Monday, November 28, 2011

2011 Racing Update

My work with Fleet Feet Chicago and Chicago Endurance Sports has really kept me busy this year. I did not do nearly as many races as I normally would. I did get to see things from the other side as I took a large role in producing several area races.

I’m currently 6 days out from my next marathon. I’ll be racing the California International Marathon for the second time this Sunday. Training has gone fairly well. I’ll talk more about that after the race. In the meantime, here’s a very brief recap of the racing I have done this year since Green Bay.

Kimbia 5k – North Park Track, Chicago, IL - 6/25/11

This was my first 5k race on a track. The Kimbia 5k was a small race put on by my friends Dan Kittaka and Lee Greenburg to benefit Kimbia, Kenya. Each runner donated shoes to be taken back to runners in Kimbia. The event was won by Moses Waweru (winner of Soldier Field 10 2011) in 14:26. He took the donations with him back to Kimbia.

I went into the race hoping to PR at the 5k distance. Justin Jackson, who at one time was a sub-15 minute 5k runner for Loyola Chicago, and I ran most of the race together. I ran very even splits, and put a little distance on him in the last few laps. I ended up finishing 4th in 16:38 which was a 4 second PR.

4 on the 4th – 4 Mile – Elmhurst, IL – 7/4/11

I ran 22:17 on a slightly warm morning. It wasn’t anything to be too happy about. I enjoyed riding out to the race with Lance and Betsy. This was the best chance I had to beat Jason Ream and Robert Wiegand in the same race. Both were racing WAY below their potential…. I came up just short of beating Jason. I know he was VERY glad to continue his unbeaten streak against me.

By this point in the season, the amount of training I was doing was much smaller than it typically had been during that point in the year. Work was really piling on.

Xtreme 10 – 10 Mile - Waterfall Glen, IL – 7/23/11

I ran this in 62 minutes and change. The time was brutally slow, but still better than in 2008 (which is probably the worst job I’ve ever done in a race). The conditions, as usual, were extremely humid and sloppy. There was rushing water all over the course. However, placement wise, I was happy with the race. I ran a negative split and managed a top 20 finish at race where I once finished out of the top 60.

Lawndale 5k – Chicago, IL - 9/17/11

This is a really cool small race in North Lawndale, which is not a community one would associate with running. I had high hopes to win this race, however my fitness dictated otherwise. By this point in the season I had not raced for nearly two months.

I wound up running 4th in 17:33. This was my slowest 5k time on a fast course in years. Still not sure exactly what went wrong…. Was I tired? Too Rested? It just wasn’t my day.

It seems that every year I reach a point where I suddenly feel very slow no matter what I do. Sometimes this time period can last a few months and sometimes only a few weeks. This year it was only a few weeks. Perhaps that was due to the lower total mileage during the warm summer months.

Monster Dash – Half Marathon – Chicago, IL

If by some chance you reached this page by googling the Monster Dash. Please do me a favor and don’t sign up for this race in 2012 or ever again. Team Ortho, and all of their races are absolutely awful and overpriced.

I’ve already written and talked to many people about the event, so I’m too burnt out to do it here. Basically, it started extremely late, the street crossings were not closed to traffic, the miles were not marked, the course was not well marked, I had to run against the flow of runners still running out while I was running in, bike marshals went the wrong way, etc etc etc.

As for my race… it was lonely. I could not see any racers ahead or behind me. I wound up in 4th, one spot behind Jason Ream. I ran a PR of 1:17:23. I really don’t know what my splits were like along the course… but I think I ran fairly evenly. I was happy to PR by about 35 seconds. Betsy kindly provided shelter for Jason and I before and after the race!

DH Dash – 10k – Nashville, TN

I love racing in Nashville. I may not win many (or any) races in Chicago, but I’ve won 3 out of the 6 races I’ve ever run in Nashville. This was a pretty small race, but the course was really challenging and cool.

I was alone (although I did have a lovely bike escort) from the time the gun sounded until I crossed the finish line. The course is a lollipop with lots of large and steep hills. I ran 35:03, beating 2nd place by more than 5 minutes.

The highlight of the race was having all of my family there, and running with Drake, Harper, and Riley after the race on the infield of the track.