I was so fed up with never seeing improvement. After years of all talk and no action, it was time to act. I was getting tired of myself. Time to change things up and commit. It paid off again at the Madison Half Marathon.
I cannot tell you the last time I set a Personal Best in running. I think the last time was in 2010 at a 4th of July road 5k when I was training for Ironman Wisconsin. That would mean I went 8 years without any improvement. For 8 years I blamed everyone and everything but myself for my poor results. When you don’t see improvement you start to second guess what you’re doing. I would estimate that my drive to improve really tanked around 2012. In 2012, I moved from Arizona back to Wisconsin. I was starting up a new business. I wasn’t improving in athletics. I lost all life balance. However, I continued to do an Ironman each year only to get slower and that was my biggest mistake. The need to just DO an Ironman because its routine won’t make you a better athlete, it made me worse. It killed my motivation.
Since my recent declaration to stop being all talk I have set two personal bests. One in swimming and one in running. I’ve made myself accountable to coaches, friends, and the internet… and it’s working. Instead of hiding my goals and fears, i’m letting everyone in on them.
Coming into the Madison Half Marathon I was training really well and times were showing a PR was possible. The days before the race I started to get nervous and my body got weird tightness and aches which is common pre race stress. When your body knows you are about to punish it, it wants to protect itself.
In 2017, I ran 1:24:15 with an average of 6:26 pace
In 2018, my goal was to break 1:24
5:00: Wake up, 2 cups of coffee, 4 pancakes, lots of syrup, 1 fruit smoothie
5:50: 20’ Easy Bike on indoor trainer at 60-70% of FTP
6:30: Arrive at race site having consumed a 400c bottle of carbohydrates
6:40: 10’ Easy run, visualize, breathing, relax, don’t freak out
6:50: Last Portopotty visit
6:55: Check in gear bar
7:00: Try and get near the front, only to start near the 2:00 Half Marathon Starters
7:10: Race starts. I am no where close to the front “Dont panic, this could be a good thing”
Mile 1: “This isnt a good thing, i’m upset, i’m weaving through everyone, i’m wasting energy. My race is over.”
Mile 2: “Ok, i’m done pouting. Focus on your execution goals”
Mile 3: “Ok, this is the long false flat section. Why is my HR so high? Crap, i’m running 6:05s. Slow down its too fast”
Mile 5: “I’m still running 6:05s, this isnt going to end well”
Mile 6: 36:55 (6:10avg)… I’m going to PR today. Holy crap!
Mile 8: “I’m dying. This hill is huge”
Mile 8.5: “This bluff is so stupid. I should just walk. I feel terrible. Everyone is passing me”
Mle 9: “You need to do this for Cindi and Lucy. They have supported you through this”
Mile 10: “My legs feel like bricks”
Mile 10.5: “Dude, stop whining. You’re whining. You can PR today. Toughen up and get it done”
Mile 11: “Oh, there’s Cindi and Lucy. Hey Lucy! She sees me. She smiling and waving, yay!”
Mile 11.1: “I’ve got new energy, bring it on”
Mile 11.2: “Shit another hill, where’d my energy go. This wind sucks”
Mile 12: “Come on! Relax, stay smooth. relax. Keep your rhythm. 1 Mile to go”
Mile: 12.5: “Another hill! Are you flipping kidding me. I’m barely running up this thing”
Mile 12.8: “There’s no way I can PR, i’m dying. There’s nothing left”
Mile: 13: “Holy crap, I can break 1:23. I can still to PR. Effing Push it!”
Mile 13.1: New Personal Best Half Marathon 1:22:58…Boom!
I’ve been wondering what has been the secret sauce to my new streak of Personal Bests and i’ve come to a conclusion. 1) Get Married 2) Have a kid 3) start a blog and tell the world your shortcomings and goals. 4) Work with a coach who provides accountability
But seriously, before Cindi and Lucy I was a free bird with no direction or hurry. I got lazy because I had too much flexibility on my hands to train. In fact, it was so much flexibility I never trained. Now that I am the busiest i’ve ever been I’m the most productive. Now, I make everything count and there is no messing around with training. Every session and race that I do I am grateful for. The pressure to deliver is higher and I like that. This is why I respect Jackie Hering so much, she is a mother of 2, Professional Triathlete, Race Director, Ironman freaking Champion, and she is piecing it together like the rest of us.
I am beyond happy with how everything is going. On my original goal sheet I needed to get my Half Marathon to 1:22 and ive done it. My swim speed is ALMOST to my original goals. GOAL SHEETS WORK!