A blog for (semi) athletic middle-aged men (and women) holding on to (the last vestiges of) their youth
by training for and competing in running, cycling, swimming and triathlon events!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

I'm Not Getting Older; I'm Getting Faster

As I mentioned in my last post I was invited to serve as the official "spokesrunner" of the first-ever Beefin it up; Fuel for the Finish 5/10K. The race was being managed by two friends from the North Dakota CattleWomen's Association and I was honored by the invitation. However, I also was a little nervous. I am not an elite runnner. I have never had a "podium finish." I didn't want to show up and turn in a mediocre performance!

And I didn't just want to set a new PR for the 10K (55:29 set in my first 10K in 2007). I wanted run the fastest race of my life! By that I mean a faster per mile pace than any race I had run at any distance. This would mean I would have to run faster than 7:45/mile, a pace I set in the mostly downhill Trolley Run in Kansas City way back in 2004. So I set my goal at 48:00 (essentially 7:44/mile).

Keep in mind this meant I'd have to run 6.2 miles (10K) at a faster pace than I had ever run 3.1 (5K). My 5K PR is 24:09 (7:46/mile). After I announced my goal on Facebook and began having second thoughts. What was I thinking? I'm 48 years old. I haven't run a sub-8 race in two years!

So I started ramping up my miles but, more important, the intensity of my running workouts. I began pushing myself to run harder and faster, incorporating interval training and speed work. On several occasions I was able to run a sub-8:00 pace in training over the past two months but nothing to indicate that I was capable of running the fastest race of my life.

Sheila pounds in the mile marker "steaks" while Kathy waits on the four-wheeler. The 10K course followed along the Missouri River into Fort Lincoln State Park in Mandan, ND.
I flew in to Bismarck, ND, on Thursday and got up Friday a.m. to help mark the course with my friend Kathy and Sheila. The plan was to drive the course, which included sections of bike path and road, on Kathy's four-wheeler, marking the miles using my Garmin Forerunner 410 GPS-eanbled running watch. The plan did not include doing this in cold (28F), windy and overcast conditions!

After marking the miles I headed out to conduct a TV interview with KX News (CBS) in Bismarck. I was still shivering when I showed up for the interview. From there I met Sheila at the KFYR (NBC) TV studio for a live interview on the Noon Report. Then it was back to the course to mark key turns along the route.

Outside the KFYR (NBC) TV studio in downtown Bismarck, ND
We wrapped up the day with dinner at Montana Mike's steakhouse in Mandan, where I ordered my traditional pre-race meal of steak (filet) and sweet potatoes, two power foods that provide great fuel for the physical activity. I hit the sack early but slept fitfully in nervous anticipation of the race the next morning.

Could I pull off the fastest race of my life or was I overly-ambitious in setting such a lofty goal? Only time would tell.

To be continued...

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