Tag Archives: goals

One thousand miles

Good morning and happy 2012 everyone!

Stephanie and I are staying with our friends Chuck & Annette for our annual NYE bash with a huge group of my oldest and dearest friends. As a result I had the synchronous and satisfying experience of finishing 2011’s running right where I started it. With a 5 mile total out and back yesterday, I rounded off 2011 to almost exactly 1,000 miles. At 4.5 miles (where I hit the mark exactly, by my estimate) I was emerging from Schenley park, at the foot of the hill where Annette and I ran a few miles to start off the year, doing laps of the track on the Overlook, the Cathedral of Learning looming seemingly at eye level, as emblematic of Pittsburgh as the crazy hill arrangement that makes such a view possible. When I hit that point I cheered and shouted, though I was alone, and no one was around to share it with. I was thinking, in my heart, of my excitement to share it with all of you.

Logically I know there’s nothing more magical about 1,000 miles than there is about 999. But as with every milestone, (5k, 10k, 10 miles, 13.1 miles) the meaning is in our curiosity about them. I will tell you that among the people I told at the party, which was immodestly too many, not one asked “Why 1,000?” We all seem to understand the fascination with round numbers.

I hope that everyone out there had as good of a 2011 as I did. I will keep writing (and running) in 2012.

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Off to the races

I haven’t run a race since my 5k on my birthday in July. That seems unusual, given how this part of the year is packed with road racing, and blessed with great weather. It’s just how it worked out after I hit my 5k goal and started looking for Half Marathons that excited me.

Now, alongside the buildup of the fall marathon season, I have my fall half marathon season. The Brooksie Way Half this coming Sunday is my first ‘casual’ or checkpoint half. I’m running it to add a notch to my belt rather than to achieve something. Then, in the PR conducive weather of November, on the flat, fast roads of Ohio, I’m running the Stomp The Grapes Half Marathon. That is my target race, there is where I want to put the hammer down and run faster than a 10 minute pace.

Yes, my target for my next PR is set! I’m going to run a 2:11 or better. I’m comfortable with that goal, and think that, like all my other goals until now, that it’s achievable with only a continuation of my current fitness track. No need for a revolutionary change, or a huge stretch for this accomplishment. And considering that’s faster by over 30s/mile, I think it’s enough improvement for a six month period.

It’s actually hard not to get drunk on the heady feeling of improvement, to say, “Wow, I can do a 10min/mile half easily, maybe I should shoot for a 9/mile”. But I know in my heart that would be wrong for me, and wrong for my body. Running the amount I have has given me tremendous rewards, physical and mental. That has been, in no small part, because I’ve been willing to let the improvements come as they come. Speed, such as it is, has snuck up on me. Last Friday, for example, I gave my best effort to a Friday 5k, and ran a 25:29, a 5k pace I couldn’t even have dreamed of when I ran my first 5k a year ago at 38:24. So I will pass over the tempting elixir of overreaching, and kepe my head down and my feet focused on a 13.1 mile performance in 131 minutes.

To make this happen of course, it takes more than wishing to make it so. I’ve been following a 4 day/week training plan of one easy run, one interval run (alternating between hill repeats and Nx800 intervals), my Friday 5k (a sort of tempo run, 1 mile w/u, 1 mile c/d, 5k), and the staple long run on the weekends. The plan had begun with 5 days, but it was too much mileage, and my long run suffered at least one week because of it. Coming to today, only a few days before the checkpoint race, I feel good about the plan. Every long run since that rough week has been strong, with a 10min performance in my 13.2 a week ago. Conditions, good attention to course use.

All this said (and, written in ink, as it were) I will take the Brooksie this weekend as a bellwether race. If I get close to the 10/mile mark in this run, I’m going to have to revise my target, go faster, because Brooksie is known to be a ‘challenging’ (read: sadistic) course, with some serious hills. Short of a real explosion, I don’t *think* I’d revise my goal down, because based on that training run last week, I feel like a 2:11 StompTheGrapes is a realistic expectation.

Question: What am I going to do when all this weight is off, and my body stops seeing the dramatic improvement of cutting an athlete out of a sloth?

Answer: I’m going to be very, very happy. And keep running.

The Madness is on me

I was thinking of my week last week as a light running week, and it was, for this year. I was on vacation in the Outer Banks (OBX!) and mostly spent the week eating, drinking and ‘jellyfishing’ in the pool.

But I still ran almost 16 miles. Not bad for an ‘off week’!

I have 3 weeks now until my Solstice 10k. I have 3 goals.

  1. Safe: Beat my 10k split from the Pittsburgh Half Marathon – 1:05:06.
  2. Solid: Beat a 10:00/mile pace, 1:02:08
  3. Stretch: Beat 1:00:00, a 9:39/mile pace. 

I think those are as realistic as goals should be. I would be elated if I pulled off a 60 minute, but not at all disappointed as long as I beat the shadow of my half marathon split.

I’ve put together my plan, and will post it under the training calendar section soon. It’s only a 4 week plan, with my week of sloppy vacation miles to pad week one, but just having something to work toward gives me heart.

Next thing to do is to select more races! I’m keeping my eye out for 5ks, 10ks and half-marathons.