Monday, July 4, 2011

Summer Racing and Chicago Marathon Buildup

Well, June is in the books and so far this summer has been a good time.  I've been running tons and tons, more than I ever have before.  I have pretty much been racing every weekend lately.  It has been enjoyable, but I have to admit lately it's seemed a bit tiresome.  It's hard to go out every weekend and give your best effort.  So, I'm hanging up the racing shoes for the next month to focus on some hard training for Chicago.  I have however had a great past month that I'd like to reflect on.

I started the month off with the first annual Yankee Springs Trail run.  This may have been the most fun I've ever had at a race.  I am signed up for the North Country Trail Marathon next month, which I'm really excited for.  I don't think I am going to quite go all out in it just because my main focus is Chicago, but I'd like to run it in the 3:30-3:40 range.  The following weekend I ran the Cereal City Classic and took third overall with a 36:51 time.  I felt pretty good during the race.  It was a challenge, like all races are but I was satisfied with the progress I've been making.  The following weekend I tackled the Kalamazoo Klassic double (a 10k followed by a 5k), with the infamous Maple Street Hill.  I've got to admit I was kind of dreading this race, since last year I remember the hill absolutely kicking my ass.  However, this year I ran the race much smarter and was able to tackle the hill with the right amount of energy to finish the rest of the race at a good pace.  I actually had a better pace at the this race then the previous week.  I won my age group in the 10k and finished 2nd in my age group in the 5k.

After that race, that put me at 4 straight weeks of races, so I thought why stop there?  I signed up for a Half Marathon in Ionia.  This was the first annual race and I didn't really know what to expect.  When I got there I noticed there wasn't even chip timing and it was a pretty low key race.  The only problem with that is that there weren't many people running, which makes it hard to stay in the mindset that "this is a race".  That's something that can be very beneficial when running 13.1 miles as fast as you can.  The course volunteers weren't the best at providing directions and I ran past the half turn and went on the 5k course at the beginning.  Luckily I noticed and turned around fairly quickly.  I was in second place at that time and dropped back to fourth.  I caught up to the guy in second place and we ran together for a few miles.  At mile 3 there was a hill that made the Maple street hill look like an absolute joke.  It was enormous.....and on dirt roads in the summer heat.  Not exactly ideal conditions for a fast race time.  I battled the challenging hilly, country road course and managed to finish 2nd in 1:22:38, just 2 minutes behind the first place guy.  He actually told me that he had run a 1:18 and 1:16 half earlier in the year, so that made me feel better about my time.  I really feel like I could throw down a half in the 1:20:XX range right now.  Regardless, I had a great time and got a good workout in.  That capped off the month of June; 1 Marathon, 1 Half Marathon, 2 10ks, and a 5k.

I am now entering week 5 of my Marathon training schedule for Chicago.  The last few weeks I have ran the most miles I ever have in a week (85 and 83).  I truly feel like the high mileage is going to help my training.  However, I do feel that it is important to give myself cutback weeks every now and then and to allow myself sufficient rest/recovery days when needed.  Although, I have been running 7 days a week lately.  Also, I have wanted to do a bit more biking and leg strengthening, but it's difficult to fit in with all of the running.  I am going to make an effort to add some strength training for the legs in the coming weeks.  I have also noticed that weightlifting has become more and more of a challenge during the mileage buildup.  I often feel very drained from running to be able to put in a decent effort in the gym.  I'm just trying to maintain a decent muscle base right now though.

I am really looking forward to the Chicago Half and Full Marathons in the coming months.  These are my main goals for the year.  I'd also like to knock out a good 10k and 5k time in the fall.  I think I am worthy of a sub 36 10k by the end of the year and a low 17 minute 5k at this point.

I'm having an absolute blast training.  It's been great training with people as well.  It's nice having people to help push your harder.  I am also trying to get sufficient rest and stretching.  The main thing I need to focus on right now is my diet.  It's scary to think that I can run over 80 miles a week and still at times gain weight.  I believe putting extra emphasis on my food intake over the next several months will be key to throwing down some good times in Chicago.  I'm looking forward to what the rest of the summer holds.  Until next time.....

Here's a good quote I found:
Racing teaches us to challenge ourselves. It teaches us to push beyond where we thought we could go. It helps us to find out what we are made of. This is what we do. This is what it's all about. 
Patti Sue Plummer (running)

No comments:

Post a Comment