2003 started out great. I was doing 50-60 miles a week on the treadway in Jan and Feb. By the middle of March I peaked for the year at 75 miles per week. I ran a 5K off of peak mileage at the Blarney run in Tosa and ran around 17:50 or so, not bad for me but not great. Then I got sick. It wasn’t serious, just a cold that became a minor respiratory infection but it was bad enough that I wasn’t going to run with it. When I got back after 4 weeks or so off my legs were tight. I wasn’t stretching and that probably contributed to the tightness. Seeing no chance at reaching my goals for my spring race, Sara’s stride a 5K, I lost motivation. The fact that my legs felt tight also caused me to back off the running. Over eight weeks I ran a total of 56 weeks and got way out of shape.
By the middle of March, with the weather becoming better I refocused my attention on running. I decided that I’d have two goals, to break 17 at Tosafest a 5K in September and to once again shoot to break 2:50 at Lakefront in October. Training went very well. I ran with a group at Hart park on Tuesdays and in the Kettle Morraine on weekends or with the Badgerland Striders buildup down at the lake front.
I ran a few races while not being in the best of shape but they went well. At the Firecracker Four mile I ran a 23:32. At the Superun 5K in June I ran a 18:26, 3 seconds off my time from last year. In August I set a 10 mile PR at Cudahy with a time of 1:01:42. The week before Tosafest I ran the Strider 20K as a training run, shooting for 6:30 per mile and hitting 6:25 per mile. It was supposed to be a mp run. It was difficult but doable.
At Tosafest it was a bit warm and humid, I thought my chances of breaking 17 were gone. However, it’s a very fast downhill course and I ran my best race of the year. I had cutback for the week and felt rested and fresh. It was good competition and I ended up eighth overall, first in my age group (35-39) in 16:55. Lots of good memories from this one, my best race in a long time. Unfortunately, this was to be my peak for the year and it wouldn’t last long enough.
At Al’s Run we had a very nice day. Officially, I ran a 28:02 even though the clock said 27:59 as I went under it. Still, I was happy with the effort, I scored for our team and we won the team competition. A very good day.
I nailed just about every workout leading up to Lakefront. All the tempo runs were fast enough or faster, all the track workouts plenty fast. The only problem was that I died a bit on some of the long runs and went into survival shuffle mode at the end of some of them. Still, I felt good about my chances. The weather was perfect at Lakefront, nice and cool with a bit of a tailwind.
I got off to a good start and was running with a good group who were all shooting for 2:50. I went through the 1/2 at 1:25:30 or so and still felt ok. I crashed hard the second half and ended up with a 3:08.
I rounded out the year with a decent performance at the Lakefront Discovery 15K in early Nov, averaging 6:02 per mile. I finished the year with a forgettable 10K up in Madison at the Jingle Bell run in Dec, running somewhere around 39:27. I’m starting to get back into shape having run 50 miles last week and shooting for 55 miles this week.
Needing a break from the marathon after three disappointments, I’m going to focus on base building and shorter distances such as the 5K and 8K this spring. Perhaps in the fall I’ll get the motivation back to try a shot at the marathon. I’d like to build up to 80 miles per week. I almost got there last year. For the 5K I’d like to break 16:50 and 28 in the 8K.
Overall it was a great year. I set a few PRs at 5K, 8K, 4 miles and 10 miles. Also ran a 10K and 15K for the first time so a couple more PRs there. Once again a disappointing marathon. Most importantly, I got to run with a bunch of great people including the crew from Hillrunner. It was nice to be with you guys and I look forward to running with you in the future.