Wednesday, November 30, 2022



I ran into someone recently that said they had read my Superior 100 recap. Given that that race was over 3 years ago, I went back and read it too. All this happened to coincide with a spark of motivation on my end. Honestly, since that race I have been in a lull athletically. I’m not exactly sure why but I have some theories;

That race took a lot out of me.

That race was the pinnacle for me – I really don’t think I can top that experience.

Covid happened about 6 months after that race.

I trained through Covid pretty well, but virtual races didn’t appeal to me.

I’m in my 50s and have been running for over 40 years. My relationship with the sport has definitely changed over time.

I’ve been helping coach high school cross country and track the last 3 years – placing a lot of my time and energy on their performances.

I’m sure the list could go on and on, but these come to mind immediately. Anyway, this spark of motivation has me thinking about a race schedule and some goals for 2023. And I thought I would write about the process along the way – maybe it’ll help me define this relationship with running and how it’s changing.

The last time I blogged regularly, I’m sure I was very interested in who was reading, how many people were following along, wondering if anyone commented, etc. Given that society has moved on to digital platforms that are more visual, this may be more like a personal journal that nobody reads but me. I’m ok with that.

Just to catch up since the Superior 100, I can probably count on 2 hands the number of races I’ve run since September 2019. I ran Grandma’s Marathon in June of this year and finished in 3:48, which was my 2nd worst marathon time ever – out of 21 road marathons. Prior to that it had been 6 years since I finished my last marathon, 3:27 and my 3rd worst ever.  

A month after this year’s Grandma’s Marathon, I jumped into a 10K ran just under 48 minutes (7:42 pace). It's hard for me to get overly excited about racing when those are my performances. Then we had 2 weeks in Italy where I didn’t run a single step. September was okay, but then I got Covid in early October. Then something surprising happened, I entered a Thanksgiving Day 8K with little to no expectations, and I ended up running rather well.

Before I get to the results here’s a look at my 6 weeks of training leading up to the race, after Covid;

Running; Averaged 22 MPW

Long Run; 10 miles

Workouts; Two 3-mile tempo runs – avg ~ 7:40-7:45 pace

Biking; Averaged 33 MPW

Lifted; 1-2 times per week

Weight; Down 6-7 pounds since Grandma’s

As I said, I had little to no expectations. Given my two tempo efforts, I figured 7:30 pace would be a good goal, somewhere in the 37-38 minute range. I ran this race in 2016 in 33-something (6:46 pace). In the “old days” I’d have been concerned with every mile split and analyzing whether or not I was going to hit my goal. This time around, not really having a goal, I just ran. I focused on my thoughts and competing and let the time take care of itself – what a concept?!?! The only time I saw the elapsed time was coming into the finishing chute where I was pleasantly surprised to see 35:XX. I never saw the exact time and results weren’t kept, but my GPS said I averaged 7:12 pace, which would be about 35:50 for a certified 8K.

Utter shock might be a good description of how I felt. But then as I thought more about my (lack of) goal, I’m guessing I was being a little conservative. I mean I did run a controlled 3 miles at 7:40 pace by myself. But the thought of 2 more miles at 30 seconds per mile never crossed my mind. When I got home, I immediately punched those results into an age-grading calculator and pace calculator to see what other race times would be predicted.

Age-grading is one of those tools I used to poo-poo before during 40, now I find it a useful tool. Typically, my race results are around 70% age-graded. For comparison Grandma’s 2016 was 64.5% and 2022 was 61.7% - even this summer’s 10K was 64.5%. When I punched in 35:50 for a 53-year-old and saw 68.5% I was thrilled. Not only that, but the pace calculator converts this time to sub-3:30 for the marathon. Granted, I have a lot of work to do before my next marathon to hit that time, or faster, but it’s a little easier to get out the door when you can see that as a goal rather than starring at 3:48.

This is already getting long, so I’ll save my 2023 plans, goals, strategies, etc. for a later date. For now I’ll just be happy if I can remember how to get this posted to my blog.

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