Coming to Grips With My Athletic Mortality

Coming into 2013, I had one tentative goal: finish the Peoria River City Marathon in 2013 as a runner. I was looking for a repeat performance from 2000 and 2001, adjusted for age. I was thinking “sub 4 hours”…maybe “sub 3:50”?

Then I started to ramp up the training and reality has reared its ugly head. I simply don’t have the body to handle the mileage necessary to run those times. Other, more efficient people can run such times with few miles, but not me. I did my best marathon running when I was running 50 miles a week or more and when my 5K was just under 21 minutes. I’ve run under 20 minutes, but I didn’t do my best in the marathon during that period.

Reality: best “over 40 years of age” marathon running: miles: 50 a week (or more), 5K time: 21:00.
Now: 13 years older, and while I am approaching 50 miles per week TOTAL, many of those are walking miles. That isn’t the same.
My runs this week: 3, 10, 6, 14 = 33 miles. Walks: 3, 3, and something today (10?). I have time to build that 14 to 20 before the end of April and perhaps that faster 10 can become a 12.

My cross training: weight lifting (and, of course, the walking).

No, I do NOT have a “runner’s body”:

Screen shot 2013-02-01 at 5.00.00 PM

So, even if I manage to shed 5, even 10 pounds, the goal of running sub 4 hours is probably delusional.
I should probably develop a contingency plan to either
1. Walk ALL of the marathon (I have time to get my long walk up to speed) and aim for a conservative 5:40 or
2. Run/walk all of it (say, 9 minute run, 1 minute walk) and aim for, say, 4:30, or even 4:20 (10 minute per mile pace).

Along the way: hopefully by the start of March, I’ll be comfortable enough with my “long” runs to start having a few “spandex chase (aka 5K/10K) on Saturday, long run on Sunday” weekends. I am not there yet.

But this “comeback” has been far harder than expected; it is a tricky balance between “training as much as I can” and “staying out of the doctor’s office”.

Fall goals: we’ll see how May goes. If I can build up to it, I might try a road marathon in the fall (Quad Cities) or perhaps a road 50K (Chicago?). The trail 50K’s are ok, IF the course isn’t muddy. Muddy courses hurt my knees.


February 3, 2013 - Posted by | marathons, running | ,

1 Comment »

  1. Is it important to set a goal time and not reach it? I think trying to reach it matters more. And staying out of the doctors office while trying to reach it is even better. If you can do those two things, you will have succeded. Just my .02, and worth every penny!

    Comment by Byron Oost | February 3, 2013 | Reply

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