I think the older we get, the faster we used to be. I’m not talking about PRs. Like most runners, I know all my PRs by heart. I’m talking about all those other races throughout the season, and career, that aren’t run when you’re super fit.
I have all my race history written down somewhere. The problem is that it’s not in one convenient place. Anyway, after my recent 5K I started to wonder how that time compared to others I’ve run over the years. I remember one summer when I was racing a lot and I ran 17:40 and 18:15 within a couple of weeks of one another. However, I don’t think those courses were certified. After doing a little digging, I found out that that was way back in 2004. And in 2007 I remember running 17:52 at the Brian Kraft 5K. I was really fit the first 6 month of that year, leading up to my marathon PR. I ran a 37:47 10K and a 1:21:49 half before running 2:57:29 at Grandma’s.
So those are the outliers. What about all the other years? I know I didn’t run sub-18 any other years, but I must have been low-18s, right? Wrong! Just looking at times from the same race here’s what I found;
2002 – age 32 – 18:44
2004 – age 34 – 18:39
2007 – age 37 – 17:52
2008 – age 38 – 18:44
2009 – age 39 – 18:58
2013 – age 43 – 19:14
None of my other races were sub-18:30 - I was a little surprised by that. Of course, my 19:14 isn’t sub-18:30 either, but what if we look at my age-graded percentages over the years? It turns out that my recent race was my second best – only behind that great year I had in 2007.
2002 – age 32 – 69.25%
2004 – age 34 – 69.56%
2007 – age 37 – 73.89%
2008 – age 38 – 70.96%
2009 – age 39 – 70.57%
2013 – age 43 – 71.62%
I keep harping on it, but what I find most amazing is that I’m not running a lot of miles. I only had 151 miles in May, along with 25K of roller skiing and 125 miles of biking. Maybe placing more emphasis on cross-training is leaving me fresher, but I think my new diet has even more to do with it. I mean, when you’re lighter than you’ve been in 25 years, it’s going to have an affect on your race times.
As you can imagine, all of this has combined to fire me up. So I said what the hell and signed up for TCM. That happens to be 18 weeks from today. Long-time readers know I like Pfitz’s marathon training plans, one of which happens to be 18 weeks long. Normally, I’d shoot for the 70 MPW plan, but this time around I’m going with the 55 MPW plan because it includes 1-2 cross-training days per week, so I’ll be able to get on my bike or roller ski. Hopefully, that’ll help keep me fresh and motivated throughout the entire summer.
I don’t have a goal yet, but if you believe all the calculators out there, 3:05-3:10 appears to be the range I’m in right now. One of the downsides of WAVA is that you start to play with it and see what the possibilities are – or aren’t. For example, a sub-3 marathon for a 44-year old man equates to 73.45%. That’s means I have to get back into the shape I was in 2007 to even have a shot at that kind of time. Of course, that reminds me of the scene from Dumb and Dumber.
Lloyd: What do you think the chances are of a guy like you and a girl like me... ending up together?
Mary: Well, Lloyd, that's difficult to say. I mean, we don't really...
Lloyd: Hit me with it! Just give it to me straight! I came a long way just to see you, Mary. The least you can do is level with me. What are my chances?
Mary: Not good.
Lloyd: You mean, not good like one out of a hundred?
Mary: I'd say more like one out of a million.
Lloyd: So you're telling me there's a chance... *YEAH!*