Last Thursday on Thanksgiving I raced a 10k at the Detroit Turkey Trot. This was a big day for me because it was my first 10k encounter since Bayshore in the summer. I knew I had a chance for a major PR because I am in much better shape now that I was then.
Going into the race, my goal was to hit 6 minute pace for as long as possible and then just see if I could go faster for the last mile or so. It turns out most of that worked out. I missed all of the mile markers until mile 5 so for most of the race I had no idea how fast I was going but was just focusing on keeping things fast but smooth and not pushing too hard. After the 1st mile or so where I had moved up though the pack I found a group doing about my pace and just sort of tucked in. I crossed the 5 mile mark at 29:55 and was extremely happy to see that everything was going according to plan.
The last 1.2 was a bit rough it turns out but I still finished in 37:34 which is a huge PR of almost four and a half minutes! Awesome.
Then it was time to go chow down on some delicious Thanksgiving day food. The Turkey Trot was a great start to the day though, even if I did have to wake up at 4:30am.
Back in mid-November I did the Lightfest 8k. This wasn’t *really* a race since it wasn’t timed and also the course was longer than 8k, which I’ll get to in a second. Additionally, we had trouble finding the right place to park so we were late to the start and didn’t warm up.
Despite all that I decided to run fastish and see what I could do. The first 4 miles were Between 6:05 and 6:20 but I missed most of the mile markers so I don’t know exactly what they were. I was okay with this – I just enjoyed the course (it was fantastic to see the light displays) and also kind of had fun weaving through people playing catchup to the runners.
My last mile (yes, full mile. In an 8k.) was 5:10. It turned out that after 4 miles I was warmed up and realized that if I ran fast I could PR my 8k despite all the setbacks I mentioned above. It turns out the course passed the 8k mark, had a 5 mile mark, and then finished just past there. Based on extrapolation for 5mile->8k time I put myself at 30:15 which is a 50 second PR in my 8k! Win!
In recentposts I’ve hinted at a new project and I’m ready to show off the first version:
Coursegrab is a little project that I’ve been wanting to build for a while now. The idea is simple: My university doesn’t provide waitlists for all classes so that students can automatically be enrolled in a class when space opens up which means students are always checking the website for class status.
This service will send a text message when a class you want opens up. No more checking whether you can get into that class you want to take!
Freedom! I finally have some time where I don’t have to work on class projects for a little bit. This is fantastic because I’ve been pretty stressed under the project load lately – this means more time for running, work, and side projects!
Blargh. This race didn’t turn out to be what I had hoped. I’m not pleased by this but the only thing to do is put this one behind me.
Mile 1: I went out with the chase pack, we hit just below 5:20 and I was pleased with that, right on target instead of blasting the first mile like I did last race. But the first mile is always easy.
My thoughts the rest of the race: “Why am I getting passed? … Just keep going … Ouch, why was that 2 mile so slow?”
Mile 2 came by in right around 11:15 or 11:20. I ran a 6 flat 2nd mile and that right there was the race for me. The target of 11 or under wasn’t even close. Mile 3 was even worse. I finished in 18:23.
End of Season
Since today doesn’t qualify as a good race, I’m now searching for a way to fix that. I was planning on running the Lightfest 8k in Livonia real easy just for fun this coming Tuesday night, now maybe I’ll use it as a tempo run and PR my 8k – should be do able since the only 8k I’ve run was on a cross country course that was hilly.
I thought doing easy running to maintain fitness for the next few weeks was a good idea but now I’m leaning the other way. 2-3 more weeks of hard training while I get through the Detroit Turkey Trot and Holiday Hustle seems like a good plan.
My hosting company had to fully reset my web server this week due to a breach on their side. Thankfully, I had this blog fully backed up thanks to the wonderful PressBackup plugin, but it was annoying to have to set everything else back up again – and I may have lost some other minor stuff.
It just serves as a good reminder to backup your data regularly!
I’d like to build something using only Redis for persistence. Its new scripting interface seems really cool. I have ideas, just need to get out of this busy project/exam filled time… maybe Thanksgiving break will give me enough time.
TL;DR: I ran a 17:19 5k last night – just 2 seconds from my PR!
Well I haven’t posted in a while but I’ve been running really well. I’m going to try to start posting more again but to do that I first need to write up everything since Bayshore… here we go – this could be a doozie.
After Bayshore, I took some time off of. Something like 10 days of absolutely no running. While that was difficult, it turned out to be worth it because I was able to come back with some good hard training.
That graph basically sums up my training for the past few months. I spent some time after Bayshore not racing at all, just slowly building up my mileage again into the 40MPW range.
Run Thru Hell
I ran the Run Thru Hell 10 miler – not because I was ready for it but mostly just for fun. I had run the shorter race there before so wanted to do the 10 miler too. I went with a group of friends and it was a great morning. It was a really tough course and I was really sore afterwards due to all the hills. Hills, as we’ll find out later, are my downfall in races.
