Peak Week

It's here, you guys!  I'm in Week 15 of you know what (oh shit Hanson's, I had to).  It's the last big week before taper... although for the Hanson boys this isn't your granddad's taper.  More on that to come.  But this is my last big mileage week - the one that will include a 16 miler on Sunday (last one of those), several 6 mile easy days, one strength workout (today: check!) of 9 miles with 3x2 mile repeats, and one 10 mile tempo that's right I said TEN MILE TEMPO.  Will net out at about 55 miles.  I'm excited.  

Some wrap up for the past week or two:

 

 Farmland running is pretty

Farmland running is pretty

I've been doing every Saturday run out in a different far suburb after my daughter's XC meets.  First I watch her and her teammates kick butt in their race, then I find whatever forest preserve or nature path or bike loop is nearby and there almost always is one.  I get in as many miles as I can before it's time to drive home.  This all takes some juggling with her schedule and the rest of the family, and has made for some pretty interesting slash uncomfortable runs (when I take off on a long hot 8 miler without water for example).  Plus I'm always nervous I'll get lost way out in the prairie.  But I always seem to make it back and it's been a nice break from the lakefront path.

 

 Fall leaves, water fountain, happy girl

Fall leaves, water fountain, happy girl

Above is me at the halfway point of my biggest strength workout - last week's 2 x 3 miler at 9:34 (race pace minus 10 seconds).  I felt like I rocked it, and I was super glad to see this tree in full autumn foliage when I stopped to wash down a gel with some water.  Can't believe I could hold that pace so comfortably for so long.  This training has gotten me so much stronger.

 

 Seen at XC meet.  I approve this message

Seen at XC meet.  I approve this message

No photos of my Friday tempo runs because I am all business on those.  But they have been good - tough but good.  I've chosen to go south on the path even though it's a trickier route, some footing stuff and hopping up and down curbs, the underpass, etc.  I wanted to prep myself for all of that in the race while still holding race pace.  I've also been practicing taking my gels at 4 and 8, while running, then hitting a water stop when I come across it.  I can't really practice the cup water thing, but so be it.  I'm happy that I can nail race pace for nine miles.  On Friday I will bring that to ten.  It's probably the most important run of the week, and I'm glad I'm teaching my muscles and mind this pace so that I can memorize it.

 

 Rupp city!

Rupp city!

Last Sunday was a fun running day.  Chicago marathon!  Had many friends running it but unlike past years where I cheered them on from about mile 9 near my house, this year my oldest and her XC team were manning an aid station right at mile 24-ish.  So I was up and out early with her, got her set up down town, and then did an El train / crazy cross town dash (cutting across two separate streams of runners) to try to catch the leaders entering the west loop.  Then ran downtown several miles just in time to watch Galen Rupp bust it out for the lead - in the video (not shown) I am screeching at him to "go get it" and he listened to me!  Won the race, first American in a long time to do so.  Almost as impressive as Jordan Hasay's 3rd place in 2:20... amazing.  It was so fun to watch them up close and then hit the lake front path for the rest of my 10 mile run.  I was a little too amped though.

 

 Breakers 

Breakers 

Tuesday's strength workout was made more interesting by 20 mph winds and light rain.  I think I got a headwind going north and then south or maybe it was just wind all over the place.  Nailed the paces, though.  3 x 2 miles @ 9:34, with some WU and CD.

And if you think I don't pick up the pace as soon as this comes on, you don't know me that well:

 

PS: it's Friday now, a couple days after I started this entry, and earlier today I did my first 10 mile tempo run (12 total).  WHOA.  That was a really tough effort, last two miles especially.  I had to dig deep.  I'm also semi-amazed at myself.  (And can't stop thinking that if I'd wanted to train like this when I was 28 I could have put up some good marathon times.  Oh well.)

Also, saw this on a fence post when I stopped for a quick water fountain visit.

 I know I said I don't take photos on tempo days.  But this called out for a photo.

I know I said I don't take photos on tempo days.  But this called out for a photo.