Race Goals and my worst idea ever

It is time to start stalking the weather forecast and packing my running gear, because race day is just a few days away. It is such a relief to know that regardless of how amazingly or how poorly the half marathon goes, I have a nice training break coming up.

For my final week of training I put in just 35 miles of running. My not-quite-a-tempo-run was 6.3 miles at 8:01 pace on Wednesday. I was not feeling particularly confident about my race following this run because my goal pace is 7:37 and it was a struggle to break 8:00 this day.

My final long run, however, provided a solid boost of confidence. I ran the first 10 miles as a progression run with the YRC group run. I kept to my own pace for the first 3 miles then slowly started ratcheting up the pace and passing runners. I finally managed to catch the lead runners at a traffic light with about 3 miles to go. I let them set the pace for the final miles which were all squarely in the sub-8 range. It was challenging, but manageable. I ran an additional 2 miles on my own to cool down for a total of 12 miles.

Race goals

  • Set a new PR (currently 1:42:20)
  • Break 1:40
  • If all else fails: make it to the finish line for free beer!

My strategy will be similar to the strategy I used for Capital City last year. I plan to line up a bit behind the 1:40 pacers. I plan to stay conservative for the first 3-5 miles, then spend the rest of the race slowly picking up my pace, hopefully managing to catch and pass the 1:40 pace team.

My Worst/Best Idea Ever

I don’t have any race plans lined up for 2017. Which is absolutely crazy. After Saturday I will be training plan free almost an entire year. I’m still planning on the Disney World Marathon in January 2018, which means training starts again in September 2017. I know myself too well to believe I’ll make it a year without a training plan, but with school I’m just not sure what to sign up for.

I was checking out some marathon training books at the library and somehow ended up leaving with an ultra marathon book. I figured maybe sometime in the far, far future, but a little advance research never hurts. Then I Googled “Michigan ultra marathons” just to see what my options might be. I found a 50k on my birthday next year. As in January, just a few short months away. As in trying to train through my first semester of classes which I’ve already proven is quite difficult. Andplusalso: it is a trail race (never done one), it will be winter (hello, snow), and wasn’t a marathon hard enough (yes it was!). So many reasons to say no.

But…

How amazing does 31 miles to celebrate my 31st birthday sound?

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13 thoughts on “Race Goals and my worst idea ever

  1. Honestly, I think that even if you don’t run a good time on Saturday, you will feel great getting that medal. After all the stress you’ve felt in trying to juggle training and life, I bet finishing this race will provide a sense of closure and relief even if it’s not a PR. My advice is to just forget about the time and try to have a good run so you can end this year of training on a strong, happy note. If you PR, awesome, if not, that’s okay too – there will be other races. That said, I really do believe you’ll do great and try not to read too much into the runs where you can’t go sub-8. I’m sure you’ll feel better with some taper and rest under your belt.

    Your crazy idea is pretty crazy, not gonna lie. But I can certainly understand the allure of 31 on 31, I mean, that opportunity will never come around again!

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    • The sense of closure is definitely something I am looking forward to. I am already starting to feel it a little bit this week, because now there is no point in worrying about missing a run. It won’t have any affect on the race and I know my time was better spent studying.

      The weather has improved drastically for race day (high of 80s has dropped to high of 60s!) and I’m starting to feel a bit more confident about my training. Here’s hoping it’s a good day for me!

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  2. The 50k is a pretty crazy idea… but it seems so perfect, so I don’t blame you for wanting to do it!

    One thing about an ultra as opposed to a full marathon or even a half marathon is that the training tends to be much lower intensity, especially for a trail one where walking/hiking is expected during the more technical spots on the trail. And if the focus is on completing the race as opposed to racing it, it puts a different spin on your training.

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  3. 50K in Michigan in January – what could go wrong? On the plus side it would be an unforgettable experience. I agree with Katie – ultra training is all about time on your feet and knowing when to walk to save energy and the vibe at the races is so much more chill, but it is a pretty big time commitment. But then 31 on your 31st….

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  4. Oh, it’s so funny you bring up the Disney World Marathon. I was just on the runDisney website last night looking at races. I haven’t done a runDisney race in a long time, but I am starting to get the itch. Do you know, is this year the last year for Wine and Dine? I thought I had read that somewhere but I can’t find any other info about it. Maybe I made that up!

    31 for 31 sounds like a pretty exciting idea! Would your most intense part of training coincide with the end of the semester though? That could be tough depending on what your exam period is like. In my program we didn’t take tests, we just wrote long essays which were pretty time consuming and draining. Then again, I seem to remember that the semester often ended pretty early in December? So maybe it wouldn’t affect your back to back long runs too much!

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    • They changed Wine & Dine this year. It used to be a half marathon at night but now it is run in the morning like the rest of the runDisney races. There was a fall 10 mile race (Tower of Terror 10 miler or something) that ended a year or two ago, so maybe that is what you were thinking of? My sister runs like all of the runDisney races so I get to hear all about them. [and obviously you want to sign up for the Disney World Marathon in 2018 so we can hang out at the finish line!]

      Yes the highest volume of training would coincide exactly with the end of the semester. I don’t have any exams, but I will have large projects/papers to complete for each class. I would start my taper right about the time that classes are done. It is definitely not ideal and I am almost certain I won’t be signing up for this race. It was fun to entertain the idea, but I don’t want to spend the next few months feeling guilty every time I miss a run (which so far seems to be about once a week). I’ll save that guilt trip for next year when I’m trying for a birthday BQ.

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  5. I say DO IT!!! Lol but I’m a bad influence and recently jumped to ultra. Agree focus is less about racing so that helps make the decision. Not to mention I was considering 34 for my 34 just a few weeks back so I’m completely on board with that and completely jealous lol

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  6. Wow. 31 on your 31rst sounds completely awesome!
    I know you think you probably wont sign up, but at least continue to entertain the idea for a bit longer. You never know, maybe training will help decrease your stress load with school….
    Keep us posted with what you decide, but do remember—YOLO!
    Also best of luck this weekend at your race. Trust the process and don’t worry about things out of your control ( i.e. The weather )
    Have fun and roll with it!
    Looking forward to the recap!

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  7. In case you’d like to head to Toledo again – there are more Glass City Marathon race Ambassadors this year, so more chances to win free bibs for all distances!! Keep an eye out for that in the next few months. My giveaway will be the week of 11/7/16, and others will be before and after that. Who can say No to a free race, am I right?? (well, I sure can’t)

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