Sunday, September 28, 2014


I'm running a half marathon in a week. I may have mentioned that. It's the first long race I've been able to take seriously, and train for with some consistency, in two full years. I'm unsure exactly what my goal is. I feel like I've been working out well enough, and I was happy with the Pepsi 10k result. But it's difficult not to let the cross country race creep into my mind.

In trying to decide how to taper for this race, I've sought input from a few different places. I've looked back at what I did in the fall of 2012 before the Chicago Marathon, I've talked to Dana (who coached me through that fall), and I've looked back at what I was doing with Greg before #RNR Philadelphia in September 2011 (where I set my current PR.) The week of the race in Philly, I did one two-mile on the track. I saw that when I was making my plan and decided that was what I'd do this week too. I didn't look at the actual details of that workout until just now.

At the time of that workout, my best times were 1:13:19 and 2:32:17 for the half marathon and full marathon, respectively. My PRs now are much faster, and I've run under those times multiple times since then: 1:10:51 (under old PR 6 times total) and 2:26:31 (under old PR 2 times total). Knowing that, I was still SHOCKED to see that my goal for that one two mile back in September 2011 was to run 11 minutes. I ran 10:51. That seems so slow! Granted, I was just trying to run 5:30 pace in Philly instead of 5:25, at least according to this. Also this is just one workout to look at, the week before the race. I'm not taking the time really to go back and look at the workouts before that, but I'm going to guess they were all pretty similar if my goal pace was only to run 5:30 pace. But for comparison's sake, last week I did a 2 x 3 mile, 1 x 2 mile workout where I went through the 2 miles in 10:58, 10:39, and 10:13. So I'm certainly working out much faster.

But then there is the doubt again. I don't have the base that I'd like to have, having only been running consistently since the middle of May, and even then, most of those runs over the last 120+ days weren't high-quality, they were just "learning how to run again." And I still feel like I'm learning. Like my body forgot. Philly had perfect conditions and tremendous competition. I got 84th place that day, and two guys ran under 59 minutes. I'm not expecting that next weekend. I doubt many guys will run under 70 minutes, and if I'm in 84th place, I've probably been hit by a car.

So there were big differences in my training. And there will be big differences in the result. I'm not even sure what my goal is. Workouts like the one I just described makes it seem like I should be thinking about a personal best, but then thinking about the big picture I feel like that is unrealistic. I suppose I'll find out in a week. But I really think that I can run faster than 10:51 this Tuesday morning.

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