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Posts Tagged ‘Race goals’

Random fact about me: I’ve never paid for a race photo. I am just too darn thrifty and I’d rather put that money toward another race. They’re never the best photos of me anyway. Case in point, the free race photos from my last two races:

iCureMelanoma 5K

Downtown Anaheim 5K

I’m not sure what I was pointing to in that photo. Maybe I was signaling for help in catching my breath? Anyway I’m glad to have these free photos.

Training officially starts next week for the Revel Canyon City Marathon on November 7. This week was a transition week and I filled it in with an easy 5-mile run on Monday and a tempo run yesterday. Spell-check tried to correct that to “temper” run. I did almost have a temper tantrum because I was scared to run 3 miles at 7:46 pace, but I convinced myself to just get out the door for the two-mile warm up and then see how I feel. Two miles into any run I usually hit my stride and feel a lot better. It’s like my legs give in and say, “Fine, if you’re really going to do this, I’ll cooperate.” It went well and I tacked on another two miles of cool-down for a total of 7 miles.

Today the schedule said “Rest or cross-train.” I wanted a nap and was in fact resting on the couch but my six-year-old asked if we could do one of my workout videos. How did she know I needed some motivation? We did the Insanity – Cardio Abs workout. Perfect! 17 sweaty minutes. I really believe that strength training has made all the difference for me in racing. Not only does it help with injury prevention, it also helps maintain good form in those last miles of a race where the leg muscles need the support of several other muscles in the body.

Cheryl from Why Mom Runs is also starting training for a November 7 race, the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon. She laid out her race goals and inspired me to do the same. I always set out several goals:

1. Sub 3:55. The best thing about aging is bumping up an age group, and with that wacky Boston Marathon Qualifying math, even though I turn 44 in August, this is the year I move up to the 45-49 group for Boston 2017 and the qualifying time jumps from 3:45 to 3:55. I’ll take that advantage, thank you very much.

2. Sub 3:36:58. It would be nice to get a PR over my time from the 2015 Phoenix Marathon.

3. Sub 3:35. I’ve set my training runs/paces to hit a 3:35 time.

4. Sub 3:30. This is the in-my-wildest-dreams time. It would require perfect training, perfect weather, and perfect execution on race day, but it’s not completely out of the realm of possibility. In fact, if I plug my 3:36:58 time into the Marathon Time Converter from Find My Marathon, it says I could run Canyon City in 3:22:12, simply due to the advantage of the downhill profile of the course. But that comes with its own challenges. I am going to need to be careful about not going out too fast, not trashing my quads on the downhill, and not hitting the wall. Easier said than done. Plus I am taking a chance on a new training plan. I enjoyed the Run Less, Run Faster and Smart Marathon Training plans I used for my first five marathons, but this time I am going with the “Own It” marathon training plan from Train Like a Mother.

What training plan(s) have you used? What are you training for right now, if anything?

 

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My two younger girls and I hit the Revel Canyon City Marathon & Half Marathon Expo today at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Monrovia. Here I am sporting my race t-shirt, which I kind of love for the style, long length, and bold color:

Hm, I think I need work on my sign skills. I guess that's why they call me Angela, not Vanna, White.

Hm, I think I need work on my sign skills. I guess that’s why they call me Angela, not Vanna, White.

As you can see from the photo, I’ll be running the half marathon tomorrow. I hope to beat my PR of 1:48:02 from the Santa Barbara Wine Country Half Marathon last May, but if all goes well I would love to get in the 1:45-1:46 range. You can track me at this tracking link. Because we are running down the canyon for the majority of the race, the tracker will only post times at the 10 mile and 13.1 mile marks. I hope to be hitting an 8:00 minutes per mile pace or less.

That’s all for now! It’s 9:30 p.m. and I should be in bed for my 3:45 wake-up call!

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My goals rarely change for a full marathon. They’re pretty standard this fourth time around:

My “A” Goal: Qualify for Boston with a 3:45 or less.

B Goal: PR. My previous personal best is 3:52:42 from the 2013 Long Beach International Marathon (recap).

C Goal: Don’t bonk. Fuel properly.

D Goal: Enjoy the privilege of running on a beautiful course at Santa Rosa!

I know I’ve got my “D” goal covered. I think if I can accomplish “C” (fueling properly) then that will lead to “B” (a PR). Reaching my “A” Goal of qualifying for Boston would be icing on the race cake. [I wrote these goals down before I caught the cold my kids brought home from school. So far it’s a headache/sore throat cold and not a stuffy nose/chest congestion cold. Fingers crossed that it gets better and not worse by race day!]