The Rest of Summer
Towards the end of summer I had trouble keeping decent mileage due to vacation and other trips but still managed to get some okay running in (this means average runs and usually a weekly longer run of 8ish miles). After Run Thru Hell, I didn’t plan on racing until September at the Detroit Zoo. The dip after the 10 miler was due to a hiking trip I took for a week but I’ll save that for another post. The day after I came back, I ended up doing a pretty hard workout with a friend and found out that even though I had done almost no running in the week leading up to that, it turns out hiking 40 miles in a week keeps you in decent shape. That workout is essentially the start of a really REALLY rapid increase in mileage that was both risky and rewarding.
Run For The Corn 5k
The only reason this is notable is because it is my first time ever winning a race. I was back home for a weekend and ended up going to this race and I was planning on treating it as a tempo run. This was still just days after getting back from hiking. I showed up to this race and realized it was going to be small – that’s fine it was still just a tempo. There ended up being maybe only 15 people at the race – that’s the smallest 5k race I’ve ever seen by far but I really enjoyed the course. I took off at a decent but not very fast pace and was immediately all alone. It was just me and the lead golf cart the entire time which was a pretty cool experience. I ended up running a 19:28 for the win and got this cool wooden cut out thing.
So that was pretty cool. I have this hanging on my wall now.
Fall Training and Racing
I’m not going to give much information about the other races in the interest of keeping this readable and interesting. In September I started running with MRun, Michigan’s running club, a couple of times a week – mostly on Tuesday nights for their workouts. I also have gone to a few cross country races with them – which have been fun but not fast for me. (This is where the hills come in). I also upped my mileage from about 40 a week to 70 a week in about a month – that came back to bite me but I’m also convinced it helped a lot.
Sean Earl Lakefront Invitational 8k (XC at Loyola): 31:05 (Automatic 8k PR)
Run Scream Run 5k: 17:57 (First time breaking 18 since high school!)
MSU Spartan Grand Classic: 18:47 – Fun day, really muddy/sloppy course
All Caught Up?
So that brings me through all the fall races up until yesterday and by this point I’m at 70+ miles a week. All of my runs began feeling sluggish and my legs were always tired, never recovering. Last Thursday was basically when I realized this cannot continue. I ran one of the most difficult workouts of my life – 16x400m intervals at 82 seconds each, 200m rest – and was already exhausted going into it. The early repeats were never easy even though 82 seconds isn’t exactly a fast 400m for me right now (I’m pretty sure I could go sub 5 in a mile right now). I did hit that pace for each of the 16 repeats but boy was it hard. I ended up really down about running for most of last week. I had decided to take the week realllllly easy and see if I couldn’t recover. Maybe 50 miles at most. Even still, most of my runs early this week felt terrible and my legs were just burnt out. Slow runs felt fast and I never felt like I could go faster. I ended up taking this Thursday off and only running an easy 4 miles on Friday. This brings me to last night’s race.
Headless Horseman 5k
I felt okayish for the first time in over a week after Friday’s run. I was beginning to feel confident that I could run fast again. I had looked at previous results for this race and saw that in the past 3 years the winning times were between 16:50ish and 18 flat (last year was 18:00). I began to get it in my head that I could win this race.
I ended up planning on going out with whoever was in the lead for the first mile and see what they were going to do. My plan was to run to win and not worry about PRing because I didn’t think I had quite fully recovered yet (turns out I had).
This race was won in 15:59 which is 5:09/mile pace. Guess what my first mile was? Yup. All I remember thinking after that first mile was that it had to be short, no way I just ran 5:09. Turns out I did. So the winner ended up out of sight pretty quickly and it was just me and someone else in 2 and 3, with another runner not too far behind in 4th and no one else even close. I was trying to keep the pace up but ended up getting passed right before the 2 mile mark. So now I was in 3rd trying to keep 2nd in view and I went through the 2nd mile in about 5:45. At this point my only concern was not dying completely because I knew that I had a shot at a really good time for myself. I struggled to keep the pace up in the last mile but knowing I had finished the first 2 miles in just under 11 minutes kept me going – I knew I had a shot at PRing! I ended up getting passed again right before the final turn and I just had no response at this point – 4th place for me it was. I was just trying to get to the finish. There was a nice long straight portion right before the finish which was really great. I could see the clock from a long way off and it was still under 17 minutes. I put in everything I had but still watched the clock tick up. I was feet away from the line and saw it tick past my PR of 17:17, it hurts that I was so close but now I am 100% convinced that I have that PR in me somewhere. I finished in 4th at 17:19 with 2nd and 3rd at 17:14 and 17:15 I believe.
I’ve already signed up for the Detroit Turkey Trot 10k on Thanksgiving and I’m planning on doing another 5k the weekend after that – where I’ll hopefully finally PR. Â Until those races, I think I’ll go back to maybe mid-60 miles a week and just play it by ear. I don’t want to burn myself out again.Â After those races are over I’m going to call it quits on this cycle of training. I’ll take some time off for some much needed rest and then just base build for the winter and not worry about speedwork for a while. I’d like to see what a 100 mile week is like so I may try building up to that very slowly over the winter.
I spent most of this weekend camping up in Traverse City with a group of friends. We were there for the Bayshore races. Most of the people I was with had spent months preparing for their race this weekend – and I was sort of a last minute addition. Everyone had an awesome race and PR’d.
