Friday, December 31, 2010

Racing Schedule and Goals for 2011 Revealed!!

I'm very excited about running in 2011! And I'm excited about reviewing the past 6 months of running, analyzing what I did well and what I did poorly, so I can make HUGE improvements in the New Year!

I spent WAY too much time today reading through old running posts, but I'm glad I did because it reminded me of what I need to do to improve next year. This running year was full of ups and downs, but definitely more ups. I started blogging and recording my runs on Daily Mile in late May and I have derived so much motivation from keeping track of my runs and from reading other runners' blogs. Whenever I'm feeling tired, or lazy, or would rather get that extra hour of sleep in the morning, I go to Google Reader and read other blogger-runner's workouts and, without fail, that motivates me to get my work out in!

Major Sucesses in 2010:

--I've been more consistent in my running this year then ever before. It's the end of December (over 2 months after the Chicago Marathon, which usually marks the end of long run season) and I'm still doing 20 mile runs! Go me! Running is officially part of my "lifestyle", not just something I try to make myself do.

--I PR'd (big time) in both the 1/2 marathon and 5K distance.

--I've spent quality time running w/ friends and family. I like to think I've motivated a few folks to start or keep running.

--I started recording my pace on every single run- on the treadmill or with my Garmin outside.

I had no specific goals for 2010, besides a 4:15 at Chicago which turned out to be a big bust. (If you didn't happen to be a follower at the time I wrote my Chicago Marathon race report, it's worth taking a look. I re-read it today and am impressed I was able to finish giving how bad I was feelig- reading about my tricks and techniques to get 'er done are pretty funny.)

With no Further Ado......Goals for 2011

1. Sub 25 minute 5K (current PR 26:19 in very slick, snowy conditions)

2. Sub 2 hr half-marathon (current PR 2:00:19)

3. Sub 4:15 marathon (let's not talk about my current PR, I'm not very proud of it)

4. Complete marathons in at least 2 new states working towards my
50 marathons in 50 states goal.

5. Qualify for Marathon Maniacs (MM).

6. Weights (a challenging routine) 2 times a week.

7. Do 1 triathlon- can be short or long, big or small, just get that first one done!

Strategies for my next marathon training cycle (1/31/11-5/29/11)

--Include more medium and long length runs at or faster than marathon goal pace. I'm good at going fast for short distances, I'm good at going slow for long distances, it's the fast for long distances that still overwhelms me.

~on a related note, include more tune-up races, where I challenge myself to go long and


--Continue to work on mental toughness. Well executed marathon pace runs and tune-up races should help with this. Continue to embrace suffering and extend the amount of time I can maintain focus and stave away boredom on long runs. HTFU.

--As I learned during the Busse Woods 20 miler and the Chicago Marathon, I need to run with my Nathan water backpack. I am incapable of drinking from a cup on the run and I can't afford to lose all that time at water stops! (Nor can I afford to keep using water stops as an excuse to slow down or even- eek!- walk!)

--Have a clearly defined goal for each race (social or relaxed fun vs racing) including multiple 'A' races, so that all the pressure for my 4:15 is not on just one day.

--Carefully select PR attempt races- not too big, high liklihood of good weather, good spectator support.

--Train for a time more ambitious time than my true race goal so even if things don't go according to plan on race day, I will still have a shot at my PR/goal time.

Plan: I picked up the Furman FIRST book, "Run Less, Run Faster" that so many
people rave about and I think it's right up my alley. They advocate only 3 key runs a week- speedwork, tempo and long run w/ two additional days of cross training (perfect for preparing for my first tri). Any other running is optional and should be at an easy pace. Run less but work harder during each run to produce faster race times. The Furman book also provides full marathon training schedules w/ the goal times for each work-out for someone attempting a BQ (Boston Qualifyer). I'm not ready for that, but I think I may be about 2 years out. My current predicted marathon pace finishing time is 4:15. My BQ (until they make the women's standards more difficult, which I think they might this year) qualifying time is 3:40. I'm going to "split the difference" in a sense and train 40 s per mile slower than the BQ qualifying paces in the Furman book. This should set me up for a BQ attempt in 2012. I can't believe I'm even writing that, but what's the point in having little goals? Big goals are so much more inspiring!

I'm old school and have my training plan written out on paper so I can't include it here, but I'm basically following the Furman plan with the adjustments mentioned above.

Next up....the race schedule:

1st up: Maui Oceanfront Marathon on January 23rd!

I'm super excited about this race! Getting quality long runs in before a January race has been TOUGH, but I'll keep trying! The goal for this race is fun. I haven't truly enjoyed a marathon in a while and I want to. Hopefully, I'll be well enough trained to enjoy myself. I'm going to have to work hard to not try to push myself for a PR as I am wont to do. Hopefully, I'll just enjoy the beautiful scenery, see some whales breeching, take some great pics for this blog and cross the finish line smiling even if the time is a PW (personal worst)!

It makes sense to next mention my goal marathon for the Spring: The Rockford Marathon on May 15th. This is my sub-4:15 marathon. The rest of my racing schedule is a lead up to this race. The Rockford 1/2 is where I had my PR 1/2 marathon (2:00:19), so it seems like a great place to have a PR marathon as well! I should have good family support (many members of my family live there), a place to stay and eat well the night before and a good chance for perfect racing conditions. So, what races will I use to prepare for this goal race??

Glad you asked!

I plan to use the Illinois Marathon in Champaign-Urbana as a "tune-up, check-in" long run on April 30th. I wish there was an earlier race I could do but- go figure- there aren't a whole lot of marathons in the Mid-West in the spring! So the Illinois Marathon will have to be my dress rehearsal.

I'd love to find a half marathon in February/March in the Chicagoland area but this might be tough. I don't have my work schedule yet for March and the only weekend day I have off in Februrary is the 26th. If anyone knows of a good 1/2 marathon in driving distance to Chicago in late winter/early spring, let me know!

In an attempt to not put all my eggs in one basket, I'm planning to run the Madison Marathon, exactly 2 weeks after my PR attempt in the Rockford Marathon. I felt soo let down after doing poorly at the Chicago Marathon this year and then missing my chance for redemption in Newport because of a viscious cold. I think it was a good idea to have a back-up race though. So, if Rockford isn't the perfect race day, I'll try again in Madison on May 29th, and if I fail there, I guess I'll have to shoot for a Fall race. But I know I can get a sub 4:15 in the next few months. I'm not going to fail!!

Starting in July, I'll be a first year Heme/Onc fellow so I'll go from no free time (now) to literally-every-moment-I'm-not-at-work-I'll-be-sleeping. At least for the first few months. So, I'm not sure if I'll be able to squeeze in any Fall marathons. But I imagine I'll try to fit in the Chicago Marathon on October 8th, 2011. The starting line is literally 3 blocks from my house, how can I not run it? We'll see. Volunteering at the race might be equally fun (or, probably more fun, ha!).

I'd like to try to get another state in this year in my quest for 50 marathons in 50 states (I'll get Hawaii and Wisconsin as is) but that may not be possible. We'll see how my fellowship schedule plays out.

Writing this makes me so excited to get out there and run. Less writing, more running. I'd better hop to it!

C U in 2011!!


  1. Good luck with all your goals! I want to qualify for MM maniacs as well by running 3 marathons close to each other. We'll see how I feel after the first one on May 1st.

  2. Happy New Year Dear!!

    Oh, and have you entered my perfume giveaway yet?