A new Training Run PR! And a new Half goes on the calendar

Well, all the weather forecasters have been calling for this 6-inch snowstorm to hit Chicagoland (and particularly the county I live in).  When it started sprinkling at 4pm at the office, I decided to leave before the roads became congested and turn a 1-hour commute into a 3+ hour one (the longest snow commute for me has been 4 hours).

So as I am driving home, I call my running partner (my car has built-in 'handsfree calling' which is legal here in Illinois) to talk about races and to see if he might want to hit the gym tonight.  I mean hey, it is going to be snowing so what better use of our time than getting in a few miles!  He considered it but eventually learned his family had other ideas.  Oh well, see ya on Saturday for our long run, Mike. :)

He and I did agree to add another race to our schedule.  Mike and I are going to run the North Shore Half Marathon on June 10th which is organized by Ram Racing (who held the Turkey Trot 5K race I ran last November).  Mike had run it before and said it was a good race.  And the swag is pretty nice.  Half Marathon finishers get a nice medal, and all runners get a cool Track Jacket 'goodie'.  And, they host a post-race breakfast of pancakes, french toast, sausages, and bananas (similar to the Turkey Trot last year).  So I am excited!  That makes 6 Half Marathons for me this year.  (I will likely add two more by year-end and get promoted to a Two Moon Half Fanatic.  We'll see.)

So I go to the gym, get dressed in my running gear, put on my Instinct shoes, and head for the Treadmill.  I decided that tonight I was going to do a 'race pace' run instead of my usual Thursday easy run.  I want to see where I stand in terms of my 5K pace.  I have a 5K race on March 24th and I really want to PR that race.  So it's a month away and I want to see if I am in a good place fitness-wise to accomplish that goal.  And, quite frankly, I wanted to really test these shoes to see how they feel at my 5K pace.

So, I did my 5 minute warm-up walk at 3.5mph and then I was "off to the races."  I set the Treadmill to a 9:30/mm pace (6.3mph) and a 1% incline, clicked the Lap button on my Polar watch, and the trial began!  I ran really comfortably for the first two miles and then my brain started telling me I was getting tired (I really hate negative self-talk. Gotta work on that).  So I worked on focusing on my breathing and my form, and responding with "GRRRRRR!!!! I am fine".  (I think part of it was that I forgot my water bottle and after two miles, my mouth was getting dry.  I could've used a quick drink.)

But I kept running.  And found that I still had plenty of leg left.  In fact, for the last .20 miles I bumped up the pace to 9:00/mm just to see what that would feel like.  Oh I noticed the difference!  But I finished the 5K distance, and then did a 5-minute cool-down at 3.5mph before calling the run complete.

The results?  Well, the entire workout went for 3.80 miles in 40:10.  But the cool thing was that I beat my last 5K PR by three seconds, finishing the 5K segment in 29:27! Granted, it is only a training PR.  But still, it told me what I needed to know -- that I definitely have a chance at PRing my upcoming 5K race, AND, that I have enough in me to run it at a pace faster than 9:30/mm.  I am very encouraged!  AND, I ran it with my minimalist shoes with no discomfort either during or after the run.  I like these shoes. :)

So now, I will focus my interval trainings between now and March 24th towards becoming comfortable with a 9:00/mm pace.  And, I am thinking of running the 5K race in the Instincts rather than my Sauconys.

I am at 15.7 miles for the week so far, with a planned 8-9 mile Long Run scheduled for Saturday.  This will be a good mileage week for sure.  I really felt like a runner tonight.  It was great!

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