January 1, 2013 Leave a comment
When I set my goals for 2012, I was healthy and gradually getting faster. I was nearly half way through an excellent marathon training schedule and had every reason to expect the trend to continue. At that point, I set the following goals:
1,800 total miles for the year (I ran 1,400 miles in 2011)
5 minute mile
18 minute 5K
1:20 half marathon
I knew that this was a very challenging set of goals and that everything would have to go right all year to meet them. If I worked consistently and stayed healthy, I think I could have met most of them.
As it turned out, however, 2012 turned out to be much more challenging. I had a few good weeks, but by late February, my performance in training and races was beginning to fall a little flat. I responded by trying harder, but it was no use. By the the time the Knoxville Marathon rolled around (April 1), I was feeling more and more fatigued. I had determined that I should be able to run a 3 hour marathon, but decided to slow down just a little and aim for a 7:06 pace. From the starting line, I never felt right. By the 5th mile, I decided to back off more. By mile 13, I was struggling mightily. I stretched, I drank, I ate. Nothing could revive me. I did not finish.
Still, I was not quite sure what was happening. My doctors and I took several educated guesses but I just became more and more ill. At one point in early June, I could barely walk down the hall 20 feet without becoming fatigued and dizzy. We continued trying until we finally guessed correctly. In mid-September, I found out that I had become gluten-intolerant. I am somewhat allergic to gluten, which is in wheat and barley.
I had just barely over 6 weeks left before the 7 Bridges Marathon. I had been able to do most of my training and had gone gluten free long enough to accomplish one 15 mile run and two 20 mile runs. Before that point, anything over 10 miles had been a real struggle. I still struggled through the marathon, but I managed to set a personal record and qualify for Boston with a 3:22:44. It was just a few minutes faster than the same race in 2011. It fell very short of the goal for the year. Given how sick I had been for about 6 months of the year, however, it was still a major accomplishment.
I continued to eat carefully and gradually improved in overall health. A month after the 7 Bridges Marathon, I ran the Secret City Half Marathon in 1:28:44. Again, this was well short of the lofty goal I had set for 2012. Still, it was a major victory for the gluten-free era of my life.
My training runs have gone very well in the last month or so of the year. I am on a tough training program that pushes me hard in 2 week cycles. I feel like I am making great progress. I waited until January 1 to do this post so I could run the New Year’s Day 5K and see if I had made as much progress as I thought. It was cold and rainy, but I managed to finish with an unofficial time of 18:36. If that holds up in the official record, then I will have averaged a little less than 6:00 per mile. I haven’t done that since 1984!
So, I did not meet any of my goals, but I did make progress. I did qualify for the Boston Marathon (2014). That will do.
More than Running
Beyond running, in 2013 I moved my blog to WordPress. Since the move in July, there have been 18,000 page visits from 104 countries! You asked a lot of questions, and I answered a lot of them. I also shared the ups and downs of the year as they happened. Thank you for going on this journey with me.
Finally, I published my first book about running: The Gift of Running. I have gotten a lot of positive feedback on it and I am always glad to hear how it has helped people.
So what is on tap for 2013?
I will continue my quest to run a sub-6:00 mile pace at every distance up to and including the marathon. I cannot possibly achieve that pace in the marathon in 2013, but I would like to run under 2:50:00 in a marathon by the end of this year. I believe that I can achieve the sub-6 pace in the 10K for sure and possibly for the half marathon. I also think I have an excellent shot at running a sub-5:00 mile this year, but I need to find a few more 1 mile races.
Since my goals are at various distances, 2013 will continue my effort toward maintaining balanced training with repeats, intervals, tempo runs, and long runs. I will keep posting my workouts on DailyMile.com, Twitter, and Facebook. I will also keep posting encouraging quotes & photos as I find them.
I intend to write at least one more book this year.
Which one should I write first: the book about marathons or the book about running 5Ks?
Let me know what you think.
Enjoy the run!
Thank you for a great year!
P. Mark Taylor