Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Looking Ahead To (the rest of) 2014

I’m a numbers guy.  Always have been, always will be.  That’s part of running’s appeal to me.  There’s no subjectivity when comparing runners – you’re simply faster than the other guy or you’re not.  Sure, there are factors that influence the numbers on any given day but all in all when I tell someone I’m a 2:46 marathoner that’s, exactly what I am: a 2:46 marathoner.  No “well, if I had gone out a little more conservatively” or “well, if I had had someone to race against.”  I try not to play the “what-if” game and instead am typically trying to figure out how to get faster within minutes of finishing a race (with few exceptions…Boston ’13, Tour du Lac ’13).  So, 2014’s numbers…I’ll get to those.

The immediate goal is to get healthy.  My right IT band has been wonky for about a week now.  It feels like the band itself is about 2 inches too short and I can feel myself starting to compensate and consequently other parts that shouldn’t be sore are.  I’m hoping that with new Superfeet in the shoes tomorrow, things will start to turn around.  Had to buy some orange ones instead of my go-to green ones because apparently green, size E Superfeet are the most popular insoles on the face of the earth.  But I digress…I’ve got some green ones coming in the mail so we’ll see.  I am in such a good place mentally as far as the want/hunger to get out the door every day. 

That’s one of my biggest takeaways from 2013.  My daily training mindset has completely shifted from “Oh, will I run today?” to “How far is today’s run going to be?”  Run of the mill 6 mile runs are now 8-10 miles and I love it.  Setting as many PR’s as I did (6 different distances) has left me hungry to shatter those current marks.  That’s right, now break, shatter.  Now about those numbers…

Marathon – Sub-2:40...Why not?  I took over 5 minutes off my PR last year and this would require a mere 7 minute chunk of time.  Actually, now that I write it out like that…screw it, go big or go home.  Provided this IT band cooperates in the near future, I’ll take a crack at this at Boston.  Man, 2:3x:xx is gonna be sweet.

5k – Sub-16:40…Yes, that insanely frustrating 17 number is still out there but if that doesn’t happen in 2014 I’ll hang up my running shoes and retire.  It’s ridiculous that I haven’t broken 17 yet.  100% mental.  So why16:40?  Well, 16:45 would win me a bet with Warren (I got sub-16:45 before he goes sub-18), but 16:40 would put me on the Dirigo radar.  It’d be very cool to get an invite.

There are certainly goals at every distance I’ll race this year, but those are the two main ones.  Without going into detail about every single one, here they are:

3k – 9:21…just to shut Tunney up.
5-miler – Sub-28 (maybe 27:30?)…really just want to beat Mike the “Colby guy” again at NEH.  Won’t let him gap me like he did this past year.
10k – Sub-35
Half-marathon – Sub-1:16:30

Just to show that I am not completely obsessed and consumed by numbers (Ha!  Who am I kidding?) here are a couple non-time related goals for 2014:

Win my Cabot leg…It’s as simple as it sounds.  I loved my first trip to Cabot and was fine with my 2nd place finish on Leg 11 (4+ minutes ahead of The Black Lungs runner).  I don’t think I’ll totally feel like I’ve earned my place on the Maineacs (the friggin Maineacs!) until I win a leg.  Maybe that’s a bit of insecurity on my part, but its certainly a goal for 2014.

3000 miles…In all honesty, I’d be ok with building on the 2500 I ran in 2013, but 3000 is a nice, round number and its really only a mile and half a day more.  Probably won’t get too hung up on this one, but I find a mileage goal is useful during the parts of the year that don’t fall within a marathon cycle.

Some of these may seem ambitious without factoring in my injured IT band, but I guess I just don’t see the point in setting new PR’s in small chunks.  I’ve been blasting my previous years’ times for 5 years now so why not keep it going?  I realize there will come a time that that won’t be realistic, but I’m 25, now is not that time.

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