The first two races I have scheduled for 2014 are half marathons. For a while I have had a goal of breaking 3 hours. (I know – some of you run whole marathons in that time.) I haven’t made it yet. I was on pace to get close this year but had a difficult time with the final few miles and didn’t make it. I have fixed the problem I was having at that point by improving my training and racing nutrition over the past 9-10 months. The first half marathon on my calendar is in 6 weeks and is supposedly flat other than the bridge across the Mississippi. That gives me hope for a better time but I need to put in some miles between now and then. The mile time I need to maintain for my goal is between 13-14 minutes. I know that I can, and have, run faster than that since my Achilles tendon surgery, just not for long distances. The second half marathon is hilly but I know that I can improve my time from last year there as well. I can tell you exactly where I fell apart on the course and know why it happened. My goal is to not let it happen again this year.
A few weeks ago I read one of Dennis Pursley’s columns titled, “Pursley Pep Talks: Expect To Be Challenged | SWIMMING WORLD.” In this column he wrote about showing up at practice and expecting a challenge rather than an easy workout or being mediocre. I printed the column and have it in my training journal, moving it week by week, to remember that being challenged is the point. It is sometimes easy to forget when I have not slept well or when I know I have 6 meetings in a row on a day. I have chosen to train and race, however. It is a privilege that I am able to do so and I need to remember that the difficult days make it worth the effort. So, my first goal for the year is to break 3 hours in the half marathon. That will equal about 25 minutes off my best time so far. I will get there.