More training! Seriously, I am so ready for January to get here so I can run Goofy and set my sights on the following two Full Marathons. I have been training for one race or another for the entirety of 2012. Don't get me wrong.... I love running. But there is something 'freeing' about just going out for a run 'just for the fun of it', and not because everything is leading towards the next big race or milestone. Maybe I will experience that in 2013. Hahaha!
But this week was more 'running with purpose'. The good news is that it was a successful week! I ran five days this week -- Tuesday (3.6M), Wednesday (5.6M), Thursday (4.6M), Friday (16.4M), and Sunday (4.9M) -- for a total of 35+ miles. All the runs felt strong and were injury-free. On Tuesday, I did speed work and averaged a 9:10/mm pace for each of the run segments. I was very pleased with that workout (and all my runs this week).
Now, the funny thing? This week was supposed to be a 'cut-back' week! Well, clearly 35 miles does not represent a cut-back week (at least not for me). What happened? Well, I decided not to do the third formal back-to-back that I had planned for Dec 15-16. I was going to run 16 miles on the 15th, and then the Santa Hustle Half Marathon on the 16th. But instead, I decided to run the 16-miler on Friday. I figured since I have already done two back-to-back weekend runs, and four consecutive runs this week, I am pretty covered in the "getting used to running on tired legs" department (a basic prep strategy for the Goofy).
So that transformed this past week into a regular training week of 35 miles. That makes next week my cut-back week (I promise!) with only around 23 miles (I am still doing the Santa Hustle Half on the 16th).
Well, Friday's Long Run was very solid, and served two purposes. The first was to complete my planned 16-mile training run. That went very well. I ran from Algonquin all the way passed the I-90 Tollway! That was pretty awesome as I ran under the overpass that crosses the Fox River as trucks and cars were swooshing by.
The second purpose was to complete the Virtual Florida Halfathon. I signed up to run a "virtual" Half Marathon in order to support the race's charity and in return, they sent me a personalized bib for the run and I will receive a nice medal for the effort. This is the same medal that is given out to those who are running the actual race in Florida. A very cool idea! So the first 13.1 miles of my 16-miler was for the race (finished in 2:33) and then I ran the additional 3 miles to complete my run.
Then Saturday, my wife and I went out with the high school Youth Group at our church to spend the day in downtown Chicago. We took the train down, then took two buses to a cool 50s style restaurant called Ed Debevics for lunch. Then we walked to the Magnificent Mile and did some shopping. After that, we walked to the Daley Center to see the big Christmas Tree and walked through the German ChristKindlMarket. Then we finally walked back to the train station, got some hot chocolate, and boarded the train for home. It was a long but great day! And I am pretty sure we walked at least 4-5 miles in total.
So I thought today's 4.9M run was going to be tough, given how tired my legs were after all that running and then all that walking from yesterday. But to my surprise, it went very well! My legs were tired but not complaining at all about the exercise. It was refreshing!
So, onward I go! This coming week will be a little less running and more rest time. This will put me in good condition for the Santa Hustle on Sunday. And after that, I will set my sights on the big 20-miler on Dec 23rd!