You can follow along with the fun on Sunday morning starting at 6 a.m. PDT by plugging my bib number, 1573, into either the mobile or desktop RaceTec Live Trackers:

Mobile RaceTec Live Tracker

Desktop RaceTec Live Tracker

It should post results at five points along the course: the start, 8.24 miles, 13.1 miles, 20.2 miles, and the finish.

Wish me luck!

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It’s the Tuesday before my next big race on Saturday, a half marathon. I’m doing my typical pre-race freak out. By “freak out” I mean there’s no hand-wringing, no crying, no tantrums, just a mild case of pre-race jitters that has me asking — yet again — “What have I gotten myself into?”

After a year of focusing on the full marathon, I thought it was a good idea to pick a race that I could run for “fun.” For the location, for the scenery, for the sheer joy of running someplace new on a closed course. So I chose a race put on by “Destination Races,” the Santa Barbara Wine Country Half Marathon. It runs through the vineyards of Santa Barbara county from Santa Ynez to Solvang. Sounds perfect, right? Well, yes. I think it will live up to its claim of being a gorgeous destination race. There’s just one little problem: me. I thought I could sign up for a race for “fun” and not care about my finishing time. I thought I could be happy soaking up the views and not care whether I clocked a PR. I told myself that even if I did care about my finishing time, I could look at it as a race where I cared less about the finishing time itself and more about where that time put me in relation to the rest of the field of 40-to-44-year-old-women-who-chose-a-race-that-has-a-wine-stop-on-the-course.

Yet again, however, running and racing have taught me some things about myself:

  • I’m competitive, not so much against other people, but against myself. I do want to get a PR, and I do want to better myself in comparison to the field (not because I care about beating other runners, but because I revel in improving my overall performance).
  • I enjoy training more than I enjoy racing. One might wonder why I sign up for races then, but the fact is that I like having a goal race on the calendar. I like having a training plan that builds up to a race. I like crossing off each workout on the plan.
  • I take each race a little too seriously. I don’t race that often, so when I do race, I care a lot about how that race goes. I use each finish time to gauge how the training is going and whether or not I am improving over time. (I think these things are true about many runners, it just took me a little while to realize all this about myself).

So why the heck did I sign up for a race with an elevation profile like this:

elevation profile Santa Barbara Wine Country

Of course not every race is going to be pancake-flat and “fast.” And the hills are what make for some of the best views along this course. It’s just that if I care so much about my time, I probably shouldn’t have chosen a race with total climbing of 764 feet! I have no clue how to pace myself when the first seven miles are basically uphill and the last six miles are basically downhill. I could run by how I feel, rather than by the pace on my Garmin, but if there’s anything else I’ve learned about myself it’s that I would run a lot slower if I just ran by how I feel! I am a very poor judge of pace, going out too fast at the start and running too slow thereafter. I can run “naked” for the occasional training run but I want and need my Garmin for a race.

(Just for the record, don’t think that I have ignored the course elevation profile until now. I have been hill training specifically in preparation for this course. I live in the “Heights” for goodness sake — I have run a hill or two in my day. And I have been quite dedicated to the training plan. If you look at the calendar last month, I worked out on every day but one. Some of those days were 15-25 minutes of strength training only, and were “rest days” from running or biking, but I did some form of physical activity every single day).

I’ve been running and racing for three years now. During that time, I have only run two official half marathons, my first ever big race, the 2012 OC Half in 1:55:10 (smashing my goal of a sub-2 half), and a training run/race for a full marathon, the 2013 Spring Blast Half Marathon in 1:53:34. I ran the first half of the 2013 Mountains2Beach full marathon in an unofficial time of 1:51:01. I believe I am capable of a time in the 1:4x range, given the right course and given the proper training and taper before the race. And I need that 1:4x as a confidence booster to prove to myself that I am capable of training for running a Boston Qualifying time in the full marathon. To BQ with a 3:44:59 in the full, the McMillan Running Calculator says I would need to hit a 1:46:54 in a half.

Maybe the gorgeous views of the Santa Barbara wine country will help me fly up and down the hills to a PR, maybe not. What I need to do now is re-focus on my original goals for the race. I thought I could enjoy a race for the scenery. I think I can! I thought I could set aside the goal of a PR to focus on doing my best in comparison to the field. I think I can!