I was there to run the 10k and going in I honestly wasn’t very confident because I’ve pretty much been in some state of injured since my last race. I took about 10 days off towards the beginning of May and had only been running again for about 2 weeks when we got up there and most of the running since Martian has been pretty easy miles, nothing hard. Additionally the only speedwork I’ve done was crammed into the past 2 weeks with the group and neither workouts went amazingly well.
My plan going into the race was to run 7 min pace for the first 5k and then see how I was feeling and maybe pick it up for the second 5k. My thinking was that if I had any chance of running a good race I would need to push hard in the second half. Things didn’t go quite as planned – but that’s not a bad thing!
The first mile I went out focusing on running easy and keeping a smooth pace. I ended up going through the mile marker in 6:22. Needless to say that was a bit of a surprise. I’m used to going out fast but I made an extra effort to go out easy. I focused on slowing down the next few miles. Miles 2 and 3 were at 6:45 and 6:58 respectively.
Somewhere in between mile 3 and 4 I just sort of zoned out and cruised – that ended in a mile pace of 7:19. It was definitely a bit slow but I didn’t end up too worried because I knew I was still averaging under 7 minute pace because of the fast first 2 miles. The 5th mile I focused on getting back in stride – 7 flat.
For all of mile 6 I focused on going as fast as possible, to really push it. I kept telling myself I just had a mile left. I was reeling some people in and that helped me stay on pace.
I finished in 42:06 which was a pretty good PR over Martian. I was extremely surprised because like I said, I feel I was way more prepared for that race than this one. I somehow kept everything together and had a solid race here. It definitely excites me that I’m improving. Full race results here.
I’m completely focused on getting fast again at this point. I’ll do anything I can to get closer to that goal. The first step in that process is to take two weeks off in an attempt to shake off Â the nagging injuries in my foot. I’ll reevaluate at that point but as long as everything goes well I’ll start building a nice base. I want to take things nice and slow and not build up too quickly and end up with injuries like this cycle.
The end goal is to start racing again in the Fall and hopefully start on the long road to a 5k PR.
Saturday morning I finally ran my first 10K! I was out the door by 6:30 to get to Dearborn for the race that started at 8. It was an early morning to be sure but that’s always fine if it’s for running. I was pretty conflicted over whether to eat anything when I woke at 6 because it was right in the span of time where I may or may not regret but also I was unsure of if I would need it because this race is longer than I’m used to (normally I wouldn’t need to eat for a 5k). I didn’t end up eating and we got to the race in time for me to get ready with a bathroom visit and a bit of a warmup (only a mile, would have liked to do a bit more but it worked out nicely).
A few minutes before the race I lined up at what I thought was not too far back but it turned out I got boxed in after the start. This happens too much – other runners really don’t consider where they should be based on their starting time. I was doing a slow jog for probably almost a minute before I could get through the crowd at all and then really pushed for the first mile to make up time.
I went into the race planning on running just under 7 minute pace for each mile and had decided if I could do that then I’d be at least satisfied with what I ran. The first mile turned out being around 6:45 between the adrenaline of the start and me being angry and running hard to make up time from the start.
The next few miles went by easily. The pace felt pretty relaxed for me compared to my usual constant exhaustion for a 5k. The second and third miles I ran in 6:53 and 6:55 respectively – right on pace! Additionally I really didn’t feel too fatigued after this which was part of the plan. My breathing was easy and my legs felt good. It turned out that miles four and five were a little more difficult but not so much that I noticed. Either I completely missed the 4 mile mark or it wasn’t up yet but I caught the 5 mile mark. They were actually just setting up that mile marker as I passed it and I was no where near the front of the pack so this was pretty surprising to me. I averaged 7:01 for those two miles and went into the last mile ready to push a bit harder.
Now the last mile was actually more difficult but still wasn’t bad – I guess this means I could have raced faster but I was just sticking to the plan. There were a few good sized up hill portions towards the end of the race and those were rough but otherwise the last 1.2 miles felt good because I knew I was almost done. The last turn was made right around the 6 mile mark which gave a straightaway of about 200m. This I really liked because it gave you time to see the finish coming and really push. The last 1.2 miles I finished in about 8:22 which is under 7 minute pace as well – so I did a pretty good job of sticking to the pace!
I finished in a total of 42:53 and I’m happy with that. It is definitely something I can improve on but it’s a good starting place I think. Overall it was a good day to race. It was a bit rainy early on but that cleared pretty quickly and the course was pretty nice. Like I said, there were a few rough uphills but otherwise I think the course was pretty fast. It was winding and there was enough room on the course (granted I was only around 3 or 4 other runners for most of the race).
The rest of Saturday I was limping around and my right leg was bothering me quite a bit when I put weight on it. Sunday I felt a bit better and even went for an easy 5 mile run with some friends and it didn’t bother me too much but I could definitely still feel that my leg wasn’t 100%. Monday was worse again and I even cut my run short (4 miles instead of 5) because I didn’t want to aggravate it any more than I already had.
I’m going to take today and tomorrow off and ice a bit before I reevaluate what to do but I’m really hoping things get better. It kills me not to be able to run.