I feel like I’ve moved from the realm of casual runner into a more a serious category. The year started off with some fairly intense training for a sub 2 hour marathon attempt in May. That training included the beginning of this blog as I wanted to document the workouts and my thoughts on them and it provides accountability.
Several mistakes were made. Number one: whereas may is the start of the road racing season in Indiana, my home for the better part of 37 years, in Arizona the longer races are non-existent. Something about it being too hot or something. I had to accelerate the training plan by a month to run a race in Illinois on one of my weekend treks back to Indiana. This proved difficult along with adjusting to a new job, a new relationship, and life in the desert I didn’t do the best job of sticking to it. Although I didn’t do too badly either. The main problem came as the race approached I got a cold that turned into an extremely high fever on the plane ride to the Midwest and respiratory infection #1 for the year.
During the training for the half I ran in several races. I know that a lot of the more serious distance runners, especially the longer distances advise against it but I find it helps me to stay motivated. Speaking of motivation. I found a group to run with in the Embrace Your Pace group.
It’s a great bunch of people. I started running with them after asking about groups at the local running store. Tortoise and Hare Sports and just showed up not knowing anyone. They where all very welcoming and have a very wide variety of paces from the very fast to the more leisurely. They welcomed me and treated me as if I’ve been running with them for years. And several, ok most, of the them are a little nuts. A lot of them run triathlons, several marathoners, some super fast 5k runners, even some folks doing ultras. Even with so many doing very intense running they are still incredibly approachable and willing to help anyone.
I had never even dreamt of doing a triathlon but between these guys and coach V I did my first sprint tri. Still not sure what I think about them but I’m willing to try again.
Over the course of the summer I mostly ran in a 5K series that had a race every other week. I peaked out mid series with a 24 minute time. Not super fast but I was happy with it.
At the end of the summer started marathon training and respiratory infection #2. Another round of antibiotics and prednisone for the win! It did slow the start of training down a little bit but after a few days on the drugs I was able to really get going. I chose several races along the training to coincide with some of the long runs.
This was the most intense and consistent training that I have done for a race since high school. I had the “high” goal, as Somone would put it of running a sub 5 hour marathon and the fallback of being under 5:30. The training went well and several of the races during the training went very well. My best half marathon time came at the Craft Brew Half of 2:29 and a grey and drizzly morning. I had signed up for the race 6 days before the run after my 20K run was canceled due to weather. I set out with a goal of 2:30 so I was really happy with the result.
I also completed the Spartan trifecta by running the Beast while marathon training. If ever there is a run that will test your endurance and grit it’s a Spartan Beast. Between the elevation changes and the obstacles it was kind of grueling. I believe the marathon is still a more mentally tasking races but the Beast was good prep.
A week before the marathon respiratory infection #3 struck. I went into the doctor faster this time and once again got antibiotics a prednisone. He was confident that we could get it cleared up before the race although I was still concerned about some to=f the lingering effects. The last couple of weeks before a marathon is suppose to be pretty easy running. Its known as “The Taper”. I’m not very good at it. Its hard when you have been running and building for the past several months to not go out a run much. It probably didn’t help that the tapper was at the beginning of high school soccer season. Officiated 8 games in the week leading up to the race. Keep in mind that a soccer game has me running between 3 and 6 miles per game. It’s all stop and go but still not really resting.
On Race day I was feeling good and really surprised myself in the first half of the race. The second half was a grind but coach V and Jeannie where along the route to cheer me on and I sprinted the last quarter mile.
I’ve been told most of my life running that if you can sprint at the end you weren’t working hard enough during the race. I don’t believe that. My ability to push and sprint at the end has nothing to do with how much energy I have left or how much was expended in the last 25.9 miles. I’m a sprinter. Always have been and always will be. There is a surge of adrenaline and endorphins that hit my like a freight train when I turn the last corner and can see the finish. No matter how exhausted I am I can always get my legs to go back into the 400m dash form and go. This has resulted in several collapses once I’ve crossed the line but my brain can always out rule the fatigue if the end is near.
I planned to take a couple of weeks off running to let my body recover from the marathon but I’m about as good at that as I am the taper. Trying to rest and recover during the height of soccer season doesn’t work very well. Then just when Christmas break starts and I have nothing scheduled for a couple of weeks…respiratory infection #4! Because why not finish the year with another one.
This time we are getting serious and having things tested to figure out why I keep getting these.
I also learned a lot about running. From the mechanics that are involved to nutrition and how caffeine effects the body an hydration. I’ve also learned how much I still don’t know but I’m working on that.
2018 was a good year running. 22 races, including the marathon, a Tough Mudder with my friends and a Spartan Trifecta.
El Jefe hosted a goal setting event where several of us gathered and talked about where we wanted to be in a year. Not just fitness related goals but life in general. Somone lead the group discussion of goals and dreams by having us write out 3 to 4 ideas of where we wanted to go in 2019. She encouraged us to have a personal goal, a professional goal, and a fitness goal. We also talked about high goals and low goals.
The high goal is the ideal. The where you truly want to be or accomplish. These should be obtainable but a definite stretch to do it. The low goal is along the same lines but a less of a stretch. For example in the marathon I mentioned my high goal was under 5 hours and my low goal was 5:30. While I didn’t get my sub 5 goal I was still very happy with the 5:20.
We also talked about what is motivating us and how those motivations help drive us to get our goals. And that if our goals and motivations don’t align it likely that we won’t get our goals. This is why most New Year resolutions fail so quickly. They don’t align with what motivates us.
So, my high goals are to pay off my consumer debt, credit cards, car loans, etc. and 25% of my student loan. Without going into details this is a good sized number.
Now for fitness. I’ve got some big plans Actually, my goals go beyond 2019 to 2025. I want to qualify and run Boston by the time I’m 45. This year the qualifying time for the 40-45 age group was 3:15. So, I’ve got my work cut out for me. BUT, I have a plan! Well, it’s the start of a plan. This year is to get my 5K time to sub 18. Its faster than I’ve ever ran a 5K including when I was in high school cross country. Its an aggressive goal but I feel like the main issue I have right now is speed. If I can get under 18 I’ll also be looking at finishing in the top of my age group. Even when there are more than 3 people in it.
The 2020 goal is a 10K under 40 minutes
2021 is a half under 1:30.
2022 a full marathon under 3 hours.
That is the ideal progression. Although I’m ok if the 1:30 half doesn’t happen until 2022 and the full in 2024. But I want to be in Boston on Patriots Day in 2025 or sooner. Its aggressive but I think its doable.
The low goals are just scaled versions of the high goals. Pay off the consumer debt and a 5K under 20 minutes.
Then the hard part. How am I going to do this?
The financials sound easy. I plan on going out to eat less, taking my lunch to work instead of buying it in the cafeteria and reffing as much as I can. The eating out less has the extra benefit of eating a little healthier which will help with the fitness goal. And while I don’t make a whole lot from reffing its more than I had and definitely helps.
As for the running.
I’m actually contacting a coach to get a little bit of help with how to go about doing this and I’ve got some people at my gym, El Jefe, who are going to help hold me accountable and check on my progress as the year goes on I’m viewing health as a part of this goal so figuring out why I’m getting sick all the time will be very important this year..
So here is to a new year of running. I hope that everyone has an injury free year and that you beat all of your goals, and not just the running goals.
Until Next Time…C-YA!