I have found some speed in these old legs of mine and I kind of like it!
When I started this round of marathon training I set some goals — aside from just finishing. Setting a time goal was huge for me but I knew that in order to accomplish that I needed to get other things in order. After all, these things just don’t happen on their own even though it would be nice if they did.
I new I need to run better and more consistently and that part has been met. I knew I needed to get on the right track nutritionally and that has been met with 20 fewer pounds of me out on the roads. I knew I needed to get some strength training. That has happened three times. So, while that hasn’t been met I’m fully aware of the need and plan on focusing on that after the marathon.
Meeting these goals has allowed me to get faster. I now can say that I am running faster as a 41 year-old than I have the rest of my adult life post-college. That just blows my mind away. I have a new faster average pace with New York Road Runners and PR’d in my last three races, Autism 4 miler and the 18 mile Tune-Up in Central Park, and a nice 10k on Roosevelt Island this past weekend. I’m not talking little PRs either. I’m talking PR’d by minutes. I also ran the NYRR Fifth Avenue Mile this weekend for the first time and was able to run it fast like a respectably I’m not a slow runner fast.
This faster pace is also following me on my long runs. If you are a marathoner, you know that we are supposed to run our long runs a minute to two minutes slower than our race pace. But what happened when your pace improves and you are no longer sure what your race pace is? You don’t exactly want to burn out and run the long runs too fast which causes you to have nothing left for your marathon.
What I have been doing is running them and what feels like a comfortable conversational pace. So far this is has been working. I’m not feeling any worse after a long than I have in previous years. They’re hard when you sort of expect them to be but I’m recovering from them as I should be. Of course the real test will be this weekend when I have my first 20 mile long run. The first 10 will be a part of a race (must force myself not to actually race) and the second I still have to figure out where I am going to continue that run.
At this point I don’t have any plans to change my goal time for the marathon. When I first thought about the overall time I knew it would be a challenge but doable if I put in the work. It would still be a huge PR, if I’m able to run faster than I had originally planned then it will be even bigger and even better. I can live with that!
I’m currently debating about doing the Vancouver Marathon in May 2014. It’s a smaller marathon that is capped at 5,000 runners. Way smaller than NYC by about 40,000. Yikes! But they course is open for a long time. I’m just sure how much crowd support there will be. Always a concern when you are bit more int he back of the pack. I think I have time to wait and see what my NYC time will be before this one fills up.
If anything, this new found speed is certainly serving as the motivation to keep doing what I am doing. It’s working and that is very excicitng.