Well hello there, it’s been quite a while since I’ve talked with you, hasn’t it? I was beginning to wonder if I would EVER get back to blogging (I’m sure some of you were too!), and then I realized that only I could provide the answer – all it takes is to sit down and do it…so here we go.
So what’s been happening over the last two months? A little bit of everything! March was the first time I actually reached my stated goal of running 100 miles per month, reaching 111 miles; I carried that on into April as well, racking up an impressive 122 miles. This included completing one of my personal goals: I ran my first ever ultra marathon, finishing the 50K at Brazos Bend Trail Races on April 28. I was very pleased with my time of 6:25:35, especially when I compare that to my 5:35 marathon just 90 days earlier – I felt strong; I was still running, not dragging myself along; I even had the energy to stay at the course and help the race director finish out the night, with our last 50-mile runners coming in at 14 hours and change….whew! That is some grit right there!
The month of May started off with a bang, as I set out to break the 50-minute mark on the 10K distance…and I did it! I have to give credit where it’s due: I ran into fellow former Chevron Houston Marathon Ambassador Emily Benton at the start line, and when she said she was also shooting for a sub-50, I jumped at the chance to have her pace me! She is an awesome runner, and I didn’t want to hold her back in case I fell short, so I told her I would follow along as best I could but don’t slow down; she didn’t either 🙂 I held close until about mile 5 and then I saw her start her final kick, leaving me in the dust! I held on to my pace, however and crossed the line at 49:20 – three full minutes faster than the year before on the same course! This had the added benefit of qualifying me for early registration at the 2015 Chevron Houston Marathon, which I have already done – no lottery for me this year, and you better believe I have a score to settle from last time!
After that peak I dropped off somewhat, as demands at the job began ramping up, causing me to miss a lot of workouts. There were things going on in our personal lives as well, with my wife undergoing a preemptive hysterectomy at the urging of her oncologist – she is still cancer-free and in full remission, praise be to God, but the genetic testing came back with a probability of ovarian or uterine cancer that was far too high for her (or my) peace of mind…she made the decision to retain control of her life and her body and I supported her 100% in that decision.
In turn, she was there to support me a few weeks later as I crossed off two more items on my goals list: I entered and completed both the Spartan Sprint and Super races in mid-month, and I now hold 2/3 of a 2014 Trifecta Medal. I never felt intimidated by this course, because I went in knowing I was going to do my best, no matter what the outcome – and that is exactly what I did! I did not accomplish every obstacle, and I had to do my burpees as a result (90 the first day, only 30 the second, and yes burpees still suck!) but I never had any doubt that I would reach the finish as a Spartan!!
In the two weeks since, I have taken “training” way down as I assess how well I performed, what I learned, what my next set of goals are, and what I need to do to achieve them. I have not stopped running, just dropped the volume considerably – 60 miles total in May – while I arrange all the other parts of the puzzle. I just bought a membership at a gym near my home (with extended hours during the week when I need them most) and invested in a personal trainer to help me focus on the areas I want to develop most – upper body/core/overall muscle mass. I have also begun researching several different running training plans, with an eye towards the best synthesis that will accommodate the varied goals I have lined up for the rest of the year:
- Run a sub-1:45 at the Houston Half Marathon in October (current 13.1 PR is 1:58, barefoot on a beach; did this course last year in 2:06, running in the rain, injured and in blown-out shoes)
- Complete the Dallas Spartan Beast in November, hopefully under 5 hours (I finished the Sprint in 1:16 and the Super in 2:29, so I think it’s reasonable)
- Complete the 50-mile distance at the Brazos Bend Trail Races in December, hopefully under 10 hours (I did 50K in 6:25, spending way too much time at the aid stations)
- Complete the Chevron Houston Marathon in under 4:30 (last year’s time was 5:35, but I am much stronger and smarter this year!)
Each of these in and of itself is a worthy goal; stacking them within a 90-day time span may be a bit
insane optimistic, but then again, they are somewhat progressive – once I get trained up for the first, I’m substantially where I need to be for the next. I also have a handful of smaller, fun races scattered in among these, to keep from being “all work and no play” – having already achieved the “14 in 2014” goal once this year, why not try to hit it again? (Check out my updated “RACES” page for all the details, I still have a few hopefuls to list on there once I have dates for them) Mostly I am having fun, sampling all the variety that running has to offer and enjoying watching my body grow and respond to the challenges…and after all, if it isn’t fulfilling and enjoyable, why do it at all?
What are your upcoming goal races?
Have you had to modify your training to accomplish them?
I’d love to hear your comments, we can cheer each other on!