Saturday, November 12, 2011

Looking Back And Looking Ahead

I started this blog on Wednesday, June 15th, 2011. Here is my first post:

Runners to your marks...

Goal For The Day: Start a Blog.

Another blog.

If history is any indication, I'll stick with posting for a few days and then forget about it for months. But I think that's the point of this blog... to break old habits.

Since 2001, I've run 16 marathons in 7 different states. For years, I've been trying to qualify for Boston. At this point, running the Boston Marathon doesn't even mean as much to me as reaching that magic 3:10 mark. I've come close a couple of times (3:15 in Cincinnatti 2010), but haven't been able to break that barrier. At times, I felt I was in shape to qualify but race-day circumstances made for a tough day. Other times, I've started my training with enthusiasm only to slack off in later months and show up to race day less than prepared for a 3:10 attempt.

Besides qualifying for Boston, one of my goals is to run a marathon in each of the 50 states. So far, I've crossed off Missouri, Illinois, Kansas, Ohio, California, Florida, and most recently Minnesota. I decided that I would like to run the New York Marathon and I'd heard how difficult it can be to get in. I knew that if you entered the lottery three years in a row without getting chosen, you're automatically allowed entry on the fourth year. So, this spring, I decided I should start entering the lottery so I can run New York in a few years. As luck would have it, I was chosen on my first try! In November, I'll be running the New York Marathon!!!

Several of my more recent marathons have been in uncomfortably warm weather. I have a hard time running in the heat and I can feel myself falling apart in the later miles of the marathon when the temperature is in the 80's. I'm assuming that the weather in New York will be cool in November (if not downright cold!) so I decided this is as good of an opportunity as any to really make a push for 3:10.

My hope is that writing in this blog will help me stay motivated four months from now when I'm putting in the serious mileage and having trouble getting out of bed in the morning to run. I plan to log my daily workouts and any thoughts or epiphanies I have during my training. Ideally, I'll cross the finish line in November and be able to look back at this blog as a record of how I finally broke the 3:10 barrier.

Today is the first time I've read that post since not long after I wrote it. I've posted over 130 times since then. Looking back over the past five months and reading my own thoughts from when I started my journey to New York, I don't think things could have turned out much better.

I talked about breaking old habits and sticking to a routine... check!

I talked about adding another state to my list of marathon locations... New York... check!

I talked about breaking the 3:10 barrier I've been chasing for years... check!

This is the first marathon that I can honestly say I've been completely satisfied with my performance. I've run other marathons that I could say I was happy with my times and I'm always happy just to finish. But I ran the Disneyland 1/2 Marathon last September and finished thinking I had run my best that day and wondered if I would ever have that feeling after a full marathon. I have that feeling after New York. I might have been able to squeeze another minute or so from the clock, but there wasn't much left out on the course. From start to finish, I feel like I ran a hard, smart race and I'm confident I didn't have more in me. That doesn't mean I won't go faster some day... I just couldn't that day!

I wrote about my time in New York in detail and I don't think that there's much left to say. I accomplished what I went there to accomplish. The experience far exceeded my expectations. I received an incredible amount of support from so many people, I can't begin to express my gratitude. I took on a new challenge and had an adventure I'll never forget.

So what's next?

Well, for starters, I went for my first post-marathon run today. I just wanted to get out, stretch my legs, and get back on the horse. I took almost a week off to just relaxed and today I took an easy run around Eureka.

My plan is to back off of the strict schedule for a while... probably through the end of the year... and just run when I feel the urge. I'm in that in-between time that has become strange to me... when I finish one adventure and haven't figured out what my next challenge will be. I have some ideas, but I haven't settled on anything yet.

I do have a couple of short-term goals to hold me over. One is a 5K on Thanksgiving Day. I'll talk a little more about that tomorrow. I'm also considering running the St. Louis Track Club's Frostbite Series. Without a specific event coming up, I know I'll slack off during the winter so the Frostbite Series will give me a reason to keep moving. Plus, it's always fun to race a series and I haven't run one in a few years. I'm looking forward to some short, fast races!

So, for now, I'm basking in the afterglow of New York but my mind is already tossing around some ideas for future adventures!

Goal For The Day: Easy Run.
Distance: 3.93 Miles.
Time: 28:41. 7:18 Avg. (7:04, 7:14, 7:26, 6:55*)
Route: Old Town Eureka Loop.
Conditions: 60 degrees. 3:29PM.

Notes: First run back following the marathon. Felt good to get out there again. Crazy how warm it is for November.

Daily Miles: 3.93 Miles.
Blog Totals:
  Run - 577.55 Miles.
  Bike - 144.45 Miles.
  Swim - 13,450+ meters.

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