Another two weeks of training in the bank and a great tune up race at the Chilly Half.
Monday: 70′ with 4x1T-ish (10.7 miles @ 6:30/mile). I tried to get in a workout, but the roads were covered in packed, slippery snow. On top of that, it was -20°C… so cold.
Tuesday: 60′ easy (9.7 miles @ 6:16/mile).
Wednesday: 60′ easy with 5 strides (9.5 miles @ 6:18/mile).
Thursday: 60′ recovery (8.8 miles @ 7:09/mile).
Friday: 60′ easy (9.6 miles @ 6:20/mile).
Saturday: Workout: 1E, 8M, 1E, 6M, 2E. This was an extension of a previous workout from a month ago where I ran two 6M intervals at 5:40/mile (34:02 each). A couple weeks ago, I ran a combined 12M segment at 5:38/mile. Going into this one, I wanted to hit 5:38-5:40/mile again and felt that should be possible if the weather cooperated. Forecasts looked good as every day leading up to Saturday was -15°C (feels like -25°C) but Saturday warmed up to -7°C with just a bit of wind. Roads were clear so I was able to get in a good effort, running 5:35/mile for the 8M segment and then 5:34/mile for the 6M segment. Great improvements from previous workouts despite the longer intervals.
Sunday: 65′ recovery (9.5 miles @ 6:48/mile).
Total: 75.7 miles, 8 hours.
Tuesday: 60′ easy/recovery (8.8 miles @ 6:53/mile).
Wednesday: Workout: 60′ easy with 3x1T (5:15, 5:16, 5:15 @ 167-170 bpm). A short workout before the Chilly Half. Just some quicker stuff to remind my legs how to move fast. Targets were T@5:18-5:20/mile but 5:15/mile seemed to come naturally and the resulting heart rates were right on target for a half marathon (last time I ran a half at 5:24/mile and 172 bpm).
Thursday: 60′ easy with 6 strides (9.5 miles @ 6:18/mile).
Friday: 60′ easy (9.8 miles @ 6:11/mile).
Saturday: 45′ recovery (6 miles @ 7:33/mile).
Sunday: Chilly Half Marathon in Burlington, ON.
Total: 61.8 miles, 6.5 hours.
Chilly Half Marathon
Leading up to the race, I felt my workouts had me in shape to run 5:18/mile on a good day, but hopefully at least 5:20/mile. Pumping out those three 5:15 miles on Wednesday was a real confidence booster.
The weather cooperated as much as one can hope for a late-winter/early-spring race; it was a mild -7°C with a slight breeze. While warming up, I decided that two long sleeves might not be enough so I chucked one in favour of a jacket. Turned out I was a little too warm for most of the race so this was probably a mistake. Gloves came off within the first 5km, jacket unzipped shortly after, and finally I pulled off my neck warmer around halfway. Live and learn, I guess.
For the start, I got stuck a couple rows back which was a bit of a bummer. I had to jump and dodge around people to get an open lane and I went out a little quicker than I would have liked in order to get in a good position. I quickly settled into a group of three with John Mason and Thomas Omwenga. I thought these guys’ paces would be a little rich for me, but I figured I should try to hang tough else I be left in no man’s land (there ended up being a 2 minute gap between me and the next person at the finish, so I think this was a good move). First four miles were 5:12, 5:16, 5:15, and 5:16.
By the first turnaround point, I think we had dropped Omwenga and reeled in Nick Sunseri. For the next several miles of the race, the three of us juggled position until Mason pulled away. Sunseri and I battled back and forth until the second and final turnaround at the 8 mile mark, where I pulled away from Sunseri. Miles 5 through 9 were 5:17, 5:20, 5:18, 5:19, and 5:16.
I spent the remainder of the race trying to gain (or maintain) on Mason. The out-and-back nature of the course meant that there were lots of folks going the opposite direction and cheering loudly as we went by which was a big motivator! I didn’t catch Mason, but having him in front helped drag me home. Final four miles were 5:20, 5:18, 5:27, and 5:19. Sunseri must have made up some ground on me after my slowest mile (5:27… guess I fell asleep or something) and passed me with a couple hundred metres to go and finished 2s up on me. Like the Zoo Run 10K last fall, I finished about 10s back from Mason. That put me in sixth place and seconds off some pretty fantastic Canadian runners.
I finished the race in 1:09:29.8 which is a new personal best for me (1:45 off my previous best) and right around where I expected/hoped to be. I didn’t hold back but I didn’t go to the well either. There’s still more training to do in preparation for my spring goal race; this was just a stepping stone.
Equivalency calculators seem to suggest I’m on track for a result somewhere around 2:25 for Ottawa. With 12 more weeks of training to go, I’m hopeful 2:25 will be possible and who knows… maybe I can get a little closer to 2:20!
I want to say a special thanks to my wife (not sure she even reads these posts and I certainly wouldn’t blame her if she didn’t!) for wrangling our two kids by herself in downtown Burlington while I was out running. After many hours in the car that weekend, the kids were getting squirrely and I know it wasn’t an easy task to keep them entertained and out of trouble. And this is on top of all the times she holds down the fort while I’m out getting in my training for what is essentially a hobby. Thanks honey!
Also, thanks to Cal and Scott and the other Renegade Runners from Sarnia for the support and photos! Although my face doesn’t always show it when I’m working hard to chase after the guys in front of me, the cheers definitely keep me going!