It is crazy how the year has almost come and gone. The fall running season is coming to an end as most of the big races and along with them the opportunities to attain many of the running goals that we all set for ourselves almost 10 months ago.
With that in mind I have started looking back at my 2013 goal and have developed a new mantra that I am hoping will propel me forward – “There’s always next year!”
Let’s take a look at how I have done on attaining my goals I set for 2013. In 2013 I set 5 primary goals for myself which included:
Participate in a Multi-Sport Event
- Break 40:00 in a 10K
- Place 1st overall in a race
- Break 3:00 in a full marathon
- Get under 160lb
Participate in a Multi-Sport Event
The area in which I live has quite a multi-sport community. Multi-sports (i.e., duathlons and triathlons) are something that folks really seem to get into and frankly I have been somewhat intrigued about getting involved with such things for the last couple of years.
The reason I have not gotten involved is because well, when it comes to running I know more about what I am doing. When it comes to swimming and biking – not so much.
I guess another reason is that when I have watched multi-sport events in the past it really seems to be a bicyclist’s sport as opposed to a runner’s sport. I am also super cheap so getting involved with cycling and all of the performance equipment just sort of seems a bit pricey compared to picking up a new set of running shoes every once and awhile.
Even though I had the best of intentions on doing the Power of Pasco Sprint Triathlon in Pasco, WA in August, it just did not happen.
In a slight twist of irony, the day the Power of Pasco Triathlon was held, I just happened to be running along the Columbia River where I actually ran into the event. I was doing a 20 miler and the course I was running just happened to intersect with the course for the running portion of the triathlon. A number of runners merged in with me on the path and I ran with them for around a mile before we went our separate ways.
I think when the runners intersected with me I would have been in 10th place and I managed to pass a couple of them before they hit their turn-around point and I kept going. So technically I “participated” in a multi-sport event even if for just a bit… That counts right? Yeah, I did not think so. I guess I am 0 for 1 so far.
Break 40:00 in a 10K
The 10K is the one race I have never given much focus to. When I was running in my youth I was focused on the shorter distances so the longest thing I ever really did was a 5K. I did do a 10K one time as part of the St. Patrick’s Day race in Kennewick, WA back in like 1991 but that should not count. I had no idea what I was doing and remember taking off like a bat out of you know where thinking this was a 5K or something. I am sure I was doing fine if it was a 5K, problem was it was not. The second half I remember being horrible and getting passed by all sorts of folks. I do not remember my time but I think it was somewhere in the 42 minute variety.
More recently I have focused on only longer races and typically a half-marathon is my shortest distance though I did jump into a couple of 5Ks recently. I did a 10K in the spring of 2012 up in Moses Lake, WA but it did not go well. The race rules were that you could not use headphones so that meant no iPod for me. Turns out I am pretty dependent on the tunes… I totally hated listening to myself suck wind the whole race and I just felt sluggish the whole race. I ended up getting like 40:30.
Spencer and I traveled up to Snoqualmie, WA to run the Railroad Days 10K in August. This was no ordinary 10K either; the Railroad Days 10K also served as the Pacific Northwest Track and Field 10K Championships so all the big boys were there.
How competitive was this race? Well, let me put it this way, Uli Steidl who won the Masters Division at the 116th Boston Marathon in 2012 (15th overall and the 5th American with a time of 2:23:08) got 4th in the Railroad Days 10K. The winner ran the 6.2 mile course at an average pace of 4:56 per mile. Ruth Perkins (2012 US Olympic Marathon Trials Qualifier) from Club Northwest won the ladies 10K.
With a field like that I figured that as long as I did not do anything crazy that I would achieve a sub-40 minute 10K. When the race took off I tried to convince myself that I just needed to keep things under control. My first mile was a 6:08 which felt a little fast so I told myself to try to hit the next one at around 6:20 and try to just keep it there the rest of the way. That is basically what I did crossing the 5K mark at around 19:29. I just kept staring at my watch trying to keep myself to not go too fast and keep a pace that was slightly under what I would need to break 40 minutes.
I ended up finishing the race in 39:02 which was good for 2nd overall in my age group (35-39 year old). I guess I found the sweet spot in a very talented field because let’s just say I would not have done nearly as well in some of the other age brackets.
It was a pretty cool race and Spencer also did very well setting his 10K personal record!
Looking back at my goal tally, I am now 1 for 2 in terms of meeting my 2013 goals…. Pretty good for baseball but no so much for goal achievement.
Place 1st Overall in a Race
This is where the story starts to go south. I have not won a race in a long time. The last time I won an actual race it was a mile race back in high school – I do not think the 1.5 mile fun run at a church picnic in 1997 counts. I have gotten to a point where I am fairly competitive in my age group but I would like to outright win a race just one more time. It would have to be a race that was not super competitive so I am not sure how realistic this is but it would be nice to achieve.
I came close on this one back in August when I placed 2nd overall in a 15K trail run in Hermiston, OR. I was 2nd overall or 2nd to last depending on how you wanted to look at that race since there were only 3 entered. I ran that one as a modified tempo workout so I was not really anticipating a winning effort.
In September, two weeks before the Leavenworth Marathon, my company was running a fitness promotion so they were sponsoring any employee who wanted to run the Indian Summer Half Marathon or 5K with a free entry. I figured it might be kind of interesting to see how I could do in a 5K while in pretty decent shape and treat it as a tune-up for Leavenworth. The added bonus – the winning time for the 5K in 2012 was 20:49 so I figured I had a decent shot at an outright win.
