One of my original 101 Things List goals was to run a 10k race. I had started running in late 2007 in an effort to keep up with Amanda and her goal of running a 5k. By the time we finished the NFAR 5k in March 2008 I had developed an affinity for running that was previously unknown to me. I really like the process of pushing myself physically and mentally to achieve things I have not previously done.
Middle School Terrors
Part of my motivation comes from my youth. As a seventh grader in P.E. class I was forced to run 1/4 mile each day and 1 mile once per week. I absolutely hated it. I was mildly overweight, moderately nerdy, and severely awkward. I can remember my best mile time ever was just under 9 minutes. This has stuck with me as something left unfinished, where I really thought I should be doing better than I was.
Why Stop at Mile 1?
Fast forward 20 years (i.e. to the present) and I’m watching The Biggest Loser on TV. This past season the final four contestants got a surprise that they were running a marathon and had only 30 days to train for it. They were probably in the best shape of their lives after having been on the show for a while, but certainly they were not in world-class athlete shape. Each one of them finished the marathon, the best in just under 5 hours. Well if they can do that, why can’t I? I feel like I’m in equivalent physical shape and age, so it’s got to be down to the mental aspects. And certainly I believe I’m mentally strong enough to run a marathon. The only thing left is to prove it.
After watching the San Diego Rock and Roll Marathon pass by my condo two years in a row, I’ve decided that I’m going to be in the next one in May 2010. I set up a couple of interim races to help get me there: the Scripps Ranch Old Pros 10k on July 4, 2009; and the Silver Strand Half Marathon on November 15, 2009.
Following the Training Schedule
To help me get ready for the 10k I decided to do a real training schedule, using RunnersWorld.com to set up a week-by-week schedule to get me there.
I was able to follow the schedule fairly closely, only skipping a couple runs near the end (replacing them with bike rides!) because my knees were starting to hurt. Because I was running four days a week my legs were not getting the chance to fully recover. The training schedule was awesome for two reasons. The obvious one is that it kept me on track to reach my goal. The less obvious one is that it gave me days off without guilt. I could thoroughly enjoy my rest days without wondering in the back of my head if I should have gone running instead of going for $2 margaritas at Ortega’s.
Following the training schedule I ran 112 miles between May 9 and July 4, including five runs of at least 10k in length
I was fortunate that June Gloom has decided to stay on for a few days in July this year. The Scripps Ranch Old Pros 10k race began at 7am on a delightfully overcast day near Lake Miramar. I showed up early to pick up my race bib and timing chip. I also gorged on gatorade and water not being sure if there was going to be refreshments along the course (there were).
There were over 1,500 people start the race and make their way towards the lake on city streets. Mile 1 held a fairly sharp uphill segment near the lake entrance, and then the road narrowed to more of a bike path. There were some tight squeeze moments on the path but overall it was a scenic jaunt near the water with some gentle hills. The organizers had markers at each mile, with water on miles 2, 4, and 6. I had a moderate stitch in my side for the middle 3 miles but I tried to prevent that from slowing me down.
I held a fairly solid sub-9 minute pace for most of the race, hitting the mile 5 checkpoint at 44:40. Fortunately the race ends with a significant downhill stretch and my side cramp was gone, so I picked up the pace and flew down the hill, covering the last mile in 7:50 and achieving an overall time of 53:51. This is ahead of my goal of 55 minutes, so I’m quite pleased! It’s depressing to note in the race results however that I was 59th out of the 94 people in my age/gender group (that’s right, 37th precentile). Median time for my age group was just over 51 minutes. Overall I was 636th out of 1,522 (58th percentile).
The Next Step (Pun Intended)
I thought the training schedule worked out really well, so I’m working on putting one together for the half marathon I’m running in November. I have a month or two before that starts most likely, so I want to get in some good bike riding and hiking, including San Gorgonio.