2017 Goals

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When it comes to running, the crazy things that I do are carefully planned out. No last-minute craziness here! Two years ago I set my running goals in time format: I wanted to be able to run distances that I had already run, just faster. In 2015 I set new PRs at the 5k, 10 mile, half and marathon distances, while running 237 miles further than I did in 2014. In 2016 I set out to focus more on long run training in order to tackle my first ultramarathon. My last long run before the ultra was Space Coast Marathon, where I PR’ed by 12 minutes and was able to do it with a negative split. While a successful 50-miler was the big goal for the year, I believe the marathon PR was a bonus and a direct result of the many 26-mile-plus long runs that I wrote into my training plan.

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What are your goals?

So what could I possibly have planned for 2017? I have three goals for the upcoming year, and for those who have called me crazy in the past, you’ll likely need that word three more times before you’re done reading. Santa didn’t bring much in the line of material gifts this year, but he left me a full dose of lunacy!

First up is a goal that I will start on January 7th and complete on February 5th. I am currently a member of the Half Fanatics (Saturn level) and a member of the Marathon Maniacs (Bronze level), and qualified for both simultaneously, giving me Double Agent status, level one of ten. I accomplished this two years ago by running 3 marathons and 4 half marathons in the same 90-day period. Back to my goal… I am going to be moving up to Double Agent level 3 and moving from Bronze to Gold as a Marathon Maniac by running 4 marathons and 4 half marathons within 30 days. I’ll be running the Disney Half and Full marathons (Goofy Challenge), Best Damn Race Jacksonville half, Shark Bite half, Clearwater Distance Classic marathon, Celebration marathon, Best Damn Race Safety Harbor half, and Tallahassee marathon within those 30 days.

That’s just goal #1 – there are still 11 months left in the year!

Goal #2: The race director for the Daytona 100 and Daytona 50 has announced a sister race in northern Michigan in June and I plan to do two things I have never done before. I will be going to Michigan and I’ll be running the Lighthouse 100 mile race. My goal is to finish the 100 miles of this race within the cutoff time of 30 hours. I’d love to bring that time down, but given the struggles that I faced near the end of the 50-miler earlier this month, and the fact that the Lighthouse 100 has “rolling hills” (where the Daytona 100 had max elevation of about 15 feet above sea level), I’m setting the goal 6 months out as finishing all 100 miles within the 30 hour limit. Also, at this point I have no idea if I will have a crew or will be running solo. Doing it solo will no doubt slow me down a great deal.

Have you called me crazy yet? But wait, there’s more!

Goal #3: Six months to the day after I run my second ultra and first 100-miler I’m going to run another 100-miler. I’m returning to the Daytona 100, this time to run the full 100 miles rather than the 50. Ok, so where’s the goal? In Michigan in June I plan to finish; in Florida in December I plan to finish in under 24 hours. I’m upping my finish time goal by a full six hours in six months. I plan on using the Michigan race as a learning tool to be better prepared and better trained by December.

Goal-setting is a good way for me to get the process started toward improvement. What keeps me on track is the accountability that involves my friends, family, and fellow runners. Even if you don’t know what it takes to prepare for a 100-mile race, I’ll bet you know what an excuse sounds like. If I’m throwing out excuses instead of miles, please feel free to mention it to me, however you see fit! I’m not setting big goals to try to be better than anyone, with the exception of who I am today, and that doesn’t sound crazy at all.

 

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Star Wars Weekend – part 1

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What do you get when you combine three of your favorite things into one activity? For some it’s an all-you-can-eat buffet, but for me it’s a RunDisney weekend with a Star Wars theme. Picture running through three of the Disney World parks and seeing Star Wars characters along the course AND scenes from the Star Wars movies on giant HD screens on the side of the road as you run between parks. Add to that the couple thousand runners dressed in Star Wars costumes, some amazing medals and some of the best running friends that you could ask for and this weekend was more than just OK.

 

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The Dark Side Star Wars Weekend

The weekend started with the expo, of course, but for me the expo was a quick packet pickup after work just before the expo closed. I would imagine that the expo was a complete madhouse Thursday morning though. I did get to see Jeff Galloway and shake his hand so there’s a bit of inspiration to start the weekend with.

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Starting in corral A is now a goal achieved!

Fast forward to Saturday morning, also known as Friday night to many of you since the alarm went off while it was still Friday on the west coast. Around 3:20 I was off to EPCOT for the start of the Tie Fighter 10k. With the security check, over 12,000 runners, the typical Disney 20 minute walk to the start corrals and the 5:30 start, I actually felt like I was running late when I parked my car at 4am. I made it to corral A by the start of the race, though I was starting in the back of the corral. After some words about the “training mission” that we were about to endure from a couple of Stormtroopers (this was the Dark Side weekend), the fireworks went off and the race was under way. My goal for the race was to grab a PR, though I knew I had not been training for a speedy race so I might need to revise that goal.

The first mile basically took us around the edge of EPCOT and backstage so we could enter the park near Mexico. Unlike any other RunDisney race I’ve done before, we took a right and ran through Mexico and across the front of World Showcase Lagoon, through Canada and the UK. Usually the trip through EPCOT involves running through the back side of the lagoon and through all of the other countries. For my first mile I ran by heart rate, wanting to stay around 150 bpm so I didn’t burn up too quickly. Mile 1: 9:07.

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The 10k shirt is definitely a winner!

The second and third miles took us into the Boardwalk area and down the path to Hollywood Studios. I’ve also run on this path twice during mile 25 of the marathon, so this is the first time I was actually able to *run* the path, as opposed to run/walking the path. Minor accomplishment! Hollywood Studios was a nice minute or two, but with half the park under construction, it’s about the best we could ask for. Plus, the route took us through the Fantasmic! area, which I don’t remember ever running through before. By now we’ve finished three miles and my pace has increased with mile 2 in 8:33 and mile 3 in 8:27.

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My overall physical state was telling me at this point that I would be able to keep a decent pace for the last half, but a PR was not going to happen. I wasn’t even running at the pace I’d need yet, plus I had about 3 minutes to make up. Yeah, let’s just enjoy the run and save something for tomorrow’s half. The majority of the second half of the race was on the road so it was less than exciting, although there were a couple of those giant screens playing some scenes from Star Wars movies. I finished mile 4 in 8:13 and mile 5 in 8:24, with my heart rate now in the low 180’s.

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Mile six is where we arrived at the ESPN compound via dirt road/faux trail. I was fighting to keep the pace that I had been holding and getting a bit discouraged because I shouldn’t be fighting this hard to keep this pace – I’ve run over a minute faster per mile for this distance more than once. Anyway, after a much shorter tour of the ESPN area than the marathon offers (thank goodness) we finally found the finish line. I ran mile 6 in 8:19 and the final stretch in a 7:50 pace, crossing the finish line in 53:06.

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Quite possibly the coolest medal I’ve earned

I definitely was not impressed with my time, or the fact that earning that time got my heart rate up to 193 bpm. I really have allowed myself to get in worse shape than I was aware of, but that’s the topic of another post on another day. Overall I was that 406th finisher of the Tie Fighter 10k, and with 12,169 finishers, I felt a little better about my time.