That was until Joe Sheeran from Club Northwest went blowing by me about 200 meters into the race. I knew I was in trouble when he past me and I thought, “Hey, isn’t that the guy that I always read about in the Northwest Runner magazine?” I was right, I was in for trouble alright.
Joe ended up winning the race in 17:54 and I was a little over a minute behind him so no danger of actually winning there.
The real downside came when I started feeling a lot of tightness in the bottom of my right foot after the race. It got worse throughout the day and by the evening I was actually crawling room to room. I had a marathon in two weeks – what the heck!
I took a few days off and by Tuesday I was able to walk fairly normal again so I decided I should try running on it and did not make it more than a half of a mile before what felt like an ice pick in the bottom of my foot started. I walked home and tried again Wednesday with a somewhat similar result.
I decided to not run at all until Saturday and if I was not able to run then and run for an appreciable distance I had no business in running a marathon the next week. When Saturday rolled around I was able to run. I felt a lot of tightness in the bottom of my foot and it was not a pretty sight but I was able to run. I was able to slowly make it through a longer run so I figured I would rest it up the next week and try to give the marathon a shot. What is the worst that could happen right?
So goal wise, where do I stand – 1 for 3 I guess and one big piece of advice to anyone who will listen – do not run a throw away 5K two weeks before a goal marathon…
Break 3:00 in a Full Marathon
This is the goal I really wanted to go after. I have a personal best of 3:03:22 so it is not out of the question to get a sub-3:00 but it would take a lot of work and seeing as I am not getting any younger I have a finite time to hit this one before nature takes its course.
Really would have been ideal to have hit a sub-3:00 at Boston in 2013 but if there is one thing I learned running Boston is it is race to be enjoyed as a reward as opposed to one to stress about finishing times, PRs and whatnot. You can check out how Boston went for me and I also plan to go back to Boston for the 118th Annual Boston Marathon in 2014.
The 2013 Leavenworth Marathon was supposed to be my real shot at the sub-3 hour marathon but with that darn foot injury I was not sure was going to let it happen.
There were several of my friends who were running Leavenworth including Spencer who set another personal best this time in the marathon distance!
The one thing about the Leavenworth Marathon is that the first 9 or so miles are downhill and that ended up being an important factor for me. I started off well in the race and figured that I would just try to run at around a 3-hour marathon pace and see what happened.
I hit my first miles 7:06 and I felt some pain in the bottom of my foot. I had not really run at a faster pace since I hurt it 2 weeks earlier and I certainly had not run on a hill either up or down. The pain stayed there until about mile 3 or 4 and went away for a while. After the first mile my pace started to pick up a bit and I ended up crossing the half-marathon mark at around 1:28:50.
At that point I had just moved from 6th to 5th place in the race and was on pace for a personal best. The problem was, that stinking foot thing came back with a vengeance when I got to the bottom of the hill at about mile 10 at which point the course transitioned to a rolling horse trail for a couple of miles. That aggravated my foot and it was now very noticeable.
By the time I made it to mile 18, my foot was really starting to hurt. It was very similar to when I first hurt it and felt like I had an ice pick being jabbed into the bottom of my foot. I thought about what to do for a little over two miles and unfortunately at just over 20 miles I had to call it a day. No sub-3 hours, no personal best, and no finisher’s medal. It kind of was not a whole lot of fun but at the end of the day it probably was the right call since it took me almost a week and a half before I could move pain free again.
I had planned to run the Dog Lake Marathon two weeks after Leavenworth since well I figured I would have had a reasonable shot to fulfill my other goal of winning a race in that one. Since I had just barely got to a point of being able to move again and I had my training so interrupted with the in recent weeks, I figured that I had no business running the Dog Lake Marathon so I skipped it. The winner ended up finishing in 3:17:08 so yes I would have had a real shot for a win if I had been healthy. Again, NEVER run a throwaway 5K right before you have more important races to run!
Racking up the tally I guess I am at 1 for 4 in achieving my 2013 goals which now, even in baseball terms, is not very good.
Get under 160lb
So what do I reasonable have left? Losing weight that is what!
As I noted in my About Me page, I originally got back into running in an effort to lose weight. Stature wise I am a hair under 6 feet tall (5’ 11.5”) and I am consistently reminded that this does not round up to 6’ 0” no matter how much I want it to.
Back in the mid-2000s I put on a little too much weight. I guess it was all of the good southern cooking while living in Virginia coupled with the stresses of work and a pretty sedentary lifestyle. In 2006 I managed to hit 222 lb and that was about all I could take. I started trying to eat a bit healthier and get more physical activity.
Can I realistically get to 160 lb in 2013? Well, I guess it depends on which of my bathroom scales I use. I have one that is more forgiving than the other one. In reality the less forgiving one is the one that seems to line up with the one my doctor uses. If I used that one as my official weight, which I will, I have got quite a bit to go to get under 160 lb.
Weight loss does not comes as easy as it did and I know there are some changes to my routine (both diet and exercise) that I need to incorporate to reach that goal. Time is running short and the holidays are coming up quick so can I reach that one or not? I guess you will have to check by with my in early 2014.
2013 is almost over and very realistically I will have only achieved 1 of my 2013 goals. I have been starting to focus on structuring 2014 goals and with that I will just have to revisit my new mantra – “There’s always next year!”