In the last week I have run three short distance races, all with something good to take away from them. Last Saturday I ran at the first annual Jammin' Jamaican Run in Wells, MN. I ran both the 5K and the Mile race there, winning the mile and placing 4th in the 5K. It was a cross country style race, something I hadn't done in almost 3 years! It proved to be a great challenge for me but it was a lot of fun to try it again. The course proved to be fairly slow with a number of 180 degree turns and a few hay bails to hurdle so times certainly were not very fast. I ran an 18:57 in the 5K and 5:39 in the mile but running hard and competing in a different style for me was a very good experience. The best part for me was to be able to spend the weekend with a great friend and his family. It was great to get away from the routine of my summertime life in the Cities and to just forget about all the other things going on.
The week concluded with me running 75 miles, my highest of the TCM training so far. I'm planning to hold steady around 70-80 miles per week for the next couple weeks before ramping up to close to 90 miles per week. I've never done that before so we'll see what my body can handle.
The third race of this past week was on Wednesday night in downtown Minneapolis. It was the annual Torchlight 5K, run just prior to the Aquatennial Torchlight Parade down Hennepin Avenue. I've run this race 3 times before but not since 2004. When I finally arrived and parked, I barely had enough time to run to get my BIB and my shirt at the Basilica, get back to my car, change and get to the starting line. I got to the line a little frustrated because I didn't feel like I was able to warm-up the way I wanted to but I couldn't do anything about it. The horn blew and I took off flying off the starting line. There were thousands of people lining the streets cheering, and thousands of people running as well. I went out way too fast and I paid for it on the 3rd mile but ultimately it worked out. I ran a 17:41, my fastest 5K since my last college track 5K over 2 years ago. I felt the legs start to burn at the start of the final mile which told me I was definitely pushing the pace. I finished somewhere in the top 60 but since this was a fun run, no official times were kept and no places were recorded. I don't know exactly how many people ran but there was at least 4,000 to 5,000 in it if not more than that.
My next race now is a more serious race for me, a half-marathon in Mora, MN on August 15th. It will be my best test so far to see how my training is going for me. I'm looking forward to focusing on my training for the next 3 weeks without any racing interruptions though. The races are a lot of fun to do and good opportunities to test myself but they can sometimes throw off the training of a given week. I have some interval workouts coming up as well as some very good tempo workouts and of course some quality long runs. I'm doing a long 16-17 miler in Stillwater tomorrow morning with a friend of mine, Mike Reneau. It will be a good hilly long run which will also be a good workout for me, above and beyond just running the long distance.