Ready to Race

I haven’t raced since the Brooksie Way Half Marathon in early October and realized that I’ve really missed racing during the last several weeks. I’ve been running regularly, doing speed work and tempo runs, going for long runs, running at different paces, etc., but I haven’t been training for a specific distance or race. My wife and I recently decided to run a 10K in a couple of weeks, and even more recently we entered a Turkey Trot race that takes place this weekend…we tend to enter shorter races like 5Ks and 10Ks at the last minute. We found a Turkey Trot with a 5K and a 10K that are run separately (the 10K starts an hour after the 5K) – there’s also an “Iron Turkey” option to run both races. Of course we picked the Iron Turkey option, thinking it’ll be a fun challenge. Well, it sounds fun until I start thinking about racing a 5K and then racing a 10K less than an hour later! And I’m sure it’ll feel slightly less than awesome during the last half of the 10K. But I love a challenge, and this will be a great way to find out how well I’ve maintained my fitness since the Brooksie Way. I’m especially looking forward to running the 5K because I only ran a couple of them during the summer and I feel like my recent speed workouts have gone fairly well. I’d like to get a PR in the 5K portion of the Iron Turkey, so I’m planning to run the 5K hard then seeing how it goes in the 10K. I’m running another 10K the following weekend, so if the 10K portion of the Iron Turkey doesn’t go well I won’t have to wait long to try for a better time.

The recent weather has been great for running on the local trails.

But the frosty mornings are a reminder that many of the trails are going to be snow covered and nearly impossible to run soon.

As I mentioned, I’ve been keeping up with my training and trying to get in a good variety of runs at different distances and paces. Since the Brooksie Way, I’ve run distances from about three miles to 12.5 miles. I’ve been pretty happy with most of my runs and very happy with a few of them. I went for a pretty easy 10-mile run last Saturday and then an impromptu nine-miler on Sunday (I didn’t know how far or fast I’d run until I got going) – Sunday’s run was one of my best training runs yet as I ran it slightly above 10K pace but felt like I didn’t have to put forth nearly as much effort as I normally would to maintain that pace over that distance. My long runs have gone well, and I’ve been happy with my recent speed work. The weather has been all over the place…for example, the temperature around here has dropped about 20 degrees since yesterday. In addition to reminding myself that we’ve been lucky it hasn’t gotten colder and stayed colder sooner, I’ve been trying to look at it as a great opportunity to practice my cold weather layering skills (which need a lot of practice). On a shoe-related note, I’ve been using the Brooks PureFlow regularly, alternating them with the Launch for longer runs and with the Green Silence for shorter runs and speed work. They’ve been great and have continued to work very well for everything from 400-meter and 800-meter repeats to long runs. As I’ve put more miles on them, I’ve continued to feel that they’re very comfortable and versatile shoes.

I like running by this swampy area along one of the local trails.

I’m looking forward to racing this weekend and will be curious to see how it goes running two races starting an hour apart. Track athletes might do things like that fairly often, but unfortunately I’m not a track athlete and (to use a cliche and make a brilliant observation) I’m not getting any younger. In the short term, I’ll have another 10K to look forward to soon if the 10K portion of the Iron Turkey this weekend doesn’t go well. In the longer term, I’m still debating whether to try my first marathon in the spring or fall next year, and once I get that figured out I’m sure I’ll spend way too long deciding which one to try.

Happy running!

Are you racing this weekend? If so, at what distance(s)?

If you live in a cold-weather climate and normally run outside, have you started running more miles inside yet or are you still running outside as much as possible?

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4 Responses to Ready to Race

  1. Ali Mc says:

    nice pics & post. I have never run in winter this will be my first. I will actually shoot a question at you – I just got running tights and I am wondering if I should’ve got some /w thermal fleece in them instead as these ones aren’t very warm??? thoughts?

    Congrats on signing up for a race. I’d race all the time if I could afford it. I even have a “donate to let Ali race” button on my page lol oh well. My next race isn’t until March but it give me something to work towards.

    Good luck on your 5k PR I’ll be interested to see how fast you run it….I’m sure you’ll smoke the 10k too :D

    • Matt says:

      Thanks, Ali! My running tights are the thin kind – I haven’t tried ones with thermal fleece in them. I haven’t used tights yet this year; I think the coldest temperature I’ve run in this fall is 33 degrees (F) and I was fine after a few minutes of running that morning. I used to wear tights for anything under about 40 degrees, but I found that my legs don’t seem to be too cold once I get going, so now I usually wear them when it’s near or below freezing. However, I think it’s a matter of personal preference and some people might be much more comfortable wearing tights when it’s warmer or wearing thicker/lined running tights. The biggest problem I’ve had with cold weather running (last winter and on the cold days so far this fall) has been very cold hands even when I’m wearing gloves. I’ll probably get some thicker gloves or mittens soon, and will also wear lightweight gloves inside the thicker ones if necessary. I wish there was an easy answer about the tights and other cold weather gear, but it’s mostly personal preference and it can take some trial and error to find the right gear and decide how to layer it. I’d give the running tights you got a chance for a few runs and see if you warm up a bit after a few miles. If they’re still too cold, then I’d definitely consider getting some warmer ones.

      I know exactly what you mean about the affordability of racing often. On the many weekends lately when I haven’t raced, I’ve gone for a long run…I figure that I’m saving money while building up for future races. It sounds like you’ve had some nice runs lately, and I’m sure you’ll be ready to kick butt in March. :) Thanks for the well wishes – I hope to do well in both races Saturday, but I’m not sure how wiped out I’ll be right after running the 5K! If I’m too tired or sore, I’ll just treat the 10K like a tempo run.

  2. I’m kind of glad that I didn’t sign up for the iron turkey. Feels a little daunting now. I’m sure you guys will do well with it though. So glad your shoes are working out well. Ryan is looking into getting the pure connects. I’ll look for you guys tomorrow! If I don’t see you before, good luck to both you and Janet :)

    • Matt says:

      I was nervous about it and it was definitely daunting, but it ended up going well for me. My legs are definitely feeling it now though! I’ve heard great things about the PureConnects – I was really interested in them, but they’re just too narrow for my feet. Nice job today! It was great seeing you and Erika – sorry we didn’t have a chance to chat with you more.

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