:45 range. I hit the first mile marker at a little too fast. I hit the marker at 6:20. I was feeling pretty good and my hammy was doing okay at this point. I wanted to back it down a bit to the 6:40-6:45 range for mile two. I was pretty successful with that and hit the two mile mark right at 13:00. As I got started on mile three, I was aiming for somewhere in the 6:45 range. I was still having a hard time getting in a good rhythm though.
Somewhere in between the second and third mile marker, I started to get a wicked cramp in my right side that kind of wrapped around to my back. I hit mile three at 20:30, meaning I just ran a slow 7:30 mile and my overall pace was up to a 6:50. I knew I was in a bit of trouble at that point because the cramp seemed to be getting worse with my pace. I knew 6:30 was an afterthought and a 6:51 was going to be tough. I hit mile four at 28:00 even, meaning I ran another 7:30 and my overall pace was now 7:00 even with 2.2 miles to go. So, the cramp was still there, although more bearable than it was the previous two miles. I should also add that the cramp in my side made me completely forget about my tight hamstring.
I hit mile 5 at 35:20. That was good for a 7:20 mile, but my overall pace had dropped to a 7:04. My original plan was to turn it on at the five mile mark and try to put up a 7:45-8:00 for the last 1.2 miles. Unfortunately I didn't have it in me. I decided to wait another quarter to half mile to leave whatever I had left on the course. I also like to pick people to pass in the home stretch and finish strong. I started to pick up the pace with slightly more than a half mile to go and passed the guy who was in front of me. At that point, I didn't see anyone else in front of me and almost felt like I had made a wrong turn somewhere. I came out of a turn and saw some people a good 100 yards in front of me. I was pushing as best as I could and hit the final turn before the 200 meter (just a guess) final straightaway. Two guys were right behind me. I surged ahead of them, and looked over my right shoulder with about 50 yards left. I saw the two guys pretty far behind me and realized that I was going to be able to come in under 44 minutes. Out of nowhere, a different guy goes streaking by the left side of me and passes me with about 25 yards to go. Nice. Nothing like a punch to the groin as you're finishing up a slightly disappointing race. I finished at 43:54, a 7:04 pace. I ran the last 1.2 miles at a 7:04 pace.
I finished 5th in my age group. 4th place would have netted me a 3rd place medal because the overall winner (34:58) was in my age group. I ended up 23rd overall out of about 313 finishers. My hamstring is still a little tight and I am anxious to see how it feels in the morning.
The week ahead:
Tuesday: 11 miles @ 8:15
Wednesday: 10 miles @ 8:15
Friday: 10 miles, 4x1600 @ 6:34 w/800m jogs in between
Sunday: 18 miles @ 8:15, last 5-7 sub 8:00. I may even slow down the first 10-12 miles to an 8:30 and crank up the last 7 or so.
Total: 49 Miles