Saturday, March 31, 2007

New 2007 Goals -- and a Race Report

ORN: 5km race, 25:07, 7:58/mile

I’m a goal-oriented guy. I’m sure this explains why I enjoy my job in manufacturing management and my hobby of running…both lend themselves to understanding pace, timing, overcoming obstacles and hitting goals.

In 2006, my goal was to do a sub 2 hour half marathon and finish a marathon. I did both, twice. The subsequent obstacle was the injury to my right ITB that somehow crept in during the ramp up to and/or the running of the Portland Marathon last October. When it came time to set 2007 goals, I was disoriented, not knowing what to do. In what felt like a “reach for the stars” at the moment, I
wrote on January 1 my 2007 goal:

Run the half-marathon distance on two consecutive weekends, pain free.
Only if I could do this would I allow myself to set other goals for the year.

But how to achieve this first goal? In January, I recalled a statement
Darrell made during our two days together last December. He described his early marathons and how he made it using a plan to “run a mile, walk a minute.” This single statement by a friend was the entire start of my thinking about shifting to a run/walk plan. I started reading extensively from Jeff Galloway, trying to understand his plan for the run/walk. It made sense. It seemed to help.

I also needed new shoes, and
WADDLING steered me to a super running store in the Chicago suburbs, where I got into some motion control clodhoppers shoes.

Amazingly, this combination of a new running plan and shoes to control my overpronation has worked. And now it appears certain I’ll hit my goal. Part one will happen on April 28 when I’ll run 13.1 on my own, followed by running the
OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon on May 5.

So where next?

The new goal is to complete two target races in 2007. First, will be the
Sunburst half marathon in South Bend, Indiana on June 2. My objective is to do this under 2 hours. I ran it in 1:53 last year; I think sub 2 is a decent goal for this year, given the run/walk strategy.

The second target race is
Rocket City Marathon on December 8 in Huntsville, Alabama. Nothing quite so romantic as Huntsville in December, I know, but my motivation for this race goes deeper than the obvious starry-eyed road trip it will be. Mostly, it revolves around the calendar. My ITB caused me to miss all the fall running last year. The weather is lousy here most of the year, except the fall. All my long runs for Portland were in August and early September…ugh. So, I wanted to shift the joy of training into the best part of the year.

Interestingly, it may also work out to run this marathon with
Wes, as this may be a goal race for him as well. That would be fun! There is a lot of time to set this up. Of most concern is a possible work conflict on the day before Rocket City. If that happens, I may run in Memphis on December 2. But my clear preference is Rocket City…it is supposed to be a super race, not too big, not too small, flatish and the date is right.

So, the strategy to hit these goals? As I’ve dug into Galloway’s books, I’m going to go with his plan. I’ve been amazed at how much speedwork he builds into his plan, even with regular walks. Lydyard’s training pyrimad is also central to his plans. I’ll probably write more about this in weeks to come, but I’m sure encouraged to date. Suffice it to say, though, I’m on a 2 hour half marathon plan right now, targeting Sunburst.

Which is why I ran a 5k race this morning. I hate 5k races. Way too short. Way too fast. Lots of hassle for 20+ minutes of racing. Yet Galloway pushes using these as extended speed work and also “reality checks” for actual race-day pacing. Since I’m learning from Galloway, I went along.

The race today was actually not a 5k race, but rather a 15k race at the local YMCA. It’s the third in a spring series building to the Mini in Indy. It consisted of three 5km loops in the neighborhoods around the Y, identical to the course I ran
a month ago for 10km. Galloway’s pace said I needed to do this in 25 minutes or less (7:56 pace) to have a shot at a sub 2 half. So, I gave it a go. For $5, I got a chance to run with competition, which I knew I’d need to get under 8.

The race went well. I set my Garmin to the “training partner” mode and targeted 3.15 miles in 25 minutes. I know 3.15 miles is longer than 5km, but I also know my Garmin is a little “short.” We took off and I kept the pace pretty steady. Splits came in at 7:54, 7:48 (downhill) and 8:16 (uphill), with the final .15 at 1:08, a 7:41 pace. I could tell on the last mile that my conditioning is still not fully back; I could feel the legs get sluggish. Yet, overall it was a 7:58 pace and I only missed my target time by 7 seconds. A month ago, I ran this same course on a 3/1 R/W ratio at 9:30/mile over two laps. This morning I ran it straight for one lap, pushed myself and did 7:58 miles. Encouraging.

As I left the course, I realized I could have actually had a measured 5k had I paid attention; I actually ran about 80 yards farther than the 5K distance. So, perhaps the total time was a tad better. No worry…I found out what I wanted to find. And, got done in time to go help a friend move furniture into a new house.

Many thanks to my blogging pals for listening to me for the past few months. Big thanks to Darrell for the simple reminder of run/walk that got me started on this new strategy. Big thanks to Waddler for pointing me to a good shoe store to get my feet less floppy. Wes and I may end up having as much fun this December as Darrell and I did last December. We’ll see.

And, in any event, we will persevere.


Wes said...

Nice plan Joe! I'll go ahead and register for Disney, and if things work out for you, I'll be there! Running a Sub-2 half marathon requires a 9:09 minute pace, so I'm not really sure where you are coming from with this sub-25 5K business, but it sounds like you researched it really well, so I'll take your word for it :-) I'm also dying to hear your interpetation of the run/walk method, since I follow that myself. Nice job on the races!!

Jenny, Maniac #401 said...

Way to go Joe! I ran my first half last May in 2:00 exactly. Then Portland in 4:29 walking 30 seconds at each mile marker past the 5 mile point, till 25 then ran it in. I am now trying to figure out a goal for the Eugene Marathon which is supposed to be fast and flat. Last week's sub-3 hour 20 miler has me thinking, but I don't know if I'd be able keep that pace for the last and most grueling 6.2. So I'm not ready to make any goals.
Good luck with training, sounds like you've done your research!

Sarah said...

I like how you've really put a lot of thought into your goals! One reason I started focusing on races earlier in the year is that I didn't want to have every summer weekend committed to running. Awesome job with the 5K. I'll have to try one of those. Although around here its hard to find a $5 5k. And I can't see paying much more for 20+ minutes of running. : )

susie said...

Encouraging? I'd say fantastic. Well done!

Backofpack said...

I love a good comeback story! I think your comeback is remarkable and am thrilled to see you racing, training and planning again. Way to persevere!

Darrell said...

That's a sweet little comeback race there, Joe. Good for you. It is good to read that achieving your 2007 goals is back on track. I'm not sure I deserve the credit but I'm glad the run/walk is working out for you.

David said...

Having goals you can believe in is a good thing. Planning them well is even better.

WADDLER26.2 said...

Great plan!!! And what a comeback! I'm so glad you are feeling good and looking ahead. I'll be cheering for you!