All our snow from yesterday is already gone. That’s just how it goes with these early snow falls I suppose. The dry roads made for a very enjoyable run this morning – I did one of my standard loops through my neighborhood – 4.19 miles 34 minutes, making my average pace about 8:06 per mile.
When I bought my black Friday sneakers last week they stuck a post card in the shoebox at check out. I didn’t even look to see what it was until a few days later.
The Flower City Challenge, a brand new half marathon in my city this spring!
I am totally pumped to train for this race and kick some serious 13.1 mile butt. My half marathon PR this summer was 1:47. I’m not sure what time I want to aim for yet, but I do know I want to beat 1:47.
Do you want to know a secret? I would love to qualify for the Boston marathon this fall too. I have been so inspired by some of my new running friends who are working toward this mecca of running achievements and my friends who have just recently done it too! I’m a little afraid to say it out loud just yet so instead I’ll just quietly write
I want to qualify for the Boston marathon
and pretend I didn’t say anything at all.
When I first started running in 2005, maintaining an 8:00 minute pace on an average day was unheard of. A 10:00 minute pace was more like it. My speed has gradually increased over time as my conditioning improved, even without speed work or any sort of real effort to get faster. Just by simply running one or two days a week, sometimes going weeks at a time without running at all, my pace just naturally increased.
What allowed me to make the biggest leap in pace was losing nearly 40 lbs. I’ve read in various places that for every pound you lose, you can gain 2 seconds per mile. Two seconds may seem minimal at first, but what if you lose 10 lbs? That’s 20 seconds per mile. 40 lbs? That can theoretically take off well over a minute per mile! That could mean some serious change to your race times.
I was looking this morning through some of my old training logs. In May of 2007 I ran a 10K in just over an hour. That’s an average 10:13 pace per mile. I weighed about 160 pounds.
In 2008 I ran that same course in 56:26, slicing off over a minute per mile, cutting my average pace down to 9:04 per mile. The morning of that race I weighed 149 pounds.
Looking back further at my training logs from the spring and summer of 2008 when I was running regularly again, training for the full marathon and losing weight, I can see my pace decrease as the months, miles and pounds went by. I have a very vivid memory of the end of a regular morning run one day in the middle of 2008. I was down about 20 lbs and suddenly realized “hey, this doesn’t suck quite so much anymore.”
Today at 130ish pounds I could run a 10K in under 50 minutes. Sure, that’s pretty fast, but there are still scads of people who can run a 10K faster than a measly 48 minutes. The top female finisher of that that 6.2 mile run in 2008 finished in just over 36 minutes. That’s a 5:51 average pace per mile! That makes my jaw drop. And she was 34! Not 22 or even 18! 34! A 46 year old woman ran that same race in 40 minutes. Forty! Six!
So what does this tell me? There’s still more progress that can be made. What’s it going to take though?
First up, I like having a real reason to lose these last few pounds. My effort to lose the last 10 is well under way and while I was only going to count calories in November, I’m on a roll and am going to keep going through December and into January if need be. Calorie counting works for me and I plan to stick with it until I feel like I’m ready to stop losing and just focus on maintaining. 125 is not unreasonable for my 5’3″ frame. 120? Just maybe. It is my secret hope though that losing another 5 lbs or so will shave off a few more seconds per mile and can help me work toward my goal of getting a little speedier and beat my half marathon PR this spring. I love having a goal like this! It keeps me motivated to keep slugging away at these last few pounds – having an ulterior motive is fun and useful too!
Can losing 5 more pounds cut my pace down by another 10 seconds? I’m not sure, but I do know my pants fit better today than they did a month ago. If at the end of the day that’s all that comes from shedding these last 10 pounds then I’ll take it. But my fingers are crossed behind my back that lightening the load a bit might do something really good for my times. Maybe it will even give me an excuse to plan a homeschooling field trip to Boston in April 2011.