It’s January 2nd, which means that it’s now preseason training for 2014 races. I kicked off the new year with a 10K in some chilly weather (my goatee had a pretty sweet ice accumulation by the time I finished) and now look towards all the races in 2014. To be honest, 2013 wasn’t the year I expected. I had a really great 2012 season, but I didn’t race as strong in 2013 as I hoped. I’ve taken some time to evaluate what went wrong in 2013, and here are my goals for the next year:
- I’m heavier than I want to be. I lost a lot of weight in 2012, and gained some back in 2013 after shoulder surgery. To do what I want to do in 2014, I need to lose at least 30 lbs. More than anything, I need to focus on eating better. I’ve been gluten free for about two months now, but still haven’t been eating as clean as I need to. Given that I’m burning anywhere from 7,000 -10,000 calories a week in workouts, I think this is realistic if I focus properly.
- I need to have a plan. My best races in 2013 were those races where I studied the course (or got advice from Coach) and planned out my strategy (pacing, heart rate goals, etc.) based on the layout for the course. I plan to do this for all my races in 2014. Races felt much easier when I knew exactly when to hold back, or push harder.
- I need to be consistent. I want to focus on being very consistent in my training this year. I really started to lose focus on the quality of workouts towards the end of last season. I feel that if I can remain consistent then good things will come.
I’m not big on resolutions, so we’ll call these my 2014 goals. The goals are all pointed towards this race calendar. Here’s what I’m hoping to do in 2014:
- Rock the Parkway Half Marathon – April 12
- Kansas City Triathlon (Olympic) – May 18
- Topeka Tinman (Modified Olympic) – June 21
- Shawnee Mission Triathlon – July 13
- Jackson County Triathlon or Summer Breeze Century ride – August 24
- RedMan Triathlon (Half Iron) – September 20
- New York Marathon (If I’m chosen in the lottery, otherwise a local race) – November 1
This past weekend I ran the Kansas City Half Marathon, and had a fantastic race. The course ran through several cool places in Kansas City (Downtown, Liberty Memorial, Westport, and the Plaza) and had great crowd support through most of the course (winner of the best sign goes to several variations of “You run better/faster than the federal government”). There were a couple of pretty decent hills on the course, but plenty of downhills to go along with them. It was a very balanced course. The only really crappy part of the course was about a half mile stretch on Cleaver II Blvd. where the street had been ground down for construction. The pavement was really uneven, and they had traffic cones everywhere to warn of the raised manhole covers or other obstructions. Lots of unhappy runners on that stretch.
The race was a personal record for me in the half marathon. It’s a sweet PR, because my previous best was on a course that wasn’t near as hilly. So I ran a tougher course, and ran it faster. I’d like to tell you how hard I trained for that PR, and maybe some of that is true. However, the truth is that I ran smart, due almost entirely to the race plan established by my triathlon coach. Since I signed an agreement not to disclose my workouts, I can’t really dole out his advice here. What I can say is he had me run an adjusted pace through the first nine miles, saving my effort for the final three downhill miles (with an uphill as you run into the finish). I did just that, and finished really strong, with negative splits (each mile faster than the last) for each of those three miles. My legs were screaming and my heart was pounding that last half mile, but I passed scores of people who put too much effort out early. I only saw one person pass me during the final mile, so I feel pretty great about the race.
Two Kenyan runners passed me at mile 12, which is problematic since those dudes were running the full marathon. No biggie, they just ran 13.1 miles more than I did and still finished ahead of me. Jerks. It was a great race, but probably the best moment was cresting the gigantic hill on Kessler Rd., and running around the Liberty Memorial just after sunrise. It’s one of the highest spots in KC, and it was a really awesome reprieve after the effort of the long hill. One more half marathon left, and then the season comes to a close. Now I’ve got five more weeks to try and get another PR. Time to see what’s left in the tank.