Chicago Rock ‘n’ Roll half-marathon goals

Tomorrow night – or to be technical, very early Friday morning – I’m leaving for Chicago with three girlfriends for a long weekend of running, Blues music, sightseeing and hopefully some deep dish pizza.  Kelly and I have been planning this trip ever since I called her from the floor of my apartment in February, crying and unable to move after pulling my groin. This was just what I needed to pull myself out of the running injury doldrums, although a little voice nagged at me, “What if you aren’t able to run? What if July isn’t far enough away?”

Well, thank goodness I’ve recovered – something I am so grateful for. It’s hard to believe just two months ago I was nervously wondering how I was going to run the Boston Marathon on no training and a hurt leg! I’m still super worried about overdoing it so I’m trying to remain smart about cross-training, strength-training, stretching and rest but…I think it’s safe to say that I will be running the half-marathon on Sunday! Woo hoo!

So, my goals for the race – honestly, I just want to run it as fast as I can, see what that time is, and then go from there. I’ve registered for the Harvest Half Marathon in September, and that is really going to be my goal race in terms of time. I’ve written here before about my long-term goal (dream?) of running a sub-1:30 half, so I’d like to run Chicago and see just how far off that goal is, then make a plan of attack for achieving it! I really have no idea what my half-marathon time is. Even though I’ve ran 21.1km a billion times (or at least it feels like that much!), I’ve actually only raced two half-marathons. The first I was still drunk when I started running it (after a particularly raucous weekend in Philly visiting my friend Dan), and the second was in basically sub-arctic temps in Newfoundland after a month of being unable to train due to a busy internship. Both were fabulous experiences, but I did feel like my times (1:56 and 1:46) weren’t my fastest. So I’m curious to see what my time will be for Chicago.

And of course my other goal is just to have fun! That’s why we run! And especially why I love to run races in other cities – it’s a great way to explore and see a different side of a city. I’m so excited to finally go to Chicago and run along the lakefront in particular!

To get ready for what will hopefully be a flat and fast course, I’ve been focusing on speedwork. I aim to do a solid speedwork session at least once a week. My last one was this past Saturday – my legs were finally feeling ready to move after the Smuggler’s Run trail race a week earlier, and I wanted to take advantage of having a track nearby, since I was home visiting my family. Not surprisingly, the only track around where I live has been locked up for the past few months, and the only way I’d be able to get on it is if I could somehow climb the fence, and I’m definitely not that skilled!

Saturday’s track workout included a 2.5km warm-up, then 10 x 400s with 400 m slow jog recovery in between. These were my splits:

1:35, 1:30, 1:32, 1:31, 1:30, 1:31, 1:32, 1:31, 1:29, 1:26.

Seeing that the final two numbers were the fastest was the best feeling! Speed workouts are brutal and when you don’t hit your paces it’s so disappointing, but when the stars align and your legs are feeling fast it’s honestly such a terrific feeling. I was on cloud 9 the rest of the day, even though I know it’s a silly thing to be so proud of.

I finished with about 8 km of just easy running, then jumped in the tub for an ice bath. MARVELOUS! No pain or soreness after or the next day at all! So now what I really want in my apartment is a) a bathtub and b) proximity to an open track.

ice bath

First five seconds – torture. But then it felt amazing.

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