This Sunday is the Hot Chocolate 15k. It's my fourth time running it. It's the first race in a long time where I've been able to stick with my training plan pretty closely, and I was feeling good about it. My paces for my speed workouts and tempo runs have been much faster than my training plan called for in fact, since I had input my results from my last race (the Chicago Women's Half) which was tremendously hot and humid, but it's gotten a lot cooler since then.
I think I finally have the hang of how to work the Runners' World Smart Coach training plans so they work for me - a lower mileage range but high intensity. I naturally push myself hard, but I can't always get in all the miles, just from life conflicts.
I was feeling good about this and then I got a cold at the beginning of this week. I still wasn't worried - just a cold, after all, and plenty of time until race day - but yesterday did not feel good. All I can do at this point is rest as much as I can today and see what tomorrow brings me.
My first goal, as always, is to run a "smart" race, depending on the circumstances of the day (such as being sick), but also one where I feel I left it all out there. My second goal is to break 1:30. And my third is to just take as much time as I can off my PR (1:32:30 in 2010).
I'm excited about the course, we'll be running a lot of the trail but not until the second half (so hopefully the crowds will thin out by then), plus some time on both Michigan Avenue and Lake Shore Drive. The race finishes heading north into Grant Park, so the usual challenging uphills right before the end. But I'm familiar with them at least. I think they've finally worked out the logistics of the sheer number of people (+40,000); yesterday's packet pickup and expo was MUCH better organized than it's ever been in the past. I'm trying to work the start corrals so that I don't spend a lot of time waiting around in them - my initial assignment had me at the end of the first wave which would mean nearly an hour of standing around. I've requested to be moved back (so I can start at the beginning of the second wave) but if need be I'll just show up late. Everything is chip-timed as it is, and I know from experience that I'll be spending the first mile or more just trying to get free of people, so I'd rather do it after 15 minutes of standing around than an hour.
More after Sunday!