Usually, after running a half marathon I like to take a break from running. My very first half marathon I felt like I left most of my body on the course. I didn’t run for almost two weeks.
Last year’s Mill Race Marathon the morning after Wendy and I returned from our trip to New York, Ryan was up ready to go. This year following the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon, we didn’t run until the following Friday.
That wasn’t the case after this year’s Mill Race Half Marathon. With all that happened during the training cycle, I knew we would need a rebound race. I couldn’t wait until Thanksgiving. So, about the middle of July before a price increase I registered us for the CNO Financial Indianapolis Monumental 5k.
As I mentioned in the previous post, we were all on vacation the week after the Mill Race Half. With the Monumental 5k coming up in six weeks, I knew we couldn’t afford to take much time off and then ramp back up into training mode. Oh and if you’re wondering following that ice bath and foam rolling while watching football that Sunday, my upper-right quad felt a lot better than it did from miles seven through 13.1 of the race the previous day.
Instead of our typical week after a race routine, we were back out on the following Monday with a very easy three miles. We ran the same mileage Wednesday and Friday before running six to end the week on Saturday.
The morning of one of our rest days, I looked through my books and some websites to put together a training plan for us to begin the following week. A lot of them said to do your speed workouts on a track. In his book “Meb For Mortals,” Meb Keflezighi suggests doing all your workouts on the surface you’re going to race on.
I converted what the other plans listed to do on the track to mileage on the pavement. Mondays would be either a fartlek or pyramid interval run. Wednesdays would be when we run the majority of the run at our race pace. Saturday’s remained our long run day running around nine miles.
With the season change also means, of course, it’s still dark for the most part when we begin our runs. The headlamps, wrist lights, and reflective vests have already been getting a steady workout on their own.
Time for my public service announcement. Please make sure to check your batteries on all your dark-running-visibility gear. That way you don’t have to worry about any of them going out while you’re on a run in the dark. Not that Ryan or I know this from experiencing one of our devices dying on a run recently.
After we ran six miles on the Saturday after the Mill Race Half Marathon, I took Ryan to Franklin High School to watch the Johnson County Cross Country Meet. Most of the boys from Center Grove, who we ran into while running Skyline Drive for either hill repeats or what is called the Center Grove “Hilly Route” participated in the event.
Not only was it the high school meet but the middle schools were also having the county meet as well on the Franklin course. While we saw runners from the high school team, I also was able to reconnect with a couple of friends from high school who had their kids running in the middle school race.
Watching those races that Saturday had an influence on Ryan. We began training for the 5k the following Monday. He’s only had one run where it seemed like he was struggling. The rest of the runs whether the speed workout or easy/long run, Ryan has been at his best since leading up to the 500 Mini back in May.
On Wednesday of this week, I decided we should do a race simulation to see where we were with only six runs left before the Monumental 5k. We did our dynamic stretches and a half mile warm up at about 9:30 pace.
We stopped in a cul-de-sac located off a circle drive we run in the mornings. I handed Ryan his bottle off the hydration belt and explained to him what we were about to do.
I asked him if he remembered how we ran on New Year’s Day back in January in a “race” for the Coach Jenny’s virtual challenge. He acknowledged that he did.
We started out and built up to our “race pace.” We made our way around the rest of the cul-de-sac and around Columbia Circle and to the path in the subdivision.
Although I know it’s better to run by feel, using a watch now that I can set a pace has helped us especially with the speed workouts when I want us running at a specific speed. I am sure as time goes by I will be able to know we are running at such a pace without even having to look at the watch.
There’s the one issue runners have to deal with when running through neighborhoods or on the road. It makes running a “race simulation” even harder – traffic. Fortunately, we were able to see ahead and stay on the sidewalks for the most part as cars approached.
We finished the first mile 7:44 – which is right where I want us to be on race day. I asked Ryan how he felt. Per usual he told me “good” along with a thumbs up.
I wanted to mimic the Monumental course as much as possible. Thus I took out the rest of the path and a couple of the corresponding streets we normally run on our regular 5k route. This was because those streets have slighter inclines than what we will run in the Monumental 5k.
We were about halfway through when I handed Ryan his water bottle. “About halfway through. You’re doing great.” We approached the intersection of the street which connects the Wakefield and Innisbrooke subdivisions.
We ran around the cul-de-sac on Innisbrooke Trail and returned back into Wakefield on Inni Way. We veered right to Paddock Road and crossed Cody Lane to finish the second mile. We were faster by four seconds at 7:40. Again right where I want us to be on race day and having negative splits.
“Final mile,” I said. “How’s the energy level?”
“Good,” Ryan replied.
Ever since the 500 Mini when Ryan yelled at me that he was losing his energy on the last mile, I always ask him now about his energy level. It helps me know if he’s going to be ready for his favorite part of his run – “the kick.”
We ran down Paddock and around the retention lake in Wakefield and made our way back to the path for the completion of our “race.”
We were on the path for about a tenth of a mile which for the run meant we were at 2 ½ miles. It was time to see where the “kick” was for the finish.
Ryan had fallen a little bit behind me. I looked back and said, “It’s kick time. Time to go. Catch me.”
With about a quarter mile left as we ran over a wooden-planked bridge that covers a drainage area along the path, there was Ryan right beside me. We continued on the path as it parallel’s with Wakefield Road.
We turned back on to Columbia Circle and said hello to our friend and world’s best church-coffee-shop barista Lisa and finished with a time of 23:29 because of the traffic. The great thing about the watch, it also takes out the times you pause. The moving time had us at 23:15.
I showed Ryan our splits. He gave a nice pump of the fist and then knuckles to me. If there’s one thing he’s learned about running it’s good to have negative splits especially when you’re racing.
Ryan ran the Miler Series 3 miler back in February at 22:30. His PR time in the 5k was set last year at the New Beaver Moon 5k with a time of 23:56.
With six runs left until the Monumental 5k, we are both excited to see what’s in front us on race day.