Saturday, December 5, 2015

Schaumburg Half Recap and a Sneak Peek at 2016

For the past five years I've run the Schaumburg Half Marathon the Saturday after Thanksgiving in Illinois.  A lot of people I know run Thanksgiving Day races but since we're always traveling that morning I choose to run mine a couple of days later. The half in Schaumburg is always  a well-organized race that takes place in a relatively flat forest preserve about a little over an hour away from Milwaukee. It doesn't start until 9:15am so it gives me plenty of time to get there in the morning. It just works out well on so many levels.

I've PR-ed on this course a couple of times- including my very first sub-1:45 half a few years ago (1:44:20). Even when I haven't run a PR I've still been able to sock away some pretty decent times, including a 1:45:01 and a 1:45 on the nose the past two years. This year I unfortunately felt pretty much like garbage throughout the whole second half but I still clocked in again with a 1:45:19! (My splits are straight from Sad Town though, averaging 7:45 for the first half but around 8:20 for the back half. Oof. Hey, it happens.)

I always approach this race with a "see what happens" attitude but also with the slightest of hope for an awesome performance. It comes at the end of a long racing season and usually after I've finished a marathon or an ultra a few weeks earlier. This year I ran two marathons in October/November so I knew there was the possibility my legs would go into full on "Nope" mode.

Well... I made it to mile 6 before entering Nopesville so a little bit farther than I expected going in. Up until that point I was running pretty solid in the 7:40s but something in my stomach felt a bit "off." I'm going to go out on a limb and say it was the consistent diet of mashed potatoes and beer for the two preceding days. I mean, I'm no doctor but I might be onto something with this theory. A little past half way we hit a turnaround and had to head back uphill and that was the moment my body checked out. I got a little nauseous and suddenly I felt like I was a gigantic hungover potato with legs. Somehow I was still running 8:15-8:20 so it wasn't a complete bonk but everything mechanically just felt... clunky. I was going but it wasn't going to be pretty from here on out. I honestly felt like I was going even slower than I was because at one point I thought to myself,  boy I hope I can run under a 1:50! I guess things weren't really as bad as I felt because a 1:45 half is pretty damn good!

Overall I'm glad I got a solid 13 mile run in at a pretty aggressive pace for me for the first 6 miles. I've really got my eye on running a sub-1:40 half in the next year so I have to happy with where I'm starting at on that front.

Which brings me to this:

2016 is going to be straight up rad. I'm so excited about it! I had big scary dreams in 2014 that I ended up falling short of, but I came back STRONG in 2015.  I'm hoping to take that momentum and kick all the ass in 2016.

The important stuff:

1. Lower my Boston Qualifying time. Just today I signed up for a super early spring marathon in Indiana called Circular Logic. It's actually a super flat one-mile loop that you run 26 times. Some people may find that mind numbing but remember I'm the kind of person who thinks that running marathons on an indoor track is relaxing. Basically the race was built for me. Also it's early enough in the season where I don't have to worry about freakish warm weather. See here. And here. I'm pumped.

2. Run a sub-1:40 half. Like I mentioned above, it's just just about damn time that I get this one done. I did run an "unofficial" 1:41 at the Chi-town Half Marathon this year (thanks to running the wrong way for an extra half mile on the course) so I know I'm super close.  If anything I have a really big PR in me just waiting to bust out. My goal race for the is the Icebreaker Half Marathon in January. 

3. Run another 50 miler! After a two year hiatus I am itching to get out there and run the big trail miles. I've been hooked on an ultrarunning podcast the past few months and it has me considering things that are absolutely bananas. I'm seriously eyeing a 100K in 2017.... but first things first. I'll be signing up for the Ice Age 50 Mile race when it opens in a couple of weeks.

And that only takes me through May. I guess you could say I'm feeling a little ambitious. Giddyup!