Focused on Running

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It’s been one month since crossing the finish line at the Chicago Triathlon. I took a few days off afterwards to relax, celebrate and recover. Then I laced-up my sneakers and got back to running.

Sure, my 2017 triathlon season had ended, but that didn’t mean it was time to trade-in the training routine for a seat on the couch. It would be pretty hard to do so even if I wanted to. The daily workouts become habit. A day without one, unless it’s a planned off-day, feels like feels like a day with a hole in it. So I just kept on running.

Outside of a few leisurely bike rides and one visit to the pool, I’ve been averaging 15 miles on the feet per week. With distances between three and four miles, I’ve been bouncing between paces of 07:30 and 08:00 per mile. I’m not trying to push it too hard. Just maintaining fitness with miles on the legs and air in the lungs.

Over the weekend, I participated in the Twin Cities Marathon Weekend 5K. With a full summer of training under my belt I felt really good going into the race. My goal was to hit sub-seven minute miles. I’d done it once last fall, but just barely, with splits of 06:59 per mile in the Warrior Waddle. During the Chicago Triathlon just one month ago, I averaged 07:10 per mile and that was after swimming and biking. I knew sub-sevens were within reach.

I lined-up near the seven minute pace marker in the starting chute. There’s more than 2,500 participants in the event so it’s important to start near the front if you’re looking to run otherwise you’ll get caught-up in the pack until it spaces out. The course started and finished at the Minnesota State Capitol with a loop that went down Selby and Summit Avenues.

All of the cross training paid off. I was able to stick with my pace group throughout the race. And best of all, I achieved my goal, crossing the finish line with a time of 00:21:12 and an average pace of 06:50 per mile (71st place out of 2,503 participants). Sub-sevens and a new PR — heck yeah!

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Goals have also been top of mind over the last month. My goals for next year are starting to take shape and a blog post on that is sure to come in the following month or two. But I’ve also started to think a lot about my goals for two and three years from now. I recently finished reading “Eat & Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness” by Scott Jurek, and am now reading “You Are an Ironman: How Six Weekend Warriors Chased Their Dream of Finishing the World’s Toughest Triathlon” by Jacques Steinberg, if that gives you any clues.

Who knows, there may still be time to tackle one more goal yet this fall!

3 thoughts on “Focused on Running

  1. Nice job on the 5k and Chicago Triathlon! Those are some amazing results! You are very fast and have great ability at short course racing! Should like you are debating going long. Most triathletes start thinking about Ironman at some point (and runners think about doing marathons). When I started training for Ironman, my speed got much better. I could not figure out how long slow bike rides and runs improved my 1 mile time (I was doing NO speedwork at all). Someone answered “at high tide, all ships rise”. Fair enough. Almost all of my PR’s are from my 2014 Ironman season. However, I was a back of the pack finisher and had lots of room for improvement. Your a front of the pack finisher, so you might have to choose. Long course training and short course training are different animals and training for longer courses may result in poorer short course performance. Think this over. Speed fades with age, but lots of older competitors do very well at longer events. It looks like you finished the Minneapolis Triathlon fast enough to get an invite to USA Triathlon Nationals (it was a regional championship event so top 1/3 of finishers would get an invite). You just missed it in Chicago (top finisher in AG or top 10% of finishers). An invite to Nationals is something pretty special. It’s an Olympic distance race with about 2500 of the top triathletes in the country fighting to represent Team USA at the World AG Triathlon championship. It’s in Cleveland the next two years. I’d be shocked if you don’t qualify next season. There’s always time for long course in the future. It just takes an insane amount of training time. Make sure your TriWife is on board with this decision since she may not see you for 30 weeks. Looking forward to seeing where this journey takes you…

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    • Thank you for both the kind words and the feedback. This summer really solidified my love the sport and how much I was able to improve over last season. And the best part is knowing I’m just getting started. Yes, the Ironman idea has become fresh in my mind as I start planning goals and events for not only next year but also for the year after that. But that’s as far as I’ve gotten – just an idea. Still need to do a lot more reading to determine when I could be ready for it. I’ve never given that much thought to really giving my all to short course. I’ve only been viewing it as milestones along the way. But now I’m super intrigued by the USAT Nationals that you mentioned. I did the Sprint this past summer at MPLS so it doesn’t sound like that will qualify me, but I do plan to make the jump to Olympic distance next year. I wonder if MPLS will remain a qualifier given that LifeTime Tri events will now be following Ironman and ITU rules instead of USAT? I guess we’ll find out soon enough. Thanks so much for sharing your experiences and insights – it’s really helpful as I continue to dive-in to the sport. And thanks for following my blog. It was great meeting you at TC5K. It’s amazing how small the world can be sometimes!

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      • Lifetime is no longer USAT, so Chicago would not have qualified you for Nationals. MPLS should have qualified you for this years Nationals since it was the Midwest Regional qualifier and top 1/3 in each age group qualified…but it was the last event that was USAT sanctioned. Small local USAT events are often the easiest way in (first place finishers automatically qualifies and sometimes there is just one finisher in an age group). I qualified at a local event by winning my age group but there were only 3 of us there and it wasn’t competitive so I just lucked out. I was way out of my league at Nationals (yes, dead last in my age group). I wrote a few blog post recently about the event if you are curious. Next 2 years the races are in Cleveland…still drivable but Omaha was a lot more convenient. Ironman also has World Championships (Hawaii for the 140.6 and various host cities for the 70.3…very competitive to get into either…but I think you could get there. You have the skill set and the passion. Looking forward to following your journey…

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