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.
[caption id="attachment_343" align="alignnone" width="603" caption="Weekly mileage since Bayshore - Races marked in blue"]http://davidwilemski.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/weeklymileagepostbayshore.png[/caption]
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.
- Detroit Zoo 5k: 18:18 and much better than last year!Â First time sub 19 since high school!
- Michigan Fall Classic 5k (XC): 18:54
- 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.
Finishing up this racing season
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.