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!