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2011: Races and Goals

Greetings everyone!

I am very happy to be back as part of Team Running Free 2011.  I am hoping to be more active with the team this year.  Last year my schooling got intense very suddenly and I was not able to participate with the team as much as I had planned to.  This year I am still in school, but 2/3 of the year are work placements which will hopefully leave me with more time to devote to other things.

I have registered for three races for this year so far.  The first is the Goodlife Toronto Marathon in mid-May.  I am looking forward to this one a lot because it is my favorite marathon route of all of the ones that I have tried so far.  The second race is the Sulphur Springs 100 miler which is in late May.  This will be my second time running this race.  The third race is the Warrior Dash in July.

My approach to the first two races is going to be a little different this year compared to previous years.  Normally, I am fairly laid back when it comes to races.  I like to push myself, but the main goal is always simply to finish.  Not this year.   I was diagnosed with a heart condition a couple years ago that luckily does not prohibit me from running (in fact my cardiologist highly recommends it), but it will inevitably restrict how fast I can run. This became painfully clear to me last year when I was running with my school’s cross country team.  However, that does not mean that I can’t improve, especially in longer races where endurance is more important than raw speed.  So this is my year for pushing my limits even farther.

While the Toronto Marathon is mostly just a warm up race for the 100 miler, I have every intention to set a new PB.  My previous PB was 3 hours and 50 minutes.  I intend to drop at least 10 minutes from that time.

The real challenge for me is going to be the Sulphur Springs 100 miler.  This will be my third 100 miler, and since I have completed the distance twice before, I figure that it is time to really push myself to do better.  I also have incentive to push myself in this race since I will be raising money for a worthy cause with my participation.  I will be writing more about that in a future post.  For this year’s run I have set myself a goal of completing the race in 24 hours.  This will require dropping over 4 hours from my previous PB, and to be honest, the challenge freaks me out a bit.  But that is sort of the point.  If it was easy it wouldn’t be worth doing.  To have any hope of accomplishing this goal I am going to have to put more focus on speed work than I ever have before, while not neglecting my endurance training.

I don’t plan on doing weekly (or semi-weekly) training posts this year like I did last year because most of what I have to say about training for a 100 miler is in the old posts which are still available to anyone who wants to read them.  However, I will be doing erratic posts during my training when I have something new to say.  Also, I wanted to put out an open invitation to anyone who might have some questions about endurance running, particularly at the higher distances.  I know from experience that there is limited information out there for people looking to go beyond the marathon, so if my experience can be helpful to others, I would be happy to share what I know.  So if you have any questions, please post them in the comments section and I will answer them to the best of my abilities.

The Warrior Dash I am doing just for fun.  That does not in any way mean that I won’t be pushing myself, it just means that I am not setting a specific goal.  The race is a combination 5K and obstacle course.  I have never done a race like it, so I wouldn’t know what an appropriate goal would be.  Maybe next year.  Besides, I don’t want to get so focused on goals that running stops being fun for me.  After all, that is still my main reason for running.  The fitness and health benefits are nice, but if it wasn’t fun for me I would never have made it past my first 10K.

Happy trails,

Michael

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