Review and Goals

 

20181114_145123

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

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..

3739_1538237531551

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!

 

 

PR and the Finishing Sprint

I FINISHED!

3922_1544923823087
Ready to Start…Sorta

I also set a new Marathon PR.  My previous best was 6:24 at the Chicago Marathon in 2011.  Saturday, on the most perfect day for running that I can imagine, I ran the 26.2 miles in 5:20:03.  Over an hour faster than my 2011 Chicago run.

While I didn’t quite make my under 5 hour goal I’m still extremely excited about the result.

1200px-Bank_of_America_Chicago_Marathon_Logo.svg

This was a very different type of marathon than the previous ones I’ve ran.  I’ve ran the Chicago Marathon twice and the Air Force Marathon at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, OH.  Those were much bigger races.  Chicago is one of the largest marathons in the world with around 36,000 people. The Air Force Marathon is smaller but still about 3,200 people.  Chicago is lined with people the entire coarse.  Air force isn’t as solidly lined with people but there is still a fair number and you go through a lot of neighborhoods. Both races are a lot of fun.AFM-Logo-Full-Color-No-Distances-super-small

Buckeye Marathon

The Buckeye is sparse.  Its very well staffed with volunteers and aid stations about every 2 miles.  But between the stations there is very little for most of the race.  The first 4 miles is through a nice looking neighborhood. Then there is a turn to the west and you stay on that road for the next 15 miles.  It is a road that has one main curve to the south and feels like its going through the middle of nowhere.  And its amazingly flat.  You can see for miles in all directions and see little in the way of civilization.  It kinda makes you wonder why its there.  Its a 4 lane divided road with little to nothing on it or near it.  Felt like the road that Field of Dreams inspired.if-you-build-it-1288x724

I paused my music for a little bit and just listened to the deafening silence and my shoes hitting the road for a little bit.  It was kinda nice actually.  I love running with crowds cheering and feeding of the energy of the fans yelling encouragement to people they have never met.  But there was something serene about the silence.  Very calming and peacefully.  I ran like that for about 2 miles before going back to my mix of Britney, Justin, and Pitbull.

3921_1544923819800
Me with the best support crew ever!

Ok, so more of a recap.  The first half felt amazing.  My half split was 2:22, which would have been a half marathon PR if I was running a half.  I had a small mental breakdown at mile nine, but pulled it back together to the halfway point.

Then I fell apart until about mile 17.  I just couldn’t seem to find a rhythm.  I eventually settled into an interval of .2 run and .2 walk.  The runs where still at a 9 to 10 minute pace, occasionally getting more toward 8:30.  I just couldn’t maintain it.  I tried slowing down to around a 12 minute mile but that was even worse.  Mile 22 my interval stopped working and I went to more a .25 walk and .15 run.  Every time I tried to extend the run I had very sharp pains shoot through my legs. Almost felt like an electric shock in my calves.

And then it came.  The ever elusive runner’s high.  At the Mile 24 marker I looked at my watch and knew that 5:30 was still up for grabs.  In 2 more miles I will have run my fastest marathon to date. And that triggered the endorphins.  My brain overruled my tired sore legs and I started running again.  Back in a .2 run, .2 walk.  The runs were getting down around 8:30 pace and the walks only slowed to about a 14 min mile.  Coach V was at the last turn which was about the 26 mile mark.  She said something encouraging about being almost done and joked about having a hard time keeping up because I was walking too fast.  And I basically said something to the effect of “Watch This!”

I let out a tremendous primal scream and took off at a dead sprint.  Every time I felt like my body wanted to quit I screamed again.  This was everything that was left.  I just let my sprinter brain take over and went.  I peaked out at a 3 min mile pace.  Yes, I have some speed when I want it, I used to be a sprinter.  Of course that was a short duration but still after a 26 mile warm up a 12 second 100 meter dash isn’t too bad. And if anyone reading this knew me in high school they probably aren’t surprised.

Afterward I felt great. As I said before I’m extremely happy with 5:20.  My legs where dead but I still walked over to thank the firemen and police at the finish that where helping with the event.  I changed into my post race kilt, fresh socks, different shoes, and the event shirt.  Pro Tip: Clean clothes feel amazing after a hard race like that.

Coach V took me to Texas Roadhouse for a post race steak and beer.  Possible the best steak and beer, Kiltlifter of course, I’ve had in awhile.  Of course that could be the endorphins talking.Buckeye Finish

I had a lot of random thoughts and musings including how to focus my training over the next several years.  However, I’ll save those for another time.

Until then…C-YA!