Do you ever run a race just for fun? Just this past weekend I ran the iCureMelanoma 5K with my 9-year-old, and I have to say it was a lot of fun to run with her and not worry about my own race time. But unless I’m running with my kids, I run for the “fun” of pushing myself to a personal best.

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As I sit here with yet another case of race jitters, I ask myself why I race. Why put myself through this if it makes me feel this way — anxious, nervous, exposed, vulnerable? Yup, if I had to choose one word, that’s how I feel: vulnerable. I care about the race experience and the outcome. I’ve put in the training time, I’ve paid my money, I want to see it all pay off. I’ve put my goal out there (race to the best of my ability, PR if I’m lucky, qualify for Boston someday). And I don’t want to embarrass myself or get injured.

But really, how could I embarrass myself? It’s not like anyone cares about my race time but me. It’s not like if I tripped and fell, other people would laugh. Quite the opposite, I’m sure. Family, friends, fellow racers, they would all offer sympathy and concern. So I why do I feel so vulnerable? I equate it to going up on stage to perform in a play. The actor has rehearsed for months and wants to do well. He knows if he flubs a line, it won’t be the end of the world. No one will throw tomatoes or boo him off the stage. His friends, family and fellow actors will still care for him, and they’ll offer sympathy. But he will still feel embarrassment, and a sense that he let himself down by not doing his best. And yet in spite of the pressure, he goes up on stage anyway, and makes himself vulnerable.

So why do I do it? Why do I race?

1. The challenge makes me grow.

2. Fear is a good motivator. I love to train, but sometimes that’s not enough to get me out the door early on a weekend morning for a long run. Having a lofty race goal on the horizon keeps me accountable.

3. The reward for putting oneself out there is greater than the risk of embarrassment or injury.

4. Every race teaches us something. A great race affirms our training and our choices. A “bad” race points out what we could do differently next time.

5. Pushing past that feeling of vulnerability gives you a sense of accomplishment, no matter the outcome.

Courage is its own reward.

~ Plautus, Roman playwright.

Tomorrow I will hit the starting line of the La Habra 10K. It’s a hilly, two-loop course that presents an interesting challenge. Two years ago I completed the race in 51:29. My 10K PR from the Turkey Trot trail race is 50:26. I’d love to finish this race in under 50 minutes. Who knows what race day will bring, but I am willing to make myself vulnerable to find out.

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With the Mountains 2 Beach Marathon coming up in two more days, I have been thinking a lot about my race goals. I could say that I want to beat my 4:02:39 from my first full marathon, or to sub-4, or even to qualify for Boston with a 3:45. But lately I’ve been thinking that I don’t so much want to GET a good time as I want to HAVE a good time (keeping in mind the thought that those two things often go hand in hand — if I have a good time, I’ll likely get a good time).

I want to enjoy the race. Soak up the positive energy from the spectators. Take in the view. Appreciate the privilege of getting to run somewhere new, down open roads and bike paths and beach boardwalks. I want to finish the race happy. I want to feel that I put in my best effort, made the most of the journey, and enjoyed myself along the way.

Wish me luck on Sunday! Think good thoughts for me from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Pacific Standard Time!

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Tomorrow I will be at the starting line of SheROX San Diego, reliving the glory of my first triathlon. My nervous anticipation takes me by surprise! I know what to expect, and I loved the race last year. The sprint distance seems like a piece of cake after the Olympic distance at HITS Palm Springs 2011 and Nautica Malibu 2012. Besides, all along I thought the pressure was off — my goal race this time around is the Santa Barbara International Marathon on November 4. This sprint tri is for fun! Except, it turns out that I am a competitive little thing. I want to beat my time from last year. That right there is my goal — improve on my time from last year of 1:23:57. And don’t get injured (my universal race goal).

After my disappointing swim at Nautica Malibu, I’m hoping I can redeem myself on the swim portion of this race. It’s got the in-water start that I like to help calm my race nerves. The bike portion of this course is flat and fast — I’m not sure I can go faster than last year’s 19.67 mph, but wouldn’t it be nice to break 20? I know I can improve on the run (26:38). I’m nursing a groin injury but I do not plan on letting that hold me back. The one thing that might hold me back is the fact that I did not taper for this “B” race — in fact I ran that 20 miles on Thursday as part of my marathon training.

SheROX finish

Perhaps I should just hope for a better finish line photo.

My race bib number is lucky number 773. You can sign up for email alerts of my progress here, or follow me on Twitter @fitfunmomdotcom and I’ll post my results ASAP!

Wish me luck! Are you racing this weekend, SheROX or elsewhere?

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