It’s almost here!!!! This was my last big week of training, now time to sharpen up and get ready to fly. I raced a 5k on Tuesday and am feeling good about Chicago!

Monday: 8 miles, 63 min, AHR 141. Ran during lunch. Great idea. I don’t do this often because there’s no shower available. But the weather was pretty cool and it fit into my schedule — and by that I mean I wanted to sleep in but I didn’t want to run after work, haha. I ran from my office downtown to the waterfront and across the pedestrian bridge into Indiana. Turned around at the sign honoring my friend Amanda’s state track and XC titles. Dork. Just missed getting a popsicle on the way back but got a green tea instead. The rest of the day flew by!

Team NB Lou/Team PBT!

Tuesday: Let’s go racing! The Gaslight 5k holds a special place in my heart. 11 years ago, it was the first 5k I ever ran — I used the original couch-to-5k plan from (where all the cool kids originally had their online training logs and we used a lot of message boards). I remember so much about that race and yet nothing at all. It rained, I wore an orange jacket, I finished in 27-something minutes. I had hoped to run under 30 minutes which was completely arbitrary. I thought that might get me an AG award (at age 21, it certainly does not).

Despite living near this race for much of the past 11 years (I think all but 2009 and this year), I haven’t always run it. A Tuesday night can be tricky, you know? Mr. Chic and I ran it in 2013, and I ran it last year. Last year I hoped to win and celebrate my 10th runniversary. I did not. Last year I also ran this race in hot temps on the heels of a 76-mile week, too, and ran a half marathon that weekend.

Okay, so this year. Same as last year — no taper, just racing instead of a Tuesday workout.

With the last of Irma blowing her way over Kentucky, it was about 70º, kinda humid, breezy, and thinking about raining. Just warm and humid enough that a drizzle would be nice, but cool and windy enough that a downpour would be unwelcome. I loaded up every clothing option possible and drove to the race. I met up with another New Balance Louisville AND Personal Best Training teammate, Amanda, and headed out for a warmup. We both had 3 miles so might as well run the course, right? I had way more time than I expected to, changed to my flats, and got in another .40 doing some strides and just jogging around.

This race always has a lot of kids, and they always line up right at the line. Unfortunately this race also uses a timing mat that’s not super-long and an inflatable arch, so it is tight. I started in the front anyway, because I’m a jerk. Whatever, at least I didn’t push anyone.

My plan very generally was go try and hit 6:15s, although my real plan was to do what had to be done to get the W.

Downhill start so I went out way too fast. Two young girls — seriously, I mean elementary aged — went out ahead of me. This generally results in an explosion around 800m and a slow fade the rest of the race.

Mile 1: 5:58. Yikes. Too fast.

Hit the hill around .75 and climbbbbbb to about 1.1. I used to live by this hill and avoided it basically always. One of the young girls is gone, the other is running up ahead and keeps looking back. She’s also carrying her cell phone in one hand and blaring music. Well, okay then. Not going to come in second to that, bless her heart.

I catch Lil Bit around 1.25-1.5, at the water stop. She’s running to one side of the course and I’m on the other, and I’ve been listening to her suck wind since the hill, so I go for it.

Running through the finish.

Mile 2: 6:18. Okay. Back where I expected to be, and good recovery considering how much too fast I was. Heading into the last mile, I take advantage of a couple of downhills but keep pushing. I’m not paying much attention to my watch. Just trying to GO. Because there’s a couple downhills, there’s a couple uphills. The last up is at 2.67 but there’s some crowd support again and I know there’s a straight shot at the finish coming.

The last turn is at 2.85 and I’ve peeked to make sure there are no girls close. I make the final left and start to press on the gas.

I can see the finish clock ticking around the 18:30s and I tell myself to just go go go and try to get under 19.

Last .10 in 26 seconds, 5:04 pace.

18:58, 6:09 pace. The win and only my third time under 19 — and in the middle of a peak training week. That was a good feeling crossing the finish line. That’s the feeling I’m chasing every time I line up to race.

3.5 mile cool down with a big group, basically ran the course backwards. So yeah I ran the course three times.

Wednesday: 6 miles, 48 min, AHR 141. I was able to run with a friend in the afternoon. Then I got a massage, and then I taught Pilates. The result of this sequence was that I was even more sore.

Thursday: Craptastic day. Long day at work that was supposed to be not that long. Didn’t run in the morning but clearly should’ve. Didn’t go at lunch but should’ve. Got surprise work dropped on me in the mid-afternoon. Couldn’t run before Pilates, then had Morgan’s agility class. Bollocks. Ran when I got home … at 8:30 p.m. UGH. On a positive note, I grabbed a veggie wrap at the gym after class so I had dinner before agility. Basically ran, showered, went to bed. Crazy life I lead. 8 miles, 59 minutes, AHR 159. Moderate effort + strides, think my HR was elevated just by the time of day and the stress of the day and running so late.

Friday: 6 miles, 48 min, AHR 145. Another lunch run from the office. I explored a bit of path I didn’t know existed. It was hotter than I anticipated. But, allowed me to split the difference between sleeping in and recovering before Saturday’s long run.

Saturday: Last 20 of the training cycle, 2:35, AHR 144. I asked Coach if we could go 20 two weekends in a row since I’m racing the next weekend (which would’ve been the last 20). On the alternating weekends I usually have a shorter long run (14-16) with speed work mixed in. So Coach updated my schedule to 20 this Saturday … but left the speed work in. Wait a second.

I figured with warmer temps (go away summer) and speedwork, it’d be a good day to do a full gel practice. I usually do my long runs without nutrition for glycogen depletion adaptation. For this run I took one Hammer Gel before and carried three, although I only took two. (I like to have a backup.)

First 8 easy pace, 8:10-7:47. Then 4×1 mile at marathon effort with a mile at usual LR effort in between, 7:11, 7:01, 7:05, 7:00. And then easy the rest of the run, 7:37-7:49.

This felt harder than it sounds on paper. I stopped more than I like, needed more water. It was warm and humid and sunny AF, especially the last 4 miles back to my house into the sun.

But hey, it’s done!!!!!

Sunday: 6 miles easy with a friend + jog stroller, 49 min, 135 AHR. Tin Man stiff.

I sort-of get a 3 week taper now except I have to race a half marathon next weekend.

Totals: 64 miles run, 2 Pilates classes taught.