Four days until the end of the 2010 running season, I am trying to mentally prepare myself for not only my last race of the year, but also attempt to PR on an 8K.
January 18th seems so long ago. As always, I started my running season on Martin Luther King’s Birthday with hopes of having a better season than the last. Knowing me, it never goes to plan because I’m such a lazy ass.
Chicago Shamrock Shuffle? Pathetic. Go! St. Louis Half Marathon? Considering I had 12 “training runs” over the course of 12 weeks in flat Chicago, it was somewhat acceptable (versus respectable) that I completed in a 2:06:34. Until you look at my half marathon PR time was my first race 3 years ago in hilly St. Louis at a 1:56:52. Yeah, I’m a sad excuse for a runner.
May arrived and thus began training for my home race. I didn’t expect anything to change. Summer races tend to be tedious and I like to avoid the heat. Running in the summer is meant to stay in shape (haha), not to break any records.
However, something change this summer. I actually had a coach, I dropped 15 pounds and I didn’t want to be passed anymore on the trails. But the thing that changed it all was the fact that for the first time, I felt like I was flying when I went on a run. 4 miles. 6 miles. 10 miles. 16 miles. I was flying.
Next thing I realized, I wasn’t the one being passed on the lakefront trail anymore. I was passing almost everyone. That buff guy who passed me at Belmont? Yeah, kicked it up and passed him a quarter mile later, only to tease him as I set a faster pace before leaving him in the dust. The tall skinny runner who was throwing in long strides as I was grabbing water? I caught up with him only to match him step for step and keeping pace for 2.5 miles before I had to change course but after he thanked me for challenging him.
Running was not only fun, but it was a challenge again. It wasn’t just how many miles should I run anymore. It was how far can I push myself today and how fast can I run? The heat didn’t stop me. The rain didn’t stop me. The darkness didn’t stop me. I just for once decided to go for a run.
The Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago rolled into town and I did the unthinkable. Not only did I clocked a summer PR time, but my summer half marathon was faster than my spring half marathon. A feat that I did not knew was possible.
The Chicago Marathon arrived and not only did I completed my second marathon, I crushed my previous time by 40 minutes! The best part was that I knew I could have been at least 25 minutes faster had the heat not being a factor. I was with the 4:15 pacer group until mile 22. Having this spectacular time, I knew that I can easily aim for a sub 4 hours if I work at it.
The Hot Chocolate 15K, though a nightmare race that it was, opened my eyes to something. I can be a fast runner. Last year, I was running at a 9:30-10 minute pace but on this crisp fall morning, I was running just under 8. Being that it was my first 15K race, I was a guaranteed a PR. However, what the final time didn’t register was when I was passing the 5K, 8K and 10K mark, I was crushing my previous PRs for those respected distances. It was a race to beat all races and motivate me to crush those times when I run those distances again.
And so, the Chicago Turkey Trot is 4 days again. It’s an 8K on the morning of gluttony. I may run this so I don’t feel as bad pigging out later. But this year, I am not concerned so much of what I will eat but more so of throwing in my 4th consecutive PR of the season. I have to run under a 41:28 to achieve my goal. However, I’m more ambitious. I want to do a sub 40. I want to run an 8K under 40 minutes. A feat that I have never done before both in training and racing. It would be the most befitting end to fantastic running season.
Though this magnificent season is ending, my eyes are already set for next year and the time to beat: