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Race Preview: Santa Monica Summer Dash 15k

I am training for the Chicago Marathon in October.  More specifically, I am training for a PR in the Chicago Marathon.  Even more specifically, I want to run a 3:15 marathon.  To this point, my best marathon is 3:23 (I could have broken 3:20 on that run, but came out too fast - my half was 1:37 - and faded down the stretch.  That's a different story).  In order to do this, I enlisted the help of a training coach, my friend and fellow Girls Heart Rockets member Kate Kostal.  She has me running more miles than ever before.  I average in the 50s rather than maxing out at the 40s every week.  Another big difference- I am racing to prepare.  June and July were all about base building.  August hit me with the high mileage and got my cardio enduranced up there.  September is all about tuning, sharpening, and getting used to running while tired.  This includes several weekends of Saturday races, followed bu Sunday long runs. I will get used to a race routine, at the same time my body is getting used to this new form of punishment.

Tomorrow is my first race, a 15k along the beach in Santa Monica.  Its a small race, just 3 loops around a bike path next to the ocean.  The one wrinkle is that I have never raced this distance before.  I don't know what to expect.  My coach's advice on how to handle it:

"You want to think like you're in marathon mode. First patience, then calm readjustment to take care of any pace issues, then consistently grinding yourself to your goal or the wall (whichever you hit first), then damage control/second wind."  I am under strict instructions not to 'go for it'. Under no circumstances am I to go all-out until mile 23 in Chicago.  At that point, I can unleash hell (if there is hell left in me to unlease).  Until that point, I am to run to conserve energy.  If she logs onto facebook and sees that i spent myself on some sprint finish to beat someone in a race that doens't matter, it will be my ass :)

 My specific plan - I don't want to run my goal marathon pace, but I don't want to speed all the way up to my tempo/10k pace.  I will start out with a 7:15 mile, and try to hold that for the first lap. If I am feeling good, I'll drop down to 7:10 for the second lap.  I might go to tempo pace (7:05) on the third, or I may just hang out at 7:10.  This is of course, dependent on me not having a complete meltdown or a tired leg day out there.   It helps that this small race doesn't offer prizes.  I would be more inclined to run faster if there was swag invovled.  This way I can just finish, get my banana, and melt into the sunset.  

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