Week 6 of training for the Chicago Marathon is in the books. I probably cling to that number more than I should as every training season is different, but I know the first 6 weeks are the hardest in that it is hard to hit a groove. I feel out of shape, and, well, it’s always harder than it should be. But at 6 or so weeks, I always seem to turn a corner.
I know the heavy lifting is just beginning, but I am finally feeling like I have the base I need. It is also cool because week 6 included a cool 50 miles – something I only hit twice in my last training season. I know I’ve got a long way to go, but I’m getting excited.
Monday – rest / arm weights
Tuesday I did intervals with my boys (who I am coaching for the half in August). We did a one mile warm up; 4 strides; drills; 8 x 400m at 5k pace with 400m recoveries; 1 mile cool down. We all ran the warm up and cool down together, but the boys were all (mostly) faster than me on the intervals. We measured the distance on my street and found a tree conveniently located exactly .25 miles from my drive way and used that as our marker. One of the boy’s younger brother came to run and he stopped at 6 intervals as advised (he’s a fastie too, but hasn’t run much over 5k, so we took it easy). It was SO fun having a posse of 5 of us running hard up and down the street. 50 minutes / 6.15 miles / 8:17 average pace (intervals were 6:34 – 6:54 for me).
Wednesday I got up early to run – 63 minutes / 7 miles / 9:02 pace. It was a bit of a humid sweat fest, but I got it done. I also did arm weights and rode my bike a few miles in the evening.
Thursday I had a tempo run on tap, but as soon as I started, a wicked headache settled in. This was a big bummer because Thursday was the most temperate morning all week. Oh well. 60 minutes / 6.75 / 8:56 pace.
Friday I went for that tempo run. Or, to be more precise, goal marathon pace, which still feels like tempo this early in the game. 2 mile warm up; 6 at 7:35-7:40 pace; 1 mile cool down. I won’t lie – this was pure pain. I was sweating like 20 men (it was really humid), was chafing like mad, and thought death was likely inevitable at any moment. But I sucked it up (buttercup) and got it done. It wasn’t pretty, but that box is checked.
Saturday I got up at 5:45 – race day, baby! But not my race. My boy REALLY wanted to take another shot at breaking 20 minutes in the 5k. He ran 20:06 last weekend (on a .1 long and hilly course) and was determined to get it. He turns 13 next month and wanted sub-20 SO BAD while he is still 12. With upcoming camps, etc., now was his opportunity at a small, relatively local race. I initially thought I’d race too, but he told me he really wanted me at the finish line. Heck yeah! Race morning he was a bag full of nerves, yet confident at the same time. We got to the race an hour early, warmed up, did some striders and waited to line up. It was 70+ degrees with 90% humidity. I won’t lie – I was worried about the conditions, but I didn’t let him know it. I’ll let him learn those fears through his own experiences. 🙂 The race went out late, but he was fired up when he left. The field did not look super fast, so I was happy to say he was in 7th or 8th place as the pack too off. He knows not to go out too fast. By 14 minutes I was waiting very nervously. The first kid eventually came off the trail (about .2 from the finish) and finished in 17:2x. The next minute or so seemed like an eternity, but finally someone said, they are waving someone on. I said, “I hope we see neon green because my boy wants to break 20.” Sure enough, he rounded the corner and I began screaming like a crazy woman even though I knew he was .2 away. “You’ve got it, this is yours, J-man – GO!!!!” As he got closer, I could tell he was hurting, but again I assured him – “this is yours – GO GET IT!” – he flew to the finish at a 4:22 pace. 19:42. A big fat PR, sub-20 and 2nd place overall. Total rock star. I was so inspired. It was insanely humid and he crushed it. When I got home, I ran my own (hideous, humid run) with a big fat smile and lots of inspiration in my heart. So glad that boy nailed it. And as for yelling – so glad I did. He told me he heard it all. Me? 53 minutes / 6 miles / 8:48 pace.
Sunday the half marathon training posse met up for a long run at 7 am. 2 of the boys immediately informed me they stayed up entirely too late last night and were exhausted, but there is no rest for the weary (suck it up buttercup, were my precise words :). We had 11 miles on tap, but 2 of them wanted to run 12. We hit the hills and hit them pretty hard, but kept the pace nice and easy. One of my boys was having some groin pain, which started mid week last week, so we decided to be smart and shut it down right after we hit 11. The other 2 boys ran about 12.25 miles. All were happy, but fairly exhausted when they finished and made their post-long run breakfast. I went out for a bit over 4 more and ended up with 2:23:43 / 15.15 / 9:30 pace.
Total: 7 hours, 23 minutes / 50 miles.
Less than 5 weeks until the boys’ half. 13 weeks until Chicago. Bring it on.