Tag Archives: musing

When training takes a back seat

Sure, this could be a post to say that I haven’t kept up with my goals, that I haven’t stuck to my plan and earnestly recommitting myself to my half marathon plan with just a month to go before I toe the start line at the Pittsburgh Half Marathon nice again.

But that’s not necessary, because despite not writing about it, I have been running. I haven’t missed a single workout through the entire training plan. I just haven’t been writing about it. And rather than getting all tearful and “dear diary” about it, I’m just going to admit I’ve been plenty motivated without the blog. So when I say in my title that training has taken a back seat, I really just mean that it’s not up front, arguing with me about directions and whining for bathroom breaks. It’s in the back seat, getting to the destination. Along for the ride.

I’ve had some great runs these past few weeks, mostly in the form of my increasingly-brutal, wouldn’t-miss-it-for-the-world, speedwork each Thursday. Last one was 4 mile repeats at a pace I didn’t think I could hang for a 1/4 mile, never mind 4 mile long intervals. My tempo run, this coming Thursday is set to be among my longest, fastest runs yet; 5 miles at 8:56, very near my targeted race pace for the Pittsburgh Half.

My weight loss broke another plateau this week and I’m down in the 205-210 range; approaching the normal BMI range for the what seems likely to be the first time since college. I am struggling with some issues surrounding that weight loss and my feelings about it; something I want to write about more soon.

Ultimately all this unabashed good news in the areas of health and fitness is, like I said, riding along with a lot of career/work concerns that are really steering the ship. My boss announced he was leaving his current position at the beginning of March, and the time since then has been a tumult of speculation, application, interviewing and rumor as my colleagues and I all grasped at something that’s been rather sparse of late; a big opportunity to advance. Without running, I think I’d be handling myself with less grace and composure right now. I’ve gotten some great thinking done on the 5 mile runs that dominated my plan this week, and I look forward to the control of my situation that running gives me every time I step out the door.

My goal for tonight is not to let this one languish in the draft folder, so forgive the rough edges. 4 miles tomorrow. 26 days to the Pittsburgh Half.